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Can I use song titles for product names?

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by JazzyC123, May 3, 2021.

  1. JazzyC123

    JazzyC123 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hi there,

    I was wondering if it is possible to use song titles for product names. I have a soap business and was hoping to name them after popular rock songs (e.i sharp dressed man). The artist/band won't be mentioned nor will the products have a correlation to them. No song lyrics will be included either. Is this doable?
     
  2. justblue

    justblue Well-Known Member

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    lol...just don't use Dirty Water. ;)

     
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  3. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Is it possible? Of course it is, but I doubt that's what you meant to ask.

    Yeah...but you're obviously doing it because you hope that, by evoking a connection to the song and/or the artist who performed it, you'll boost your sales.

    Sure. Until you get sued, which you will. And you'll lose.

    Of course, I'm assuming that Canadian/Ontario trademark law, while certainly different from U.S. law, would prohibit this sort of thing just as U.S. law does.
     
  4. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Active Member

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    Actually... I think there would be a market for that.

    Scratch that: I *know* there would be a market for that. Great stocking stuffers. (What? I grew up in a mill town that the Charles went through. It would definitely appeal to our lowbrow sense on community humor.)

    To answer the original poster's question: it depends on the name, and how obviously it was inspired by a song title. If the person with copyrights to the song can effectively argue that you are violating their copyright, then you have a problem.

    For example, if a teenage girl were helping you come up with such names... "Spring Day" would probably be okay, being an otherwise generic phrase, but if you also had "Fake Love" and "Black Song", it becomes obvious you're using BTS song titles, and you might be in trouble Big Hit Entertainment's lawyer might dedicate some of their billable hours to your soap endeavors.
     
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  5. JazzyC123

    JazzyC123 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you for the response! My vision was that I was hoping to name each different soap scent after a classic, as that was the general branding idea I wanted to go for. The thing is that I would state out front that my soaps are named after songs, but not entirely inspired if that makes sense? Though I am not sure that would get me in trouble. I realize that most of the time (not all the time), song titles aren't copyrighted as a lot of them are simple English phrases (e.i Come Together by the Beatles) and so I would have to be careful as to which song names I would use. I thought it was a creative idea, as I wanted to reach a market that enjoyed classic hits, though again, I obviously don't want to get in trouble. Might be best just to scratch the idea but I might do some more digging!
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I can assure you that the copyright owners (either the owner of the musical composition copyright or the sound recording copyright) will have no valid argument for copyright infringement. Copyright law does not protect titles. Rather, it protects works of authorship, including the sorts of works listed in section 102 of the Copyright Act (and the scope of Canadian copyright law is similar).

    Rather, as noted in my prior response, the OP has raised a trademark issue. My prior response probably went a bit too far. While the OP's post makes it obvious that he/she is seeking to capitalize on someone else's work, simply marketing a soap called "Sharp Dressed Man" would not violate anyone's rights. If you market a line of soaps, all of which have song-related names, then you start getting closer (less so if you never use more than one name from any given artist). If your packaging is evocative of the song or the artist who performed it, then you're getting even closer and probably crossing a line.

    The OP should consult with a lawyer who is familiar with Canadian/Ontario trademark law.
     
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  7. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    "Runaround Sue" Bath Soap.

    The joke writes itself. :D

    "Yesterday" Bath Soap
    Yesterday, all your troubles seem to wash away
    When you bathe with Yesterday.

    I'll stop now.
     
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  8. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Good thinking.
     
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  9. Red Kayak

    Red Kayak Active Member

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    I see this as problematic: you are trying to profit by association.

    Sorry. My bad. Not enough coffee.

    Yes. Especially if you explicitly announce that they are named after songs.

    If you name a soap "Spring Day" and put a daffodil on the label, no one is going to say you're trying to profit off of BTS's popularity.

    If you name a soap "Black Swan" and the label has something evocative of the music video for BTS's "Black Swan", then it can be argued that you are trying to profit off the group's popularity.

    Unfortunately, OP is proposing to "step in it" by being upfront about the source of name origins.
     

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