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My question was inspired by this question on Writers SE. There was a debate as to whether a person could use "non-generic" song lyrics as titles (e.g. for chapters) in their own work. One person opined (in comments) "I would not use, 1) 'I Wanna Hold Your Hand,' 2) 'Ticket to Ride' in such titles.

Yet, someone other than the Beatles produced a game called "Ticket to Ride". What allowed this? Did they get permission from the Beatles? Is it that titles are not copyrightable? Is it that the Beatles never trademarked their songs?

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A short phrase like "Ticket to Ride" is probably not copyrightable. It could be a trademark but trademarks are product specific: the Beatle's Ticket to Ride is a song - it has no trade mark over board games, transport or any other product outside the music industry.

  • So a trademark like "Apple" could protect against sales of computers of that name by others, but not of the fruit? – Libra Jun 14 '17 at 10:27
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    @TomAu yes - which is why Apple computers had to make an arrangement with Apple Music (the Beatle's label) when they moved into the music business – Dale M Jun 14 '17 at 10:35

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