A Lesson in Copyright Law from Grey Goose Vodka

I was on my way to meet my friend Claire for our cowriting session one day when I drove past a billboard for Grey Goose vodka. The sign said, “Fly beyond.”

Before I go any further, did you know titles are not copyrighted? Copyright law sees titles as too short and vague to be copyrighted. What’s interesting to me, however, is how much time, energy, and money go into crafting titles. The ad agency for Grey Goose, for example, probably had a whole creative team that spent a million dollars to finally come up with “Fly beyond.”

Anyway, I brought it up to Claire as a prompt to start us off. She liked it as an idea but felt it begs the question, “Fly beyond what?” She then said, “How about the sun?”

From there, we wrote a song called, “Beyond the Sun,” which eventually was recorded by Lennon Stella for the TV Series Nashville.

I’m telling you this in hopes you’ll be more aware of titles you read while scanning Netflix, reading the paper, or driving past a billboard. You can use titles or parts of titles without any fear of plagiarism. Besides, your job as a songwriter is to steal existing material anyway. We are all essentially editors rearranging stuff in our own unique ways. Don’t try to say new things. Try to remind people of what they already know, but in a way they haven’t heard before.

Fly beyond the sun!



  • Titles are not copyrighted and are considered too short and vague.
  • Creative teams often invest significant resources in crafting memorable titles.
  • As a songwriter, you can use existing titles or parts of titles without fear of plagiarism.
  • Focus on reminding people of what they already know in a fresh and unique way.


What are your thoughts on using existing titles or phrases in your creative work? Have you ever drawn inspiration from a billboard or an ad? Share your experiences and ideas in the comments below!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *