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AcousticMonster
03-10-2009, 03:24 AM
I'm trying to figure out if it is legal to use Trademarked names in song writing. Are there any copyright gurus here that know the answer? I'm not sure if this falls under "fair use" or not.

Thanks guys!

dnewton2
03-10-2009, 03:34 AM
I think, dont know but think, copyright laws really only pertain if they word, phrase, or name are going to be used to make money. So if you intend to sell something useing the copyrighted item you would probably need some sort of permission or have to pay some sort of royalty.

Ukulele JJ
03-10-2009, 03:57 AM
I think, dont know but think, copyright laws really only pertain if they word, phrase, or name are going to be used to make money.

IANAL, but I think the idea is that you'd be making money with a competing product, or cause their product to lose value. Your use of the trademark would lead to product confusion, or dilute/harm the brand, etc.

I mean, George Thorogood makes money off of "I Drink Alone", and it mentions Budweiser, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, etc. No legal problems there that I'm aware of.

Now, if you wrote a song called "I killed my mother, two orphan children, and car full of nuns with a Poulan brand chainsaw, model PPB4218", then I think you'd run into some trouble. :D

JJ

Stackabones
03-10-2009, 04:08 AM
To get noticed by the big boy brands, you're gonna have to sell a lot of songs to get their lawyers to knock on your door.

AcousticMonster
03-10-2009, 04:14 AM
To get noticed by the big boy brands, you're gonna have to sell a lot of songs to get their lawyers to knock on your door.

I'm just curious because I wrote a song in tribute to Spongebob squarepants. I want to put it on YouTube. However, Viacom owns the copyrights/trademarks, and I'm not sure if they could legally have YouTube pull my video, or claim ownership, based on two words in my song.

UKISOCIETY
03-10-2009, 04:32 AM
I'm just curious because I wrote a song in tribute to Spongebob squarepants. I want to put it on YouTube. However, Viacom owns the copyrights/trademarks, and I'm not sure if they could legally have YouTube pull my video, or claim ownership, based on two words in my song.

An easy way to avoid this is to not use S______ S______ in your video title or tags. The downside is that no one who does a search on the character will find your video. My Purple Banjo video is a straight cover of P-R-_i_N-_CE's "K-I=S=S" but it's been up and audible for a long time.:p

AcousticMonster
03-10-2009, 04:54 AM
An easy way to avoid this is to not use S______ S______ in your video title or tags. The downside is that no one who does a search on the character will find your video. My Purple Banjo video is a straight cover of P-R-_i_N-_CE's "K-I=S=S" but it's been up and audible for a long time.:p

Actually, the words I'm concerned about are "Bikini Bottom" and "Krabby Patties". I don't use Spongebob or any other wordage except for the above. I don't think they could go after me for that, but who knows how YouTube/Viacom see it. :D

cpatch
03-10-2009, 06:37 AM
I'm just curious because I wrote a song in tribute to Spongebob squarepants. I want to put it on YouTube. However, Viacom owns the copyrights/trademarks, and I'm not sure if they could legally have YouTube pull my video, or claim ownership, based on two words in my song.
Technically they have no legal claim over a tribute song on YouTube. That doesn't mean they couldn't pressure YouTube to pull it if they wanted to, but it's highly unlikely. Plus, if you search YouTube for the terms "spongebob" "cover" you'll find straight covers of several SB songs that have been up for as long as a year or more. Worst case it gets yanked (you're not going to get sued regardless) and you put it back up with a different title and tags that don't reference SB.

HoldinCoffee
03-10-2009, 10:15 AM
Cover songs on YOuTUbe:

A not-for-profit team of lawyers has initiated a study to determine the meaning of fair use on the interweb. That study is not complete.

However, if you do a cover and put it on YouTube and it gets yanked, you run the risk of account suspension. And I believe that an artist is well within his rights to claim ownership of his lyrics and arrangement and can set guidelines regarding what venues it is released in. "The Artist With The Unspecified Gender Affiliation" is an asshat, but legally within his rights.

I don't think you are prohibited from mentioning a product or registered trademark, but as someone earlier mentioned, you run the risk of being sued for slander.

1014
03-11-2009, 05:06 AM
fwiw, fair use doesn't protect you from being sued. if the copyright holder or gate keeper wants to be aggressive (and has deep pockets) they can sue you if they want. fair use is merely a defense you could use. typically, though, they just send a c&d ie remove the video.

DeG
03-12-2009, 03:49 PM
"The Artist With The Unspecified Gender Affiliation" is an asshat, but legally within his rights.


This sentence is troubling me...

"The Artist With The Unspecified Gender Affiliation" is an asshat, but legally within its rights.

Now, that's better... :D

HoldinCoffee
03-12-2009, 04:52 PM
"The Artist With The Unspecified Gender Affiliation" is an asshat, but legally within its rights.

Now, that's better... :D

AHHHH!!! Many apologies! Erm... I mean womany apologies... no ity apologies, oh screw IT!

NO WAIT!! I don't mean that literally! DO NOT SCREW IT!!
Geesh, there's just no talking about that guy.

DAMN IT!:wallbash:

Pippin
03-14-2009, 10:19 AM
Copyright is the "right to copy" and typically songs are covered under one of two copyright categories. There is SR copyright (sound recording), and PA copyright, which is performance art. The lyrics, melody, and arrangement are protected, technically. The arrangement refers to sheet music and literally means the score on paper.

Trademark or trade-name status is a different form of protection and is not covered by copyright unless is refers to the artwork that accompanies the trademark. However, you cannot claim copyright on "ideas", lead licks, a guitar solo, bass-line, drum solo. You can copyright music and lyrics (a song), an arrangement (printed sheet music), and the cover art (under VA copyright - Visual Art).

If you mention a product or cartoon character in a song, most likely you will have no issues whatsoever unless the reference is done in an offensive way.

If you are in doubt, consult with an entertainment lawyer.

jddennis
03-23-2009, 02:44 PM
I'm just curious because I wrote a song in tribute to Spongebob squarepants. I want to put it on YouTube. However, Viacom owns the copyrights/trademarks, and I'm not sure if they could legally have YouTube pull my video, or claim ownership, based on two words in my song.

In this case, you're probably fine. Parody and comedy are Constitutionally protected forms of free speech.