THE OFFSPRING are on pretty solid legal ground despite having openly admitted to having snatched the title for their next album from GUNS N' ROSES. "Trademark law does not come into existence unless the title is used in interstate commerce," according to copyright lawyer and co-author of "Musician's Business & Legal Guide", Greg Victoroff, who told Rolling Stone that copyright law does not extend to titles.
"[Right now], they're just two ordinary words," Victoroff said. "Under that analysis, it would seem that GUNS N' ROSES have no right to that title and THE OFFSPRING are free to use it in any purpose they wish." He added that unless GN'R's label has issued press releases touting the album, or the band has toured extensively under the album's name, then they have no real claim to the "Chinese Democracy".
According to Victoroff, trademark law was enacted to protect consumers from being confused, and though both OFFSPRING and GN'R play hard rock-inspired music, THE OFFSPRING should be safe as long as they are clearly named on the album's cover.
While a source close to GUNS says a letter from Rose's camp warning the OFFSPRING not to use the album title was sent earlier this year, an OFFSPRING spokesperson denied the existence of such a letter.
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