Naming a business after a lyric - copyright?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by nintynut, Jul 17, 2019.

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  1. nintynut

    nintynut UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Hi,

    I'm new to this forum, so I hope I'm doing this right.

    I'm thinking of starting a business, using a name from a song lyric...

    I haven't decided yet, but just as an example...

    Are there any potential copyright (or similar) risks here if the word is essentially made up by the author of the song?

    So if the company was called 'Zigazig-ah' - taking inspiration from "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls - could there potentially be any legal recourse here?

    I hope this makes sense and I appreciate any guidance! Thanks a lot!

     
    Posted: Jul 17, 2019 By: nintynut Member since: Jul 17, 2019
    #1
  2. Lucan Unlordly

    Lucan Unlordly UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Apparently............ :)

    What is a Zigga zig ah?
    It turns out it's short for 'sh*t and cigars'. ... He was working in the studio at the same time as the band, and when he went to the toilet he used to smoke a cigar. So, they nicknamed him 'sh*t and cigar', which eventually got shortened down by Mel when she sang, "zig-a-zig-ah".
     
    Posted: Jul 17, 2019 By: Lucan Unlordly Member since: Feb 24, 2009
    #2
  3. Darren_Ssc

    Darren_Ssc UKBF Ace Free Member

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    You learn something new everyday, I didn't expect it to be this though.
     
    Posted: Jul 18, 2019 By: Darren_Ssc Member since: Mar 1, 2019
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  4. alan1302

    alan1302 UKBF Ace Free Member

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    You don't always learn something that you wanted to know though! LOL

    As to the op - song lyrics are copyrighted so expect there could be comeback on something like this especially your example one.
     
    Posted: Jul 18, 2019 By: alan1302 Member since: Jun 2, 2018
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  5. Paulo1Chop

    Paulo1Chop UKBF Regular Free Member

    116 12
    I'd be interested to see a "proper" legal take on this from the point of view where a collection of words that just so happens to be a line in a song is breaching copyright.

    Would the line have to be something that is unique to a songwriter/performer?

    I suppose I'm being a little pedantic, but I'm more curious and interested!

    Loving the Spice Girls insider info though...they never told us that in Spice World!!
     
    Posted: Jul 18, 2019 By: Paulo1Chop Member since: Jul 12, 2019
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  6. obscure

    obscure UKBF Ace Free Member

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    The key issue is unlikely to be copyright. Copyright infringement does take account of the amount of a work that is used. One word (even a made up one) may or may not be enough to be considered infringement.

    More likely the problem would be a claim if passing off (implying a link by using a term they created and which is strongly associated).
     
    Posted: Jul 18, 2019 By: obscure Member since: Jan 18, 2008
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  7. atmosbob

    atmosbob UKBF Ace Free Member

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    I'll guess that if the word or phrase is recognisable from the song It would be covered by copyright.

    I liked the Jeepney in Manila called "The History of British Rock Part Two"
     
    Posted: Jul 19, 2019 By: atmosbob Member since: Oct 26, 2009
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  8. consultant

    consultant UKBF Legend Staff Member

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    Needs checking, but if you were to register the name for a particular category (ideally not music related) it would probably be OK.

    If you search just for the name, what sort of results (outside of song related) do you get?
     
    Posted: Jul 19, 2019 By: consultant Member since: Jan 21, 2008
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  9. nintynut

    nintynut UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for your replies so far everyone! Really helpful. And learning some other interesting stuff too!

    It would be a photography business. So unrelated to music.

    Would only be one word, but specific to that song/artist. There would be no implied link or endorsement between the song/artist and the band.

    I remember a story about Taylor Swift trying to trademark phrases from an album (I can't post the link here - sorry, but google will find it), which is perhaps why these queries come to mind.

    However, I am UK based and would only realistically be working in the UK - so presumably some differences in copyright/trademark law...

    All further musings and insight on this subject appreciated - you're a friendly and helpful bunch, so thanks a lot!

    Worth becoming a member of FSB and making some calls?
     
    Posted: Jul 22, 2019 By: nintynut Member since: Jul 17, 2019
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  10. consultant

    consultant UKBF Legend Staff Member

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    I am biased, but there are other business groups out there.....
     
    Posted: Jul 22, 2019 By: consultant Member since: Jan 21, 2008
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  11. nintynut

    nintynut UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Ha!
    I'll take all advice - I'm completely new to this sort of thing.
    When it comes to legal advice, can you help with that?
    Would you recommend erring on the side of caution in a case like this?

    *
    I've just seen you can, so I will take a look at what you can offer...thank you very much!
     
    Posted: Jul 22, 2019 By: nintynut Member since: Jul 17, 2019
    #11
  12. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Why not have a look on companies house website and search for other limited company names that have a familiar word. If you find your one, or a similar one, then you have precedence.
     
    Posted: Jul 22, 2019 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
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  13. nintynut

    nintynut UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Good thinking.
    I haven't seen anything similar to what I'm looking at.
    So there shouldn't be any confusion with other businesses...
     
    Posted: Jul 22, 2019 By: nintynut Member since: Jul 17, 2019
    #13
  14. consultant

    consultant UKBF Legend Staff Member

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    Also search the IPO registry...

    Maybe registering the intellectual property on the name will help.....a lot.
     
    Posted: Jul 23, 2019 By: consultant Member since: Jan 21, 2008
    #14
  15. JEREMY HAWKE

    JEREMY HAWKE UKBF Legend Full Member

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    I don't know what to say
    What has it come too here :confused:

    Grown men ( mostly ) and some very old :) talking about the Spice Girls :eek:
     
    Posted: Jul 26, 2019 By: JEREMY HAWKE Member since: Mar 4, 2008
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  16. juliaperlman

    juliaperlman UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    8 2
    Even when you trademark something, you have to specify the exact use you’re claiming exclusivity for. As an example, I had a client who had a trademark for “Sports World”. He got irritated when someone started using the term for another niche. I went online and showed him that there were several hundred “Sports World” trademark. one for a magazine, one for a sporting goods store, one for a web site, etc.

    Just because someone arranges a group of words together in a particular order doesn’t mean that they now own that order and that it cannot be used for any other purpose. If that were the case, no one could ever use “Only God knows why” without paying royalties now because Kid Rock used that line in a song.
     
    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: juliaperlman Member since: Jul 11, 2019
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  17. nintynut

    nintynut UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    That's a fair point.
    However the word I'm looking at is made up by the artist.
    So it's not combining some regular words...It's a word that I guess they could technically claim to have invented. Any difference? Does that make sense?

    Thanks
     
    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: nintynut Member since: Jul 17, 2019
    #17
  18. alan1302

    alan1302 UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Unless you are wanting your brand to have association with the Spice Girls why would you use that word?
     
    Posted: Jul 30, 2019 By: alan1302 Member since: Jun 2, 2018
    #18
  19. obscure

    obscure UKBF Ace Free Member

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    The answer to your question is yes/no/maybe. Unfortunately no one, not even a lawyer, can give you a simple 100% guaranteed answer. The reason is that copyright cases don't rest just on what you do, they rest on why the court thinks you did it, the way in which you did it, the way in which what you did affects the creator of the IP and a host of other possible complications.

    For example, if I photograph a bus on Westminster bridge my photo is protected by copyright. You can't legally photocopy my photo or take it from my website and use it, without my permission. However you can go to Westminster bridge and take a similar photograph of a bus without infringing my copyright...... unless you have an existing business agreement with me to license my image and (the court believes) you are now creating yours in order to avoid paying me my license fee. - it is entirely possible for what you actually do not to be infringement but why you do it makes it infringement.

    Or to put it another way... only a court can decide. If you use this word and your venture is successful then it is likely the creator will find out. Given that they earn their living from their intellectual property it is quite likely that they will seek to protect it from misuse by taking legal action.

    So, is this word worth the time and (large) expense of a legal battle?
     
    Posted: Jul 31, 2019 By: obscure Member since: Jan 18, 2008
    #19
  20. OhhEnnEmm

    OhhEnnEmm UKBF Contributor Free Member

    57 5
    I know what you're on about...

    "This Sick Beat" :D

    I remember seeing that when it happened and thinking how much of a bellend she is!

    Difficult territory though, I think if it was just a hint you might be alright, anything obvious like ziga zig ar etc. Would probably lead to issues if your business went large...

    I'm not an expert on intellectual property though!
     
    Posted: Jul 31, 2019 By: OhhEnnEmm Member since: Nov 6, 2018
    #20
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