Just to ask a quick question, which I don't know where to ask: If I were to make a game, would I be allowed to call it "Buffalo Soldier [some more words]"? Since it's a song by Bob Marley I am not sure if this would get me into all kinds of legal trouble because of copyrights, which I obviously want to avoid.

By the way, the game doesn't have anything to do with Bob Marley or the music industry. I just thought a game about a buffalo soldier would be nice!


1 Answer 1


Short answer, yes.

Of course, only your lawyer can advise you of your legal risk in civil matters like this. However, a reasonable person should not be at risk of brand confusion - which is the question a court would have to answer in that case, as this more aptly falls under trademark which protects symbols identifying things with business value, as opposed copyright which protects the content.

  • 5
    \$\begingroup\$ Even outside of brand confusion, if there's an impression that the game is profiting from the association with another artist's work, there exists some possibility of challenge - see the "Californication" lawsuit, for example. \$\endgroup\$
    – DMGregory
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 21:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that "Buffalo Soldier" is a widely known historical term that Marely was basing his own song off of. Unless the game has any reference to Marely, there's no confusion. \$\endgroup\$
    – mklingen
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 21:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's always a possibility of challenge, as noted. Civil courts are well known entertainers of frivolity on litigants' pocketbooks. There are plenty of lawsuits just like RHCP v Showtime, and it's an apt comparison given D demonstrated the term "Californication" was also common parlance prior to RHCP publishing the song. \$\endgroup\$
    – jzx
    Commented Feb 10, 2015 at 21:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does this apply only to the US or is there an international copyright law? \$\endgroup\$
    – Kostas
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 11:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you mean one law governing all IP issues around the world, no. Each country has its own treaties which it may or may not enforce. This is probably still true for most other common law countries (Canada, Australia, and UK being the main examples) while countries with different legal systems (Japan, China, South Korea...) may have radically different interpretations. \$\endgroup\$
    – jzx
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 17:48

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