I want to copyright a video game I'm making but I want it to be part of a series where each title of the game will begin with the same prefix and end with a unique suffix for the game. I want to have ownership of the prefix so others cannot make any other games with it. For example, EA owns the Battlefield series and no one else can make games related to that. I think I'm probably thinking of more of a trademark and not a copyright but I'm not sure. How can I copyright/trademark and protect the prefix of my game for when I want to make another game related to the first?

For a different game I'm working on I want to include music made by composers who have their music protected under the CC 3.0 license and I have permission to use their works in a commercialised product as long as I'm not just reselling their music as is and without any form of modification. Obviously, since it's a game with graphics and other music that will be made by my team I will want to protect those assets and the game under a copyright, but if I copyright my project with music protected with a CC 3.0 license, would that cause problems with the copyright preventing me from protecting my stuff?

  • Hi Lucas, welcome to StackExchange. If you haven't already, please take the tour. Additionally, I would recommend splitting your question into two questions, one about trademark of titles, and the second about the CC 3.0 license. Since user6726 has already provided an answer to the first question, I would recommend editing out the paragraph asking about CC 3.0 and making a new question about that.
    – sharur
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 20:00
  • Also, what exactly do you mean by "prefix" and "suffix"? Do you mean something like a trilogy comprised of something like "Dark", "Darker", and "Darkest", or do you mean subtitles, like "Light: Fingers of Dawn", "Light: High Noon" and "Light: Dusk Falls".
    – sharur
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 20:04
  • @sharur I'm talking about subtitles that I want to try protecting it from another company using to make a similar name. Example: I make "Light: Fingers of Dawn" while someone else uses it to make "Light: High Noon"
    – Lucas
    Commented May 18, 2017 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


Titles / names are not protected by copyright. You might register a name as a trademark, but you would need to clarify with examples what you mean by "prefix" and a "suffix" (these have specific technical meanings in linguistics, and grammatical parts of a language – e.g. "un-", "dis-", "-able", "-ation") cannot be protected as trademarks. But straying from the technical meaning of prefix and suffix, as USPTO points out, "A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or a combination thereof". If "Apple" can be registered and "-tini" can be registered, then the combination "Appletini" can be protected.

Whether or not "Apple" can be registered as a trademark depends on whether there is a likelihood of confusion. In the domain of computers, it clearly would be, but not in the domain of trucks. A further consideration in trademark protection is whether it is "descriptive" versus "fanciful". A term like "Flimptang" does not at all describe a product, whereas "Carwax" effectively describes car wax. Descriptive terms way not be protectable – you can't lay ownership claim to ordinary words and meanings.

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