21 Savage Says “Issa” is Copyrighted But We Checked & Issa Not (Yet)

By | one month ago
An electric toothbrush brand does hold a registered trademark for "ISSA," though.
2017-07-07-21-savage-issa-copyright
Photo Credit: John Canon

To promote his newly-released major label debut, Issa Album, 21 Savage stopped by Los Angeles radio station Real 92.3 this week for an interview with Bootleg Kev, DJ Damage and Dre Sinatra. 

Two minutes into the interview, the Atlanta native was asked by Kev if he owns the copyright to the word "Issa," to which he replied, "Yeah, that shit copywritten. You gotta come see me."

Genius, right? If only it were true...

For starters, a copyright is meant to protect literary and artistic works, such as novels, songs and videos. "Copyright only protects creative works and a single word (even a made up one) is considered too minimal to count as a 'work'," according to Seattle-based writer Todd Gardiner, who is experienced in copyright requirements.

In order to protect a name, slogan, logo or saying, such as "Issa," 21 would have had to trademark the word.

So, because we had nothing better to do this afternoon, we took a digital ride over to the United State Patent and Trademark Office website in search of a trademark for the word "Issa."

In total, the word "Issa" is a part of 36 unique registrations, but not a single one belongs to 21 Savage, his label, Slaughter Gang, or is connected to or affiliated with the 24-year-old born Shayaa Bin Abraham-Joseph.

The last three trademarks filed for the word "ISSA" are: Foreo Ltd. (electric toothbrushes) in Hong Kong, who registered a supplemental trademark for "ISSA" on September 15, 2015, Minling He DBA Issa Nails Salon (day spa services) in New York, who registered a principal trademark for "ISSA" on June 23, 2015, and KARL STORZ GmbH & Co. (printed material, namely catalogues, magazines, journals, brochures and informational flyers) in Germany, who registered a principal trademark for "ISSA" on March 13, 2012. 

Okay, but Z, he said it was copywritten. Did you check the United States Copyright Office website? Yup, sure did.

In total, a search for the keyword "Issa" yielded 13,150 results, of which 21 have been registered since the beginning of 2016. Unfortunately, not one copyright with the word "Issa" in the application is attached to our main man, 21. Although, in my free time, I do plan on finding out more about the "ISSA Complete Guide To Bodybuilding." 

While it's certainly possible that 21 has filed paperwork to register "Issa" as a trademark—again, the only way it could be copyrighted is if the application was for the title of a song or album—given the fact the word has already been trademarked by multiple companies for various uses over the past four years, the likelihood it would be approved for registration is questionable. 

One thing 21 Savage does own, however, is his masters, and all aspiring artists should aspire to do the same.

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