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Can you copyright a phrase? If so how do i go about copyrighting it. I have heard the best way is to go through the government, but Im not quite sure I understand.
 

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Greetings,

You may do a search through Mr. Trademark, which is located in the Empire State Building in NYC. From there, you can see if your phrase has been "selected" and whether it is "open" for you to proceed to use and trademark. I have trademarked all my logos....it is a process, but if you feel good about your product, it is well worth it. Any more questions just ask........google Mr. Trademark.....Robin
 

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Robin, the OP asked about copyrighting a phrase, not trademarking.:)

As Will has said, you can't copyright a phrase.;)

It may be possible to trademark a phrase if it's part of your brand. For instance, Nike's "Just Do It".

But, if you've got a phrase that you think will be nice on a shirt, and you're not building a brand around this one particular phrase, you're really not going to be able to protect that by copyright or trademark.
 

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so if the phrase has to be part of the logo like nike like mcdonalds like all those other big corp. to be able to be trademarked or copy righted. i could then take their logo give it a little "face lift" change the text to a look a like one and change the color to a few shades lighter or darker ta-da i have something that looks kinda like the original. could i then take that and trademark that and if i couldnt as my own could i atleast sell the new image as my own with out getting in trouble
 

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Generalising on the topic, rather than going into specific details, trademarks have to be checked out against an international register, to make sure nobody is already using anything similar. Whilst that is easy to establish with brand names, as they can simply be referenced alphabetically, it is possible for two registered logos to be very similar. This does happen occasionally.

Copyright is a lot more vague. Even if you have the ability to register copyright within your country, it would be impossible to check the originality of the work against an international database. There is no such database in existence. In essence, there may well be something identical already out there. In that context, your 'copyright' would mean zilch.

You cannot copyright phrases, as words belong to everyone. Just joining a few words together to make a phrase, is what most of the people on this planet do everyday.
 

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US copyright laws are a lawyers dream come true, they,ll get the dosh,and you,ll end up paying the cheque, which ever way it might end up in court.
 

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US copyright laws are a lawyers dream come true, they,ll get the dosh,and you,ll end up paying the cheque, which ever way it might end up in court.

That's why I'm glad that lawyers 'do not rule the roost' here in Europe.

Couldn't live in a country where free speech is dictated on your ability to pay.
 

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That's why I'm glad that lawyers 'do not rule the roost' here in Europe.

Couldn't live in a country where free speech is dictated on your ability to pay.

So sad.. yet often true. I wear many hats other than screenprinting and we deal with copyrights all the time with music and video. Its terrible you have to do it, but it is a common mistake if you overlook this that can make it too easy for someone to steal the idea and leave you with nothing but .. "I wish I would have _______"
 
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