Copyright Issues?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Stacykins, Oct 13, 2011.

  1. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    OK, I have a question, had a small argument (well, not really anything mean). My Dad wants to name his farm Cold Comfort Farm. If that name rings a bell to any of you, it is because it is the name of a very hilarious and quirky book (published in 1932) by the same name, and later a movie based off the book. I told him calling is Cold Comfort farm would cause possible copyright issues! Would it truly be an issue? I can tell he has his heart set on that. I mean, we live in the UP of Michigan for goodness sakes, it is COLD. It really is fitting. But I still think there'd be copyright conflicts.

    Can anyone suggest a different farm name? Hate to say I'm not very witty when it comes to thinking up name of any kind, and something like Contently Chilly Farm just doesn't have a nice ring to it.
  2. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2009
    Yes, it would be a copyright infringement. If there is a copyright on the name. But, you can find out who holds the rights, and possibly get permission.
  3. conny63malies

    conny63malies Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 22, 2008
    Annetta Kentucky
    Copyright is good for until 70 years after the author dies. I checked and the authour died in 89. So he has to wait unitl like 2059 or so.
  4. fuzziebutt

    fuzziebutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2009
    BUt who holds the copyright? I will be inclued into the estate, and you can possibly get them to allow you to use it.
  5. caspernc

    caspernc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 15, 2010
    Z town NC
    How about Farms of cold comfort?
  6. desertdarlene

    desertdarlene Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2010
    San Diego
    Also, find out if it's trademarked, too. That will be the real issue even more than copyright. The problem would arise if a lot of people associated your farm with their products. There might be a company using that title as a trademark. Otherwise, I honestly wouldn't think it was a problem if it's only a title to an 80 year old book or nearly as old movie.
  7. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    It is my understanding that you cannot copyright a title, only the entire work. Trademark is a different story. If it's been trademarked, then you cannot touch it, but there are dozens of books out there with duplicated titles.


    Last edited: Oct 13, 2011
  8. chickmashnoon

    chickmashnoon Chillin' With My Peeps

    how about Cold Comfort Homestead? Cold comford Fields? Cold Comfort Corner? Commons? Co-op? Cold Comfort Acres? It may not infringe if you don't leave the "farms" in there. That way he gets his reference and you avoid the lawsuit [​IMG]
  9. Stacykins

    Stacykins Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 19, 2011
    Escanaba, MI
    Ahh, good points about the trademark, didn't think about trademarks and whether there was one.

    chickmashnoon, you are a GENIUS! Those sound brilliant!

    Thanks, all!
  10. OvertheHenHouse

    OvertheHenHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 12, 2011
    San Diego
    First question: does he intend to use the title in a for-profit venture with Cold Comfort Farm as the brand and logo? Or does he just want to put the name on his fencepost? Two very different ideas, with two very different kinds of risks.
    It's true that you can't copyright a title. It's also true that if the name is trademarked, your dad can't touch it if he wants to use it commercially in the category it's trademarked in. Do a search at in TESS (trademark search) to see if anything comes up for that name that is in a category that your dad might want to use the name in - if he wants to use it commercially.
    Even if nothing comes up, the movie studio could still think it has a claim based on their derivative work that has a valid copyright. As for the copyright on the book, the book *may* be in the public domain. Copyright law changed to extend copyright protection a few years back (I think it was called the Sonny Bono Act). Anything that was already in the public domain had to stay there but anything that wasn't already public domain got extended protection. I can't remember the dates right now and have two kids clamoring for dinner. But again, I think it kind of depends on how your dad wants to use the name.
    HTH -

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by