Friday, March 7, 2014

Can I Sell My Star Trek "Inspired" Music?

(cover of a Star Trek sound effects recording)
Can I sell my own compositions inspired by Star Trek and use "STAR TREK" in the album title? (example, "Star Trek: Eclipse (and other works). Do I need to say "inspired by"? If you used the title, Star Trek: Eclipse, it's reasonable to believe that some Trekkies would be confused into thinking that the music was from a Star Trek TV show or movie. In that case, you would be stepping on Paramount's trademark rights. Paramount/CBS have about 75 Star Trek trademark registrations including  Reg. No. 1931146 for prerecorded music.  You might avoid this confusion by titling your release, Eclipse: Music Inspired by Star Trek (and "music inspired by" should be the same font size as "Star Trek"). You should also include a disclaimer such as "Not affiliated with Star Trek or endorsed by Paramount Studios." Of course, if Paramount never learns of your doings in deep (cyber) space, none of this will be an issue.
Copyright issues? If you're not using any samples from the show and all of the music is original, it would be highly illogical for Paramount Studios/CBS to object to your compositions under copyright law.