My sister wants to start a nail polish company. She wants to use direct quotes from TV shows for the names of the polishes. Is this breaking any copywrite laws?
2 Answers from Attorneys
Probably She will need to see if the names have been copywrited. Often a TV show copywrites the names in context of the show. If the name is generic such as "Jenny's Polish" she could use it. If it is reasonably clear that the name refers to a TV character then it is likely copywrited.
It's actually a fairly complex question. Depending on each quote taken, as one of the elements of copyright infringement is the extent and nature of the work used as compared to the whole. So how recognizable is the particular quote from the movie, and is anything else from the movie being used to make an association? A copyright lawsuit was filed last month that was based on about 7 words taken from a movie, where they even credited where they took it from. It may be fair use, but the point is that they'll have to defend themselves to prove it. You'll have to analyze the risk.
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