Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Trademarking Movie Titles

Book and movie titles fall in a gray area in U.S. law. For instance, although a book or movie is protected by copyright, its title isn't. Copyright simply doesn't cover titles. Officially, trademark doesn't either (except for series titles like Harry Potter). Nonetheless, I've developed ways to protect single-work movie titles using trademark registration -- effectively circumventing the long-established rule. For more, visit http://www.jhandel.com/news/2014/8/13/trademarking-movie-titles.


  1. So, I want to name my band "Windtalkers" but that's the name of a movie. Am I allowed to name my band "Windtalkers"?

  2. Look at all the Hollywood remakes where a producer is actually capitalizing on (1) someone else's title and (2) someone else's writing... completely legal... but about as close as you can get to ripping someone else's work. Most seasoned producer's know about this seemingly strange loop in the copyright laws. Copyright is not trademark though. If your band were to have a logo that closely resembled the movie logo, and if theirs is trademarked, you'd be better off to pick another logo but you could keep the name.

  3. Hi Jonathan,

    I'm producing a Spanish film and will subtitle into English. As I'm now getting the title graphics completed what do people recommend I do: get graphics created with the English title (translated from Spanish) or keep it in Spanish and subtitle it in the opening titles??

    It would also mean I have one film with two different titles...
    Is there any legal obligations to keeping with the original title (in Spanish). I suppose I´d have to register the film twice?

    thanks a bunch

  4. Hi Jonathan,
    If you have a brand of coffee and you want to give each blend a quirky name, can you use the title of a movie to describe the coffee?

  5. Hi,
    My band and I have been wanting to name our band The Resistance, and our inspiration was Star Wars. We are planning on getting a record deal in a year or so, will we get copyrighted for the name?
    Thank you