Copyright in a title?

Hi folks

I've been advised by Lulu that my book has been removed from on sale to 'Private' because there is problem with copyright in the title.


My Book is called 'Poet Tree Seasons' and it seems there is a problem with the the use of 'Poet Tree' in it.


I'm confused as I didn't think book titles could be copyrighted in this way.


I'm currently waiting for a reply from Lulu as to wether the changes I have made are acceptable, but it feels as though i'm working a little in the dark, withour knowing exactly where the offending item might be. I haven't used any company logos or indeed anything that I havent produced myself.


Any ideas?




  • I didn't think titles could be copyrighted. One of my books has almost word for word the same title as another book on Amazon. It was purely by accident but have had no problems so far. Having one extra word in your title should have been fine. Unless someone complained about it and lulu made it private. I could be wrong though.

  • The cannot be copyrighted and I cannot find any mention of anything of the same name never mind a book, any way. (But the phrase Poet Tree is in common usage as is Poet Tree For Seasons.)


    Even if one does have the same name the writer's name on the cover can be a clue it's not the same book. As can the cover, the front and the blurb on the back.


    I am surprised Lulu is not aware of that. They definitely said it's just the title? It would be a different matter if it's the contents.


    But as I have discovered, nothing stops anyone from claiming copyright infringement and sites are not copyright police and will not look in to it, so it's up to the people involved to prove it one way or another. At times a bluff is being played. Or simply you have been trolled.

  • Everyone is absolutely right: Titles cannot be copyrighted.


    The US Copyright Office is pretty explicit about this, saying: "Copyright does not protect names, titles, slogans, or short phrases."


    These things can be trademarked, but that is an entirely different process with entirely different rules and is handled by the Patent and Trademark Office instead of the Copyright Office (which is part of the Library of Congress).

    Black Cat Studios
  • They might think that the interior is the same as that of the supposedly copyrighted title. You may have some proving to do.


    Good luck.

     A citizen of the world.

  • I had a look at you print project.


    Without seeing the actual email you received, it appears that your title page does not match the title on your bookcover - missing "Seasons". Additonally, there is no copyright page, which would normally be on the reverse side of your title page.


    Both of which will prevent your book from being approve for distribution.

  • Ah, right, so it's nothing at all to do with potential copyright infringement.   Smiley LOL

  • Firstly, Thanks to all those that have taken the time to feedback thus far on this, I really appreciate it.


    And big thanks Glen for taking the time to having a look into this for me... I'm thinking that what you've written does make more sense of the situation.  If that is what this is really all about then cool... hopefully my amendments will be fine.. The book does have a copyright mention but its at the back of the book.  Indeed it makes sense to have it at the front and I will be amending.


    Lets hope that this is what it was all about afteral.  I'll wait to hear confirmation either way by via e-mail.


    Kind Regards


  • That's one thing you need to check for sure before uploading your work. Making sure that title, copyright page, and the cover all say the same thing. Especially the same as what you typed in the wizard so that the ISBN matches what is being published. Best of luck to you, we all make mistakes and I'm still learning myself but this group has helped so much.

  • With all this I have a question. The guy who played the Green Ranger on Power Rangers has a slogan that on his line of hoodies, tshirts etc. "Jesus didn't tap." Or maybe change it to "God doesn't tap" without getting into copyright trouble? Can I legally use this slogan as a book title? I did write them from their site but it's been over a year and answer.

  • Ok I've had a reply from the folks at Lulu


    I'm posting it as it might be helpful to someone else for the future..  They say...


    Book titles generally are not registrable as trademarks, but the name of a series of books is registrable. See at Section IV.


    "Poet Tree" is a registered word mark for an existing volume of work; therefore you will need to edit your book(s) with a new title that does not use this expression.


    Seems you can copyright a title if you make part of a series...


    Back to the drawing board methinks...


    Thanks again to all those that have posted

    Regards Mark

  • One cannot copyright a title regardless of what it says. It's just a common word or two. The design can be copyrighted if it uses a unique font or shape or whatever, even registered as a design if it's unique. It may be possible to copyright made up names (such as Discworld) but just putting two common words together in to a title does not mean one can copyright it. Example >> MY BOOK.


    There's many books with the same title, but the writers' names on the covers show they are not the same book, and of course the covers will not be the same, but that's what ISBNs are for. Unique identifiers.


    One famous jeans company once tried to copyright every single colour of name patch, but some wise clerk in a copyright office chucked the request out.

  • Having said that, there are examples of expensive lawyers demanding that some thing cannot be used by other parties, and not as expensive (or no lawyers) back down and agree. It is often just a matter of bluff.


    PS: It's usual to put the copyright in the Frontmatter to say > what you are about to read is copyrighted.

  • Thanks Kevin -

    I'd have kinda hoped that the folks at Lulu would know that.. I guess it's a dark world...

    And thanks for the tip -Much appreciated
  • BTW. The link you posted is to do with Trademarks, not Copyrights. They are different things.


    kevinlomas wrote:

    BTW. The link you posted is to do with Trademarks, not Copyrights. They are different things.

    Yep your are right on that too Kevin... LIke I said... dark world.....  and some people play by the dark side.... Which of course will get it's come upance especially when the new Star Wars movie comes out!


    "These are not the book titles you are looking for oh Poet Tree writer" 

    Smiley Frustrated
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