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Using titles of popular creative works in advertising campaigns

Using titles of popular creative works in advertising campaigns

Throughout the practice of our Law Firm there have been queries concerning the possibility of using titles of popular creative works in advertising campaigns. In compliance with article 1 section 1 of the Act dated 4 February 1994 on Copyright and Neighbouring Rights  (Official Journal of Laws from 2006 No. 90 item 631), a creative work is any manifestation of creative activity of an individual nature, fixed in any whatsoever form, irrespective of its value, designation, and manner of expression. Hence, for a particular work to be deemed a creative work, the following conditions are required to be met jointly. The work should:

  1. be the outcome of human effort,
  2. constitute a manifestation of creative (original) activity,
  3. be of an individual nature.

Any, however short, piece of work may be deemed a creative work provided that it satisfies the afore-indicated prerequisites.

Therefore, it is not excluded that some titles may be deemed creative works in the understanding of the Copyright Law (e.g. the title [original in Polish]: “Młot na poetów albo kronika ściętych głów”, [literal translation into English: “Hammer for Poets or Chronicles of the Beheaded”]. However, most titles will not use such copyright protection.

It should be remembered that within titles there might be such elements comprised as, for instance, given names, surnames, or pseudonyms, which are protected by the provisions of law on personal rights protection, or trademarks. It is not out of the question that deemed as an act of unfair competition may be making use of the popularity of the title of a work to which the respective copyrights are held by another entrepreneur. Thus, the matter appears multidimensional and so every case requires an individual investigation.

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Piotr Sadowski
Legal Counsel