Trademark protection – and not copyright protection – protects titles. However, trademark protection is not available for all titles. While the title of a film or book series may be protected, the title of a single film or single book is typically not protected. Even though the title of your single film or single work is not protected, your selected title may violate someone else’s trademark. That’s where title reports and title opinions come in.
What Is a Title Report?
A title report lists productions with similar titles to your proposed title as well as any trademarks similar to the proposed title. Title reports are structured much like trademark clearance reports that a business obtains prior to choosing a name for its company or product. Most title reports cover a search of the Copyright Office’s records, the Trademark Office’s records, and other entertainment databases. A title report can run a few dozen to a few hundred pages, depending on the number of similarities found. Professional search companies that offer title reports for entertainment works include Thomson Compumark and CT CorSearch.
What Is a Title Opinion?
A title opinion is distinct from a title report. A title opinion is a letter normally prepared by an attorney which indicates, in the attorney’s opinion, whether the title is available as the title for your movie, television program, etc. The attorney bases her title opinion on the results of the title report. The title opinion normally runs one to five pages.
For More Details
There is a discussion about title reports and title opinions and suggestions on how to select a trouble-free title in my book, The Permission Seeker’s Guide Through the Legal Jungle.