Phoenix, AZ asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Arizona

Q: When can you be construed as copyrighting a name?

I have a fictional character that is part of a group. On items featuring the character, I have "Character, Group, and all related characters are © me"

An individual with a group that has the same name is claiming that by doing this I am putting a copyright claim on the name (even though that is impossible). By phrasing it like this, am I claiming the names and not just the characters behind the names who otherwise fulfill the standards of fixation, expression, and originality?

1 Lawyer Answer
Andrew Zulieve Esq
Andrew Zulieve Esq
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Waldoboro, ME

A: Your factual scenario is a bit unclear. Names, short phrases, slogans and terms are not subject to copyright law. Copyright attaches automatically to original works of authorship, which may include the character that you describe. Copyright notice is no longer obligatory to perfect copyright in an original work. If the "name" to which you refer is being used in commerce to identify the group as a source of services or products it sells, that may implicate trademark law. Otherwise, your use of copyright notice seems academic to me. If you are concerned, I suggest buying an hour or so of time with an intellectual property lawyer to discuss this matter.

Will Blackton agrees with this answer

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