Is It Possible to Copyright a Name?


Quick Answer

It is not possible to copyright a name, according to the U.S. Copyright Office. Copyrights protect only authored works, such as music, writing, art, software and architecture. However, trademarks can sometimes protect names.

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Full Answer

People can use copyrights to protect both published and unpublished works, states the U.S. Copyright Office. Work has a copyright as soon as it is in a visible format, even if it is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. The owner of the copyright has the exclusive right to distribute it, reproduce it or display it, according to FindLaw.

Unlike a copyright, a trademark can protect a name if it identifies the source of a good, explains the U.S. Copyright Office. An example of a person who trademarked his name is Morgan Freeman, according to LegalZoom.

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