I am planning to use the name of a book (about 3-4 yrs old) as the tag line of my website.
Its three words long.
What are the IP issues here, how do i know if i can use it legally or if the author doesn't allow the name to be used as the tag line of my website.
thanks in advance.
You need to be careful as to how you use any work that someone else has copyrighted but it appears that titles of books seem to be a little trickier that other works. This article over at Pub Law seems to say that titles are not protected as copyrighted material (Taken from Pub Law reference below):
"Copyright Office Regulations and judicial decisions have made it clear that titles are only the equivalent of short slogans and therefore a title does not contain sufficient expression to be worthy of copyright protection"
Now, the title could be a trademark but that seems to only apply to a series of books not a single title. Again, same Pub Law article quote:
"A publisher cannot obtain federal trademark registration for a single title, but a series title may be federally registered."
I guess you need to figure out if the author either registered the title as a trademark (since it might be used to identify something else) or it's a series of books. You can search for trademarks here.
This is a pretty interesting question since it is not handled consistently.
Have you considered doing a trademark search?
I would also review the trademark faq to get some ideas about the validity of using a pre-existing phrase.
Have a back up name planned... but go for it. Then if you get contacted you can take it down and tell the press what happened and use the whole experience as a marketing tool to promote your website.