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Pennsylvania Copyright Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I make a play on a name of a series for the name of a blog.

I want to make a blog about exterior remodeling and we do a lot of James Hardie products. So my main source of content would be tips and tricks for installing as well as reviews and other aspect of home remodeling. But I don't know if It'll be copyright to the series The Hardy Boys as... Read more »

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
answered on Aug 22, 2022

Although James Hardie Industries owns the trademark HARDIE for siding materials, your use of the word as the name of an informative blog would not be infringing. Regarding the old Hardy Boys works of fiction, the titles themselves are not the subject of copyright and your use would be... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: What do I do when you become aware someone is using your registered trademark in another state?

I obtained my trademark for "The Cheesecake Fairy" last year. I have been in business for over 7 years and finally decided to trademark my name. A bakery in another state is now calling themselves "The Cheesecake Fairy" and I fear this will cause great confusion for when I... Read more »

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
answered on Mar 12, 2022

Your federal trademark registration for THE CHEESECAKE FAIRY (no. 6377579, for baked goods and store services since 2018) provides the ability to sue infringers in federal courts throughout the nation. Whether you can sue in your own state or in the state of the infringer, is a question that an... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have a copyright on a curriculum I co-authored. I need to create a non-exclusive licensing agreement. What do I do?
Robert Kost
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Robert Kost
answered on Nov 30, 2021

First, you should consider registering the curriculum with the Copyright Office -- there are a number of benefits to doing so.

A license is a kind of legal contract. You can find forms for non-exclusive licenses to copyrighted works online. But to make sure it serves your specific...
Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do I create a non-exclusive license for my copyright? Do I need to report it to the copyright office?

An organization wants to use the curriculum I co-authored.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
answered on Nov 30, 2021

You should consider copyrighting your product. Your license is a private contract, unless you are transferring full ownership you should not have to register anything.

Consult with an attorney.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Copyright, Trademark, and Parody.

1st Question: Would this fall safely under parody? (Yes I believe it to be parody and not satire as the image and words only produce comedic effect with the knowledge of the video game elements and stand alone does not create a comedic effect)

I used photoshop to impose two copyrighted... Read more »

Robert Kost
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Robert Kost
answered on Nov 8, 2021

It's not clear from your description what the superimposed images are a parody of. A parody is a "humorously exaggerated imitation" that borrows from a copyrighted work in order to make fun of it. So, it's very difficult to even comment (let alone give advice) without more... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do I notify a trademark owner of illegal use of their property?

There is a local business in my area marketing merchandise with unauthorized use of a trademarked "Stay Salty" logo

Robert Kost
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Robert Kost
answered on Oct 29, 2021

The trademark owner identity and contact information is publicly available at the "Trademark Status and Document Retrieval" site within the US Patent and Trademark Office website. You would first search for the mark via "TESS" -- the trademark search engine available at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: I donated articles to a Pennsylvania newspaper without compensation-published under my name. Can I republish elsewhere?

I was employed by that newspaper as a copyeditor, not a writer. My articles were also posted online.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
answered on Oct 12, 2021

Check if you had any contract with the company. Consult with an attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I use a copyrighted character such as a dc comic book character for twitch streams and YouTube content creation?

To clarify, I would like to use the character as a cosplay with no mention to the characters name. The idea would be to interact as the character while gaming.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
answered on Sep 30, 2021

No. You should consult with an attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I print logos on shirts and print it. Like a jersey. For example can I print shirt with the AmEx logo
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
answered on Sep 4, 2021

I recommend you do not.

Consult an attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I put “one tree hill” on a tshirt and sell it?? Or sell a tshirt with the show character names on it?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
answered on Jan 4, 2021

This course of action runs a high risk of copyright infringement. Copyright protection extends to television characters and television shows. It is also possible this show has a trademark separately on the show name as well. As always, please consult an experienced intellectual property before you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark, Copyright, Business Law and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: My question is about avoiding violating a third-party trademark.

My question is about avoiding violating a third-party trademark.

Here’s a quick summary:

A third party, let’s call them “Tower, Inc.” took a dead trademark (which lived from c. 1870-1970) and filed to bring it back to around 2000. Tower, Inc. now uses the trademark in new... Read more »

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
answered on Dec 28, 2020

It depends on how you use the trademarked image. Trademark infringement depends on a lot of factors such as: (1) strength of the marks, (2) relatedness of the goods, (3) similarity of the marks, (4) evidence of actual confusion, (5) marketing channels, (6) degree of consumer care, (7)... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: I made original artwork using the VW logo, will I get sued if I put it on a shirt?

I took a picture of the VW logo, photoshopped it into artwork, will I get sued if I put it on a shirt that I would sell?

Steve Charles Vondran
PREMIUM
Steve Charles Vondran
answered on Oct 24, 2020

This is never an easy question. There are ways to "transform" copyrighted and trademarked works in a way that "fair use" rights will apply. However, I tell my clients not to mess with big established brands and logos. It may end up in having to scrap your project, pay... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: If I put a Porsche vehicle on a shirt and then sell the shirt will I get sued?

I took a picture of a Porsche and I want to use that picture as a shirt design to sell. Will I get sued for selling that shirt?

Steve Charles Vondran
PREMIUM
Steve Charles Vondran
answered on Oct 24, 2020

You can never tell for sure if someone (or a company like Porsche) is going to sue you for using their car and trademarked logo commercially on shirts. Me, I would not take my chances knowing what I know. I would probably try to create my own dream car and own unique logo.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Business Law, Military Law and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Good afternoon, I am starting a company called MARINEFIT. Could I get sued for using MARINEFIT or is it okay?

I am a Marine and a certified personal trainer, I named my business Marine fit. My business makes money and I am currently turning it into a official LLC. I should have the LLC done in a few days. I read on Marines website they do not authorize the use of USMC or their logos/brands for other... Read more »

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
answered on Sep 26, 2020

Hi there,

First, thank you for your service! Second, good on you for asking these questions ahead of time! Third, congrats on starting your business!

To the merits ...

Your risk of upsetting the USMC to the point of eliciting a Cease and Desist letter here is relatively...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Pennsylvania on
Q: Book Title

Hi. I have a question about intellectual property and copyright. If I’ve written a book, how do I know if my book title is taken or if it’s too similar to other book titles? For example could I title it “The Adventures of Ozzy, the Big Blue Dog” or would that be in violation of the... Read more »

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
answered on Sep 26, 2020

The short answer is that it depends on how litigious the rights holders would be. Based solely on the information in this this hypothetical, your risk of infringement would be low. That said, characters are subject to copyright protection so an A-to-B comparison of the character(s) would need to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I sell basketball jerseys that use real names and numbers of NBA players, BUT the names are in a made up alphabet

The jerseys do not use any similar colors or shapes of the player’s real team. Also, this made up alphabet that I create will not be disclosed. So it will take other people to “crack the code” if you will, but numbers and length of names will be clues.

Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
answered on Sep 23, 2020

Be careful about the NBA's trademarks, and the players' rights of publicity here. But if it's not readily apparent that you're pointing to another's trademark; or that the players' identities are readily discernible, your risk of infringement here is quite low.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Internet Law for Pennsylvania on
Q: Do I need a website's permission to use them as an example/demo in a teaching video?
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
answered on Sep 23, 2020

Generally speaking, using copyrighted content for educational purposes is squarely within the "fair use" doctrine of copyright law. Without knowing a bit more about your situation, it's difficult to answer this fully, but your risk of infringement here is very low.

2 Answers | Asked in Business Law and Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Are you able to legally sell a picture of a celebrity, that you took. Then print the photo you took on clothing to sell?

I.E. If you pay a photographer to take a picture of a professional athlete, can you then sell that picture on clothing? Since you now technically own the image.

John B. Hudak
John B. Hudak
answered on Jun 28, 2020

There are two elements here – rights to the image under copyright law and rights to the use of the image related to rights to publicity/likeness/privacy related to the famous person (and maybe others). You are claiming rights to the image under copyright. You need to clear the rights related to... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: NDA for consultation?

I am paying a physics professor a consulting fee for help with a private entrepreneurial project. I haven't set anything up on my part as a business entity yet. But I want to protect the ideas I share while speaking with the professor during our consulting sessions. Can an NDA do the job, or... Read more »

Nancy L Lanard
Nancy L Lanard
answered on Jun 24, 2020

The NDA (which includes a non-compete provision) can be entered between two individuals - it does not need to be between business entities. Make sure the NDA is strong and thoroughly defines confidential information to include all forms that the information could be - in other words, the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Collections, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: I want to use the tune to ColePorter's song "Anything Goes" with new lyrics on Youtube. Do I need copyright permission?
John B. Hudak
John B. Hudak
answered on Jun 17, 2020

Your new work may be considered a derivative work of the original song. A derivative work uses some or all of the original work and adds new elements. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to make derivative works. Therefore, if you made a derivative work without permission it could be... Read more »

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