1. Free Legal Help, Legal Forms and Lawyers. TheLaw.com has been providing free legal assistance online since 1995. Our most popular destinations for legal help are below. It only takes a minute to join our legal community!

    Dismiss Notice

Almost Sure my song. Right of Publicity

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by Mauipat44, Sep 21, 2019.

  1. Mauipat44

    Mauipat44 Law Topic Starter New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Jurisdiction:
    US Federal Law
    Hi, my name is Pat Young. I wrote, composed and recorded a song called "Almost Sure". I looked it up on Amazon music and another group is not only using my title, their using the song title in the song as well. I copy righted my song "Almost Sure" music, title and lyrics in 2005, with the U. S. Copyrights office in it's entirety in Washington D. C. In 2005. I listened to a small segment of their song and not only are they using my title for the song, but their also singing my title in their song similar to how I used it. Do I have any legal recourse on this enfringement?
    Thank you,
    Pat Young
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

    Messages:
    7,093
    Likes Received:
    1,661
    Trophy Points:
    113

    I'm almost sure that you don't.

    Your "song" has copyright protection, not the words "almost sure."

    If they were singing your song as their own you would have recourse. But anybody can use the words "almost sure." Way too generic to be actionable.

    Here's a list of song titles that are on many different songs:

    Top 10 Different Songs with the Same Title - TheTopTens®

    The word, or words, in the titles are so generic that anybody can use them, just like "almost sure."

    I'm "almost sure" about that.

    Here's a real life example. At the end of World War II (you've heard of it?) my father wrote a love song to my mother titled "Waiting for You."

    Though his song is protected, the words "waiting for you" aren't. Here's a list of songs that not only contain the phrase, but a couple of them use the phrase as the song title.

    Lyrics containing the term: waiting for you

    I'm "almost sure" I'm not going to sue anybody.

    I'm "waiting for you" to respond to this post.;)

    ;)
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2019
    Mauipat44 likes this.
  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,322
    Likes Received:
    732
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Using your real name and the name of the song was not a great idea.

    No, you registered your copyright. The word "copyright" is not properly used as a verb. Also, not that it matters, but the registration record that shows up at the Copyright Office's website indicates you registered the musical composition copyright in 1994, not 2005 (there is also a sound recording registration from 2015).

    Not based on what you wrote. First of all, copyright does not protect song titles. Second, you need a lot more than two words to constitute copyright infringement (especially when you're talking about a unpublished song by an unknown songwriter). Do you suppose that the Supremes' "Baby Love" removed those two words from the lexicon of songwriters forever more? Of course it didn't.
     
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    538
    Trophy Points:
    113

    Hi there. I'm also a fellow musician and am often interested in copyright lawsuits and settlements in the music industry, of which there were several notable decisions and settlements. Some successful actions have surprised me as to what "unlawfully copying" a song might be. The title is certainly not an issue since it is so short. How and why should two words be taken out of the musical lexicon because someone filed? If your song was unique and perhaps containing fanciful words - perhaps if it was called Karn Evil 9 - 1st Impression you might have a case. But certainly not here for the title.

    As to the lyrics - are they identical? Does it appear there is copying? It seems that there isn't. So your sole issue here seems to be the melody when the words are sung. Some people point to the My Sweet Lord / He's So Fine lawsuit as being a definitive example of ruling which sets a standard for copyright infringement of musical compositions. Many are not fond of the decision at all. But the time to say those two words could be less than one bar of music and the melody could be a mere 3 notes. If it's only those words that happen to be using the same notes (or equivalent in another key), that would hardly be a "work of authorship" by itself which can be protected.

    Note that I couldn't find a copy of the song online anywhere, only that you anticipated it to be out on iTunes. In many cases the underlying premise is that there was access to the music - which makes sense since you cannot copy what you do not have access to replicate. If the band came up with the same words and melody completely independently, that would not be unauthorized use of your material.

    The bottom line is that none of us can give you a final answer and only a licensed attorney (I suggest someone practicing entertainment law or intellectual property law) who has access to the music can give you the best answer. My impression is that there probably isn't copyright infringement based upon what you're telling me but with the above caveat that I just don't know enough about the actual facts to provide any type of insight other than the above.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,322
    Likes Received:
    732
    Trophy Points:
    113

    "Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends!"

    Even that wouldn't do it. There is a song called "Octavarium" by a band called Dream Theater that has a section with the following lyrics:

    "Sailing on the seven seize the day tripper diem's ready
    Jack the ripper owens wilson phillips and my supper's ready
    Lucy in the sky with diamond dave's not here I come to save the
    Day for nightmare cinema show me the way to get back home again
    . . .
    Flying off the handle be careful with
    That axe Eugene gene the dance machine
    Messiah light my fire gabba gabba
    Hey hey my my generation's home again"

    Those lyrics make direct or indirect reference to:

    1. A Queen song
    2. The movie Dead Poet's Society
    3. A Beatles song
    4. A real or fictional serial killer
    5. The former singer of Judas Priest
    6. A well-known actor
    7. The band Wilson Phillips
    8. A Genesis song
    9. Another Beatles song
    10. David Lee Roth
    11. A Cheech & Chong comedy routine
    12. Mighty Mouse's catch phrase
    13. A Spock's Beard album/song
    14. Another Genesis song
    15. A Styx song
    16. Another Beatles song
    17. A Pink Floyd song
    18. Gene the Dance Machine (an act from the Gong Show)
    19. A Yes song
    20. A Doors song
    21. A Ramones song
    22. A Neil Young song
    23. A Who song
    24. Another Pink Floyd song (maybe)

    And there's absolutely no infringement in any of it.
     
  6. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,997
    Likes Received:
    538
    Trophy Points:
    113

    LOL, yes you've spotted the famous and terrific song (I'm a huge Keith Emerson fan) and the point was leaning more towards trademark. Song titles can certainly be trademarked and follows the same general principles of trademark. I used the above song as just an example of a title moving towards something more unique and fanciful than plain English words. But I wouldn't go so far as to declare there is no infringement generally, just in individual examples - and that's a great one. Hadn't seen / heard of the Octavarium song before. Clever and amusing.

    Here is an interesting article I saw in Billboard which discusses legal strategies taken by Taylor Swift's legal team and perhaps being followed by other successful artists. As music libraries grow, originality meets more challenging times and questions of protection.

    Why Taylor Swift Trademarks Her Lyrics and Why Other Acts May Follow Suit
     
  7. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Active Member

    Messages:
    485
    Likes Received:
    246
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I'll be looking that song up on iTunes.
     
  8. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,322
    Likes Received:
    732
    Trophy Points:
    113

    You might check out the song "Along for the Ride," also by Dream Theater. The synth solo is a direct nod to Keith Emerson (who is one of the most significant influences for DT's keyboard player, Jordan Rudess).
     

Share This Page