Even though many do not believe this and suffer the fear and trepidation over the subject of copyright and copyright protection, it is LEGAL and COMMON to copy a name and use it as another name. In fact, copyright does NOT protect names, titles, or short phrases or expressions.
It is common to copy MOVIE titles and use them as titles of television episodes. I addressed this in a discussion of names of movies used as names of Dexter episodes.
It is common to copy SONG titles and use them as titles of television episodes. I addressed this in a discussion of names of songs used as names of Dexter episodes.
These could be considered examples of referencing – a title has been referenced by its use as another title. These could be considered examples of copying – a title has been copied and used as another title.
Listed below are some of the categories and specific names that are NOT copyright protected:
Names of businesses – Comcast, Xfinity, Dupont, Monsanto, Apple, Samsung, Honda, L.L. Bean, etc.
Names of organizations – AFL-CIO, Major League Baseball, Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Boston Red Sox, etc.
Names of performing groups – Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Broken Bells, Bob Marley, Arctic Monkeys, Daft Punk, Neil Young, etc.
Names of title of works – Alien, Animal House, Citizen Kane, Things Fall Apart, Pride and Prejudice, Life of Pi, Take Five, Ring Of Fire, A Hard Day’s Night, etc.
Advertising slogans – Hey Mikey…He Likes It; Don’t Leave Home Without It; Got Milk; A Diamond Is Forever; Plop Plop Fizz Fizz, etc.
List of ingredients – butter, eggs, flour, milk, salt, baking powder, mild cheddar cheese, frozen chopped spinach, chopped onion and salt
4 Tbsp butter
1 c flour
1 c milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 pound mild cheddar, grated
2 packages frozen chopped spinach (thawed and drained)
1 Tbsp chopped onion (optional)
seasoned salt (optional)
These are examples of referencing – a title has been referenced by its use as another title. These could be considered examples of copying – a title has been copied and used as another title.
The titles of the following thirteen (13) songs did NOT sacrifice their lives for (but did spawn) second lives as names of bands. Re-using a name is respectable, common, copyright-legal and in keeping with the traditions of many societies.
THE SONGS and THE BANDS
The moral of the story – the tongue-in-cheek humorous moral of the story? If you’re stuck coming up with a name for your band, song, film, poem, novel, photograph or sculpture, you will probably not get into copyright trouble by naming your work of authorship after someone else’s work of authorship.
If you can’t think, copy someone who can.
If the name was good then, it might be good now.
If you can’t create, copy.