View Full Version : Invited a writerfriend here (she'll be along shortly) Need an opinion on a titling issue

05-27-2016, 11:18 PM
A friend of mine, the very smart, clever, and talented Duana Welch, wrote a terrific book about relationship science called LOVE FACTUALLY (https://www.amazon.com/Love-Factually-Proven-Steps-Wish-ebook/dp/B00QO35NM2?ie=UTF8&keywords=love%20factually&qid=1464374375&ref_=sr_1_1&s=books&sr=1-1). It's a clever title for some interesting and useful information. Now another entity, a YouTube video series through Bustle, is using it for a similarly themed video series. (She's joining AW, so will be here soon,)

It's problematic. What do you think? Copyright law is a minefield, for sure, but your reaction is worth hearing.


Yesterday, a Wise Reader sent me the link to a YouTube video series called Love, Factually—yes, the same title as my book, plus a comma. They interview relationship scientists. This means that when people search my title, Bustle (the company that puts out the YouTube videos) benefits from the marketing I have worked hard to do. Additionally, their product is similar enough to mine that it may confuse some people who are seeking my work.

I wrote to Anna Maria Parsons, the host, and she told me I would need to write to Bustle. I sent Bustle a note yesterday...

05-27-2016, 11:52 PM
From what I understand you can't copyright titles. I think. Brands however are a whole other matter.

The bigger issue is will it be a benefit or hindrance to her book? Will people buy her book more if they goof and think it's the same as the show? Will they be pissed if they find out it isn't?

Also I note it's already out and published, are they planning on pulling it and giving it a new name thus having to explain that to those who already bought it, and do marketing for it all over again? A new title is like having a brand new book. All efforts that have been put into the marketing of the old title will have to happen all over again.

05-27-2016, 11:53 PM
No, she's not interested in retitling her book. She's very interested in pressuring Bustle to rethink the name of their video series.

05-27-2016, 11:58 PM
Oh. Oh no I don't think she can do that. I don't think that's fair to them anyway. It's a pretty obvious play on words on a very famous movie. And what does she gain? It's two separate mediums that talk about things similarly. It would be one thing if say the site was a porn site or something (though that would still be tough to get them to change it) and to be associated with that would be bad. But to be associated with such a video? What's the downside? It's not like they are putting out a book are they? And it's not like people who would buy her book would find the videos and think, "Oh same title, I don't need to buy the book after all."

I think this might be a situation of PANIC!!!!!!! :) We all feel this way, when we think someone might edge into our territory. But this is actually way better than finding another book with the same title. The different mediums I think make this a non-issue. Personally. I also worry about how much time and effort and bridges might be burned in talking to Bustle.

All that being said: she could try very politely. OR she could even take advantage of this and say, "Hey! This is funny, your show has the same title as my book. Wanna do something together? How about an interview?"

ETA: Also re-reading her concern, I see she is worried about them benefitting from her publicity, but . . . does that really matter? I mean, lucky them! But is it so evil if they do? And isn't Bustle bigger anyway? Like wouldn't she be the beneficiary of the publicity imbalance?

05-28-2016, 12:11 AM
Lol! Okay and after reading the opinions of others elsewhere on this matter I guess I'm the only one who feels this way. So yeah, take what I say with a grain of salt. :)

05-28-2016, 12:15 AM
:) It's a bit tricky, but your opinion is worthwhile. Thank you for giving your perspective.

05-28-2016, 12:23 AM
My pleasure! I do really think though (having read their response) that she should consider asking if there was anything they could do together. Take advantage of the situation if she can't get it rectified.

Carrie in PA
05-29-2016, 05:03 AM
It's also the title of a theater show and a crapload of articles unrelated to the book or the YouTube channel. I can't see any way that this title is proprietary in any way, especially since it's really just a tweak of someone else's title.

If I were in your friend's shoes, I'd be miffed, upset, frustrated (insert other negative emotions), but nobody "stole" her title (as alleged in a blog post I found).

05-29-2016, 05:21 AM
Titles are not something one can have the legal right to own, unlike trademarks. There is really nothing your friend can do about a web series having the same title as her book. In the end, while frustrating, it will most likely not have much effect one way or the other. I would tell her not to worry about it.

05-29-2016, 08:53 AM
I agree with the people who are saying that while it's frustrating, it's not really "theft." Also, it doesn't sound like either the book or the video series are extremely iconic. It doesn't sound like Bustle is intentionally using the title because of the book. I do think that if they did some research and saw that there was a book on the topic that had that title, it might have been smart for them to rethink it. But a quick Google search shows that while the book is heavily associated with the title, there's at least one comedy show with the title, as well. So it's not unique, and I don't think it's quite as unwise as if I were to, say, start an advice column and call it "Dear Abby."