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Using an organizations name in a song title?

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:06 pm
by Oliver
Hello everyone,

I want to doublecheck the legalities at play before I post a song on youtube, or a blog

I've written a deadpan delivery send up song and was thinking of using a sect's name in the title.

Can a name be copyright when a fair number of people have it as a surname? Published works use a different company name.


Any help or further reading appreciated.

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 7:12 pm
by AndyJ
Hi Oliver,

Names cannot normally be protected by copyright, firstly because they are 'facts' and secondly they are usually too short to qualify as literary works. Also since you appear to be creating a parody, your song could well be covered by the exception for parody, pastiche and caricature.

However you should check on the IPO website that the name hasn't been regsitered as a trade mark, as that could prove to be a problem. There is no defence of parody with regard to trade marks, although assuming your song is satirical or critical about the sect, it is unlikely anyone would be confused into thinking the song originated with them or had been authorised by them.

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 10:13 pm
by Oliver
Thanks Andy.

The group itself hold no trademark on the name, however there is a small food products importer within the EU that have registered it for one its product ranges, along with a coloured logo.

The company itself has an entirely different name.


Thanks for pointing out the parody exception, the song isn't all parody but the first and last verses definitely are.

The rest of it doesn't direcly use anything that I can recall as being their intellectual property either written or spoken. And there is no way by the end of it that it could be mistaken for an authorised song of theirs.