Q: Book Title

Hi. I have a question about intellectual property and copyright. If I’ve written a book, how do I know if my book title is taken or if it’s too similar to other book titles? For example could I title it “The Adventures of Ozzy, the Big Blue Dog” or would that be in violation of the “Clifford the Big Red Dog” books ??

1 Lawyer Answer
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA

A: The short answer is that it depends on how litigious the rights holders would be. Based solely on the information in this this hypothetical, your risk of infringement would be low. That said, characters are subject to copyright protection so an A-to-B comparison of the character(s) would need to happen to give you a better answer.

It's possible that Ozzy Osbourne would take issue with "Ozzy" based on a potential rights-of-publicity claim.

Generally book titles are free to use unless character or likenesses are misappropriated; or if the book title is also used as a trademark by someone. Again, these are general principles. You should speak to a qualified IP attorney like myself before engaging in this business venture any further.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.