Listening to National Public Radio this morning brought a chuckle. Joyland is the title of Stephen King’s new book (2014), and Joyland is also the title of Emily Schultz’s 2006 coming of age novel. This has confused readers who have been reviewing Schultz’s book as “lacking suspense” for a Stephen King title.
Part of the confusion may lie in the use of the same title, but copyright law does not cover book titles:
Copyright law does not protect names, titles, or short phrases or expressions. Even if a name, title, or short phrase is novel or distinctive or lends itself to a play on words, it cannot be protected by copyright.
There are instances of other books sharing similar names:
Great minds think alike…at least for titles.
So what was so amusing about this particular confusion between Schultz and King? Schultz realized the error when sales for her book increased and royalty checks came in. She started a website (Tumblr) called “Spending the Stephen King Money” where she posts about “IKEA trips, a haircut and a nice dinner out.”
Moreover, Stephen King has promised to read her book.