Copyright and titles - Knowledge Base

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Titles

Basic principles

Copyright does not protect individual names, titles or phrases.

Such items may easily be duplicated by coincidence, and are therefore not considered unique or substantial enough to be awarded copyright protection in their own right. Copyright laws are actually very restrictive, and to apply these laws to items that may be duplicated coincidentally, or that may be legitimately used in unrelated instances, (such as a name, title or phrase), makes no sense.

Because names, title or phrases are not themselves subject to copyright in their own right, this not something we can help you with.

For a full explanation of this you may wish to see the following fact sheet: P-18 Names, titles and copyright.

Copyright registration and titles

We cannot accept registrations that only consist of a title, as copyright would not apply to the title itself there would no real value in a registration that only consisted of a title.

As an real life example, ‘Who Dares Wins’ is the title of novels by Tony Geraghty, Peter Legge, Laurie Matthew and probably many more authors. This is not a breach of copyright. It is the novels themselves that are subject to copyright, not their titles.

Related questions

I just have the title and outline for a script or story, can I register?

You can register as soon as you have some work in a tangible form. This can be particularly important if your are approaching outside parties (i.e. publishers, agents, etc.) before the work is fully complete.

As the work evolves, our registration update facility can also be used to lodge new versions of the work.

Further information

The following pages and fact sheets provide further information which you may find useful.

P-18: Names, titles and copyright

P-17: Updating copyright registrations