Are Song Titles & Lyrics Protected by Copyright or Trademark Law

The important question that arises is: “Do song lyrics enjoy copyright protection, and can unauthorized to have consequences for the operator?” First of all, almost all song lyrics do indeed enjoy copyright protection. They are protected as so-called works according to the Copyright Act if they represent a personal creation according to Section 2 – and this is usually the case with song lyrics. Even lines of text, parts of a work, enjoy copyright protection if, viewed alone, they have sufficient individuality and are recognizable as a private creation.

Whether it’s to sing along, for inspiration, or simply to post on your own site, there are many reasons to search the online world for lyrics. If you enter the word “lyrics” in one of the many search engines, you can then choose from million results. There is a text for every song, online, within seconds – but also legally?

Since complete texts can be found on virtually every song page, it can be assumed that all song lyrics available there are personal creations and therefore protected works. This means that any publication of song lyrics requires the consent of the copyright holder. After all, according to Section 15, only he has the exclusive right to exploit his work in public, whether real or not: only he may reproduce, distribute, recite or perform it. The intangible exploitation rights also include the right to make the work available being open, i.e. the right to make a work available to the public for retrieval.

Are Song Titles Lyrics Protected by Copyright
Are Song Titles Lyrics Protected by Copyright

Accordingly, song lyrics can only be published online with the consent of the author. At the same time, it should be noted that the request made to the author, if necessary, to give notice of a desired removal of his song texts from the offer, is not based on any procedure. The owner of the copyright is in no way obliged to control the use of his work, rather others must be explicitly granted the necessary rights of use. In the music industry in particular, this is usually done with license fees, which websites are unlikely to pay.

There are no copyright restrictions, i.e. relevant provisions that permit the uploading of songs online without the consent of the author.

The right to quote does not apply either – this requires that the quote within a text that you have written yourself must be intellectually discussed: This is hardly the case when putting lyrics into a platform. In addition, citations from someone else’s work are only possible to a certain extent and are only permitted in their entirety within the framework of discussions.


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