Should fiction mention song names and iPods?

Asked by: Casey Sylvester

Song titles are not protected by copyright law, but song lyrics are. So you can reference song lyrics by, for example, having a character say, “Wow, I really love the lyrics in Stairway to Heaven”, but actually quoting them in your work of fiction would be copyright infringement.

Can I mention a band in my book?

The bands undisputably exist in our real world, therefore you’re perfectly entitled to mention them. But as said above, avoid saying derogatory things about them (unless it’s proven to be true). Same advice applies to brands.

Can I reference pop culture in my novel?

Use pop culture references as supporting details.

Include pop culture details to give your story a vivid setting. Referencing era-appropriate music, Hollywood films, books, advertisements, and celebrities your characters would be familiar with can give your story a sense of time and place.

Can I mention Harry Potter in my book?

For the sake of moving on, let’s assume that whatever character you want to use is protected by copyright. If all you want to do is make a brief reference to a famous book or character (perhaps your character is a Harry Potter fan), you’re probably okay.

Can I name a book after a song?

In the U.S., titles can’t be copyrighted. Take a look at my titles: only one isn’t named after a song, or something music-related. They can effectively be copyrighted if the title is also part of the lyrics – as in the example I gave.

Can you name a character after a band?

According to the Law Office of Alan Korn it is not possible to ‘copyright’ a band name, but there are other ways to protect it from being ‘stolen’ by another band. That said, this seems to apply more to two real bands having the same name rather than your situation.

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Do you italicize band names in a novel?

Bands names are not italicized. Book titles, names of ships and the like receive italics. Song titles are placed in quotation marks.

Can you mention celebrities in fiction?

The good news is that celebrity names are not copyright protected, just used as a name. If the name is only used to describe the person, it is not covered.

Can you mention Facebook in a novel?

Writers frequently ask whether they can mention brand name products and services in their fiction. The answer is “yes,” provided that you take some common sense precautions.

Can I use a famous name in my book?

Using someone’s name, image or life story as part of a novel, book, movie or other “expressive” work is protected by the First Amendment, even if the expressive work is sold or displayed. Therefore using a person’s life story as part of a book or movie will not be deemed a misappropriation of the Right of Publicity.

Can you name things after songs?

Songs, yes. They are not protected by copyright law. Claims can be made that the names of famous songs are protected by trademark law but it seems like it would be difficult to show likelihood of confusion between a sandwich and a song…

Can I name chapters after songs?

You are really free to title your chapters anything you want in the same way that you can write your own songs and title them anything you want.

Can you use real names in a song?

Yes. Names are not protected by copyright.

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Can I name my blog after a song?

Because of the small size of a song, say compared to a book, the courts have decided that quoting ANY portion of a song, except the title is a copyright infringement. The reason you can quote a title? Titles cannot be copyrighted. Number Three—Blog Posts.

Can you use a song title as an essay title?

In general, you should italicize the titles of long works, like books, movies, or record albums. Use quotation marks for the titles of shorter pieces of work: poems, articles, book chapters, songs, T.V. episodes, etc.

Should the name of a song be italicized?

Generally and grammatically speaking, put titles of shorter works in quotation marks but italicize titles of longer works. For example, put a “song title” in quotation marks but italicize the title of the album it appears on.

Do you underline song names?

Typically, album titles are italicized, just like book titles, journal titles, or movie titles. Song titles are enclosed in quotation marks, as is often the case with poem titles, book chapter titles, or article titles.