Is it a copyright infringement to use the name of a song and artist in a game?

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Is it a copyright infringement to use the name of a song and artist in a game?

I have created a game in which there are a few cards that require a player
sing a particular song. The card includes the name of the song and the artist.
I also thought about quoting 1-2 lines of the song to make it easier for the
player to accomplish however, I first wanted to ensure this is legal.

Asked on March 18, 2017 under Business Law, District of Columbia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not legal. Citing or referencing the artist's name is not copyright infringement--a person's name is not copyrightable (though some artist names, especially fictitious or made-up ones, could be trademarked). A song title *may* be copyrighted--it depends on whether the title is original or not. Most song titles probably are not, but ones that consist of an original phrase could be. But lines from the song would certainly be copyrighted, as original textual creations, and so using them in your game would be copyright infringement and could expose you to being sued, if the artists or their record labels become aware of this.


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