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Can I Use "Fifty Shades of..." as the Title of My Book ?

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  • Can I Use "Fifty Shades of..." as the Title of My Book ?

    Can I use "Fifty Shades of ..." as the title of my book?

    We would like to name a book about lifehacking in reference to the film and book, "Fifty Shades of Grey".

    The book will, of course, be called slightly differently and it will not be a fiction novel, but a guide book.

    The title we intend is "Fifty shades of something" or "50 shades of something" if, for example, the name with
    numbers would be safer. It will be published as an ebook in Apple Store, Google Store, Kobo Store and Amazon Store

    Would such name be legally risky in the US and in other English-speaking countries such as:
    Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand etc.? Or would it be 100 percent safe?

    Regards.
    Jack L.

  • #2
    I would be very hesitant about doing so without a consultation with an intellectual property attorney.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

    Comment


    • #3
      It would be HIGHLY risky. "Fifty Shades" is a registered trademark in the United States and, I am almost certain, in many other English speaking countries. Of course, you can roll the dice and you might even win, but it would cost you a fortune, since the trademark owner is almost certainly going to take steps to protect his franchise.

      My suggestion? Come up with an original name and don't try to leverage someone else's success.
      David K. Staub (www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com)
      Forum posts are not legal advice, are for informational and educational purposes only, and are not a substitute for proper consultation with legal counsel.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by dkstaub View Post
        It would be HIGHLY risky. "Fifty Shades" is a registered trademark in the United States and, I am almost certain, in many other English speaking countries. Of course, you can roll the dice and you might even win, but it would cost you a fortune, since the trademark owner is almost certainly going to take steps to protect his franchise.

        My suggestion? Come up with an original name and don't try to leverage someone else's success.
        Thank you for replay.

        1. Can you provide a link to a specific page if possible where we can check Trademarks (copyright names) or what is an alternative way to check Trademarks (copyright names) in USA or Canada?

        2. We still have two alternative names for our ebook:

        "Joy of ..." or "Magic of ...".

        Can such names also be reserved if we are talking about an ebook?

        3. We try to avoid trademarks names and "Fifty shades..." was only a question?

        Comment


        • #5
          Unless your book is about graphic coercive and sometimes violent sex, why would you want to use the phrase "Fifty Shades of..."? Because "graphic coercive and sometimes violent sex" is what potential buyers will think your book's about when they see the title (in addition to thinking you couldn't be bothered/didn't have the imagination to dream up your own special descriptive title and instead just opted to piggyback on someone else's success).

          (This reminds me of the employer-client I had in the late 1990s who wanted his recruitment ads to appeal to a youthful, creative and humorous audience of job-seekers. He asked me to include something like "We're all just so shagadelic here at ABC Company!" in the standard recruitment blurb I was drafting for him. Even when I explained to him that his sentence essentially meant "We spend all our time having sex here at ABC Company!" he was still reluctant to let the shagadelic thing go. It took some persuasion, as I recall.)
          Last edited by eerelations; 04-27-2017, 02:57 PM.

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          • #6
            I think Joy and Magic are both generic enough that there's no danger of copyright or trademark infringement. Unlike 50 Shades...

            There is no one in my office I would care to get shagedelic with....

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by ferretrick View Post
              I think Joy and Magic are both generic enough that there's no danger of copyright or trademark infringement. Unlike 50 Shades...

              There is no one in my office I would care to get shagedelic with....
              Like button.

              Comment


              • #8
                I used to live near a small book store named Walden's Pond. Obviously named for the book by Thoreau. They were sued for copyright infringement by Walden's Books. The problem is that small Walden's Pond was founded a good 10 years earlier then was Walden's Books. Apparently if you have deep enough pockets, this is not an issue. God fights on the side with the big law firms. If I had enough money, I could sue anyone for causing the fall of Western Civilization.

                I would be very slow to potentially infringe the copyright of someone with deep pockets. It is sort of a "how may times will I get stung if I whack that hornet nest". Sane people do not go there.
                "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by DAW View Post
                  I used to live near a small book store named Walden's Pond. Obviously named for the book by Thoreau. They were sued for copyright infringement by Walden's Books. The problem is that small Walden's Pond was founded a good 10 years earlier then was Walden's Books. Apparently if you have deep enough pockets, this is not an issue. God fights on the side with the big law firms. If I had enough money, I could sue anyone for causing the fall of Western Civilization.

                  I would be very slow to potentially infringe the copyright of someone with deep pockets. It is sort of a "how may times will I get stung if I whack that hornet nest". Sane people do not go there.
                  I am surprised that the folks at Walden's Books apparently did not know that Walden's Pond is the name of a book - a very famous book at that!

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                  • #10
                    Walden Books knew. They did not care. On of the rules of copyright is that you actively protect it. They thought they could bluff Walden's Pond into changing their name. The bluff got called, and everyone backed down. Big news in Oakland when it happened.
                    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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