"The girl can't help it"! Intellectual Property Theft. Grrr!!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Watson, Mar 18, 2003.

  1. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    This ditty was discussed here briefly a month or two ago (in connection with Julie London's career). I mentioned I love the song, but wanted something not as hot as Lil' Ole Richard's classic take.

    So I saw the title on a Bob Kubis Big Band Plays Steve Allan cd, and ordered it.

    Well, they did say "plays" Steve Allan, and tho the song is not THE song, its a good ‘un, written by Steve Allan, and sung by him, with a similar theme. Maybe Allan even wrote the song before Bobby Troup wrote his?

    I once bought an album from some group I've now forgotten that contained one hit song I wanted, but also performed Heartbreak Hotel, so I thought, I at least like that song, what can someone do to make it interesting again? But it WASN'T the Presley song.

    In the years since then, in my musically overindulged life, I have been deluged with similar sounding tune titles of songs that have no similarity, and eventually realized that I was getting angry with the gall of title copiers. (I have the same complaint about movie titles.)

    Which brings me to the intellectual property aspect of distinctive song titles.

    I realize the public's memory is getting shorter, and the sense of history of a poorly educated population is getting almost non-existent, but don't the lawyers (never knew I ‘d say this) keep track of use of song titles? Isn't a good song title almost as valuable as Coca Cola, or Microsoft Windows names?

    Another one : A few evenings ago I was thinking about "The Night Has a 1000 Eyes", as performed in DARK CITY (the great sci-fi movie from 5 or so years ago), and wondering if the vocalist had ever released it on its own, along with "Sway". (The rest of the music on the soundtrack cd was uninteresting movie sound effect.)

    On Amazon now, the only appearance of this song title is by Bobby Vee, and on a Sonny Stitt cd. A sample check showed the Sony Stitt take is the same tune, but the cd seems to be out of print. But there is another disk with "Night has 1000 Eyes". Is it actually a different song?

    Now "Cry me A River" is back, but its not the Julie London song I know. Do I just listen to too much music?

    Random thought : I think "The Girl Can't Help It" could be performed by kd lang. She sure did a great thing with "Johnny get Angry"

    Here we are, maybe on The Eve of Destruction, and I turn my thoughts to subjects like this.....
     
  2. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Song titles are not copyrightable.

    You could register a trademark on particular uses of a distinctive song title, but it wouldn't prevent somebody else from writing another song with the same title.

    JKS
     
  3. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    So I could write new songs called "She's so fine", or "My Sweet Lord", and they become hits, and no one could sue me for copyright infringement?

    Sweet [​IMG]
     
  4. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Yes.

    Your new songs would need to be significantly different (in lyrics, basic melody and fundamental character) from any previously written songs by these titles, though.

    Check this out:

    "She's So Fine"

    45 listings.

    or, better yet,

    "I Love You"

    2444 listings!!

    JKS

    Sorry, I guess I can't link directly to the title searches, but you can type in a song title and get the list.
     
  5. John Watson

    John Watson Screenwriter

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    "I Love You" Wow!

    I used to be boggled that I knew of 2 different songs named Ebony Eyes.

    Next I'll look up the Beatles "PS I Love You"


    PS Thanks for the neat link
     

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