Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Should I Trademark or Copyright My Show's Name or Concept for Protection?

TV show’s name cannot be copyrighted, and neither can the general idea or concept. However, you can copyright the script for a TV show. Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is “created” when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time. “Copies” are material objects from which a work can be read or visually perceived either directly or with the aid of a machine or device, such as books, manuscripts, sheet music, film, videotape, or microfilm. If you register your show’s manuscript with the US Copyright Office, if you later file a suit against infringers, you generally will have an easier burden of proof.

A TV show’s name can be trademarked, but based on a “likelihood of confusion” balancing test developed by the courts. (similarity of the marks, relatedness of goods/services, strength of mark). Also, it’s a good idea to run a trademark search for different variations of your show’s name, with an experienced trademark attorney’s legal analysis of your mark, and help with registration.

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