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There'd Be No Winners in This Title Bout

June 23, 2004

Re "Bradbury Wants His Title Back," June 19: Ray Bradbury feels that Michael Moore has "ripped off" the title of his classic novel "Fahrenheit 451" by titling his new movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" and is demanding an apology. There is an important distinction between a "rip-off" and a "take off," the latter having been affirmed protection under the 1st Amendment.

No intellectual property has been stolen or even misappropriated. Only the word "Fahrenheit" is a common factor between the two titles. An author cannot copyright, patent or protect a word for his own proprietary use.

In point of fact, there is no legal protection afforded for the copyright of a title, whether it is a novel, movie or play. Bradbury's seminal and provocative novel is of such a depth and power it would in any event easily withstand affronts of far greater seriousness.

David Temianka

Los Angeles

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What's wrong with Bradbury? Has he gone conservative on us? He wants the name on Moore's new film changed. Bradbury's book "Fahrenheit 451" was about independent thinking; Moore's movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" is about independent thinking. "Fahrenheit 9/11" can only help acquaint a new generation with Bradbury's classic.

Ron Lowe

Nevada City, Calif.

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