Copyright law is a form of
intellectual property law that offers creative control for authors who have
created a work of art. They have the exclusive rights to use their work in any
way they wish, including the selling, licensing, and use of their creative work.
Copyright protection can be offered in a variety of ways, as long as it is
presented in a tangible and defined medium.
One type of creative expression
that cannot be copyrighted, however, is that of names. Names, unlike music,
motion pictures, artwork, photographs, paintings, and other artistic mediums,
are not considered to be works of artistic expression. Rather, names are
considered to be a marketing or identification of someone or something else.
Instead, names can be registered as trademarks and they are handled under the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
If a person has a name of their band selected or a name for their
start-up company, he or she will have to check with the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office to check if the name they have chosen has already been taken.
When a name is submitted to this Office, it is examined for any matches with
already established names. A certain name may also be rejected because it is
too similar to an already registered name in their database.
There is an exception, however, when a person is branding his or
her company with a name and logo. Although the name of the company cannot be
copyrighted, the logo, in many instances, can be considered a means of artistic
expression. If the U.S. Copyright Office believes that the logo is a medium of
art, it will be granted a copyright registration. In all other instances, a logo will generally only be
eligible for trademark registration.