Can you copyright a fight song or school motto?

By | July 6, 2022

I was having a conversation the other day about copyright, you know, I’m an online article author, and I’ve created a number of e-books, and prior to becoming an author I was quite concerned about protecting our operations manual not into the hands of competitors. I’ve had moderate success with all of the above, so I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with copyright.

Well, during our conversation we came across the topic of copywriting quotes, slogans, poems and even school fight songs that are often used in football, basketball and other sports competitions. Obviously, if you have a good fight song, say you’re a university or college, someone could hijack it and use it in their high school in a small town somewhere in the United States. Well, as a big university, you probably don’t care if a high school uses it in their soccer game.

Nonetheless, it is your brand and your school fight song and you must protect it. A very short quote or school motto could be trademarked. However, it is difficult to trademark something that you have not used in interstate commerce. However, if you are a university and traveling to other states for athletic competitions, this would suffice, so you could trademark it. If you do this, you will legally have more teeth if someone uses them without your permission.

Of course, if your school motto is several sentences long and your battle song has several stanzas, then a trademark is in all the wrong place and you won’t be able to obtain it from the USPTO. So can a copyright suffice? In other words, if you put a small “c” below telling everyone that you claim the copyright, and they can’t use it without your permission, and of course you would always give them permission – so it’s safe, or?

Hardly anyone tries to take it anymore – they can even use it on their blog or change the words to make your school look bad. In this case, they violate your copyright in many ways, but you still have to defend yourself against them. They could claim they added significant value by changing the words and ditching your school fight song, so it’s ok? Well, legally they could defend themselves well in this case under the “fair use” principle – but that doesn’t make you or your school very happy.

And if you think that won’t or can’t happen, think again, it happens all the time. The problem with trademarks, patents, copyrights and other things of that nature is that even if you claim the copyright, have a registered trademark or actually have a patent pending on something, that’s where the fun begins, from there you still have it defend. It costs money, it takes time, and the internet is rampant with the hijacking of copyrighted material. Indeed, I hope that you will please consider and reflect on all of this. In the meantime good luck.

Thanks to Lance Winslow | #copyright #fight #song #school #motto

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