Forget Just Copyright, Now People Are Trademarking Music As Well
from the stop-it-before-it's-too-late dept
Ah, the world of intellectual property law is getting more and more ridiculous. The latest is that patent lawyer Carl Oppedahl has been allowed to trademark a 16-second musical introduction. The USPTO had initially pointed out that with a song that long, it seemed like it should be covered by copyright, not trademarks. But Oppedahl pushed them on this, pointing out that other long recordings have been trademarked as well. Still, if this catches on, it could become an issue. You could see a potential case where a musician could try to get around compulsory license rules for covers by claiming trademark on the work, and using that to block others from performing the song. That would set up quite an epic court battle, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come to pass before too long.
Filed Under: carl oppedahl, sound recordings, trademark
Comments on “Forget Just Copyright, Now People Are Trademarking Music As Well”
Lets not forget the “dilution” problem also.
I didn’t click through to the article, but I don’t see the big deal on this one. Trademark doesn’t prevent people from copying the the 16-second song. It just prevents people from using it in commerce in a confusing way.
What’s more ridiculous: trademarking a longer 16-second musical composition or trademarking a shorter series of 3 notes?
Re: big deal?
Not sure about three notes, but I could see a legit trademark on the Intel bom-bom-bom-bom, for example.
Re: Re: big deal?
Exactly. AMD really shouldn’t be allowed to use that in ads (if they had ads, that is).
It is the recording that is trademarked
You could see a potential case where a musician could try to get around compulsory license rules for covers by claiming trademark on the work,
My interpretation of the original link is that it is the recording that is trademearked. Another musician performing the same work would fall outside the scope of trademark protection unless the resulting recording was indistinguishable from the original.
Re: It is the recording that is trademarked
Trademark covers dilusion of brand, which would include similar works… for example MS’s suit against Lindows.
Re: It is the recording that is trademarked
Trademarks (musical or otherwise) don’t have to be exactly alike to create a likelihood of confusion, and therefore be infringing.
You missed this interesting tidbit: “the trademark office did not require any information on whether Oppedahl is the composer or copyright owner”
It doesn’t matter, there are plenty of examples of trademarks where the copyrights were held by different entities. I’m still shocked that Paramount has a trademark on the Frankenstein monster. The one with the flat head and the bolts coming out of his neck.
Re: Re: Trademark on the Frankenstein Monster...
“I’m still shocked that Paramount has a trademark on the Frankenstein monster. The one with the flat head and the bolts coming out of his neck.”
!) Universal Pictures (not Paramount) has a trademark on the makeup design, not the character.
ANYONE can do a “Frankenstein” movie, tv series, novel, comic, etc. (The original novel is Public Domain)
It’s just that the Monster can’t LOOK like the version from the Universal film series!
Go to the Internet Movie DataBase to see how many different versions there have been since the first Universal Frankenstein in 1931!
Forget trademarks sign your soul to me now!
i cant see this working with standared lengh songs (eg. 3 minutes ) at least in the UK as it is a trade mark no radio station could play it as it then becomes an advertisment. of course if the artist paid for the air time…… o wait thats how it should be.
Apples and Oranges
Trademark and copyright are two different things. Carl Oppedahl wasn’t trying to protect the music, as music – the copyright belongs to someone else and he has a license to use it – he was trying to protect the use of that music as an identifier for his talks.
There’s nothing new or unusual about this. The Harlem Globetrotters registered the tune “Sweet Georgia Brown” as a trademark for “entertainment services in the nature of basketball exhibitions”. Going back even further, part of the William Tell Overture is registered for “entertainment services, namely, a continuing drama show distributed over television, satellite, audio, and video media” – Hi Yo Silver, Away!
That doesn’t stop someone from singing “Sweet Georgia Brown” or an orchestra from performing “William Tell”, it just means no other basketball team or TV show can use those themes in connection with their services.
If this catches on? If? IF??!!
Holy shit, what’s that rumbling sound…. get out of the way, STAMPEDE !!!!!!!!
All your base are belong to us.
Nothing new. Think of the three-note NBC xylophone (vibraphone?) musical mark.
Blocking people from singing a trademarked song will require surveillance cameras to be installed in homes to monitor their personal or family activities to determine whether if they sing a trademarked lyric that would be considered a trademark infringement.
I think Weird Al Yankovic, and Cletus T. Judd will be both going to prison since they’re parodying a trademarked lyric.
So I suppose it's similar to.......
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you! :p just thought it deserved mentioning.