Can I use a real band as an example in an iPhone app design?
I'm working on an iPhone app.
I want to use band name and song titles in design mockups that I'll use on the app's website and in a presentation. Do I have to ask permission to do this? I know that band's name isn't a trademark now, but I want to be aware of the possible future consequences, when band's name may become a trademark and band may sign up to some big publisher like Sony or Warner.
Also I want to use album covers (like in iPhone's Music app). I know that such works are copyright objects. Whom should I ask for permission if the band is signed to label?
And what about photos? Should I get permission only from photographer or from band/label too?
- Nuff SedLv 76 years agoFavorite Answer
What do you mean you "know that band's name isn't a trademark now"? Are you saying they have never marketed their entertainment services or any copies of their music with their name attached to it? That's all it takes for it to become a "trademark" in the USA, Canada, UK and several other common-law countries.
More to the point, you are certainly allowed to use someone else's trademarks to refer to any offer to sell things that you lawfully acquired. For instance, "buy my Ford Mustang and I will throw in a case of Pepsi." Not an infringement of any trademarks.
You can, however, be sued if you use (copy/distribute) someone else's photographic product without permission. Unless the band owns the copyright, you don't need their permission to use the photographer's works - just permission of the photographer.