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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Using Song Lyric As a Title for Visual Art

    I'm an illustrator and recently i've been drawing to music. Whatever the final piece turns out to be I title it after a lyric in the song I was listening to. I don't use the lyrics themselves in my work, meaning I don't use the letters or words as a part of the art, I just use whatever line in the song seems to best fit with the visuals I've drawn as the title of the piece. I also give credit to the band and song that inspired my work.

    Title: I find myself in times of trouble
    Inspired by: The Beatles, Let it Be

    I started selling custom illustrations for people's wedding songs and there seems to be a place for this in the market. Before I get too involved, am I infringing on copyright issues by illustrating a song and naming my piece after a song lyric?

    Thank you so much for your thoughts!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Using Song Lyric As a Title for Visual Art

    The shorter and less unique the phrase, the less likely it is that you're going to encounter copyright and possible trademark issues. Phrases plucked from song lyrics generally won't be subject to trademark, but as Jimmy Buffett fans should know there can be exceptions. ("Wasting away again" would be a fine song title - but add the next two words and you may have a trademark issue.) Also, longer song excerpts - a few lines - will generally be protected.
    Quote Quoting How do I copyright a name, title, slogan or logo?
    Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases. In some cases, these things may be protected as trademarks. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information. However, copyright protection may be available for logo artwork that contains sufficient authorship. In some circumstances, an artistic logo may also be protected as a trademark.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011

    Default Re: Using Song Lyric As a Title for Visual Art

    That's fantastic news! Thank you. So, while I have you, I have a question about my marketing tactics as well.

    Is it against Intellectual Property or Copyright laws to market my work or individual drawings that I'm selling reproductions of by using the band name in my "hook"?

    Example: Click here to view illustrations inspired by the Beatles

    Most grateful for your time.

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