The current international copyright law is the Berne Convention which holds that the creator of a work owns the work as soon as it is created without it's being registered. A copyright's financial benefits can be transferred to anyone other than the author at any time, as in the case of Peter Pan which is owned by the Great Ormond Street Hospital. Trademark is similar and there's a better explanation about it here than I can possibly give you. I am, after all, a moron. It's trademark law that allowed McDonald's (again) to sue a shop owner to keep her from calling her place McMunchies. IN SCOTLAND. Anyway, trademarks are issued for things like company names and logos. The thing that was particularly ridiculous to me about the Apple vs. Apple case was that Apple Corps. wanted to restrict another company's use of the common word "apple." Trademarks, unlike copyrights, need to be registered for an infringement case to have any teeth.
Trademarks are also issued for slogans. They're too short to be considered artistic works (although I wonder what would happen if a slogan was in haiku) so right of use is established on registration and the creator may not necessarily be the registered owner. This brings me to this week's case, which judiang tipped me off about. It seems that a a couple of bright bulbs have filed to trademark the slogan "Occupy Wall Street" because of it's "potential to be a global brand." They're talking t-shirts, bags and other
I just really don't know what to say after that because, wow. How about a protest song? This one was about the closing of a club on the Sunset Strip. Have a great day!