Will a phrase in a poem be protected if the poem is copyrighted?

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by lillyann007, Jul 10, 2011.

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  1. lillyann007

    lillyann007 New Member

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    I saw in an earlier post about trying to protect a slogan, that according to a case called Cook v. Robbins, a short expresion could be copyrightable if it was "embodied in an original idea and occurred in the context of a larger copyrightable work." Do you think that would apply if the short phrase (slogan) was a line in a copyrighted poem?
     
  2. thelawprofessor

    thelawprofessor Administrator Staff Member

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    Maybe and probably not. A very short phrase is usually not a "work of authorship." For example, how could someone copyright the words "My love is like a red, red rose." Famous words they are but anyone can and should be free to say and express this sentence. If we're talking about several sentences that is a different story. Suffice it to say that there is an indeterminate line of demarcation when something becomes a work capable of being protected. Use a sliding scale - the more words you use, the closer it becomes to being a "work" that is unique.
     
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