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Questions Answered by Donovan A Rodriques

1 Answer | Asked in Entertainment / Sports for California on

Q: If a nonprofit owns a film, but gives a portion of the revenue to the filmmakers, who truly owns it?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Aug 9, 2018

How does the agreement between the filmmakers and nonprofit treat the issue of ownership of the film? How do you know the nonprofit owns it? Are there any documentation evidencing copyright ownership of the film?

1 Answer | Asked in Entertainment / Sports for Florida on

Q: I'm writing a script from an idea given to me by a friend - how is the work treated from an ownership standpoint?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Feb 9, 2018

Depending on how well-developed the idea is and how much is used, you are the sole owner of the copyright in the script. You may give your friend "story by" credit. You should contact a qualified entertainment attorney to review all the facts.

1 Answer | Asked in Entertainment / Sports for California on

Q: Am I able to trademark a stage name?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Dec 20, 2017

In general, yes.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for New York on

Q: I own a Food business can I use my aunts( she has passed) name to brand an item - with out any issues?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Nov 6, 2017

You should be able to use your aunt's name, unless barred by some other principle of law, such as trademark infringement.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for New York on

Q: A celebrity on a talk show states the virtues of a beauty product. There is no mention of a brand name......

can I quote her verbatum and use a picture of her on said talk show in my company's sales catalog?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Sep 11, 2017

You may quote her so long as it is not done in such a manner that implies celebrity's endorsement of your goods/services. You will need celebrity's permission to use her/his name and likeness in your catalog. You may also need permission from the talk show's owner to use the image captured from the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation and Consumer Law for New York on

Q: If I paid an organization and they gave me a receipt but later they can"t locate or lost the payment, what do I do?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Sep 1, 2017

If the organization fails to fulfill their promised obligation, you may send them a demand letter and/or bring a claim for breach of contract.

1 Answer | Asked in Entertainment / Sports, Internet Law and Intellectual Property for District of Columbia on

Q: Is it a copyright infringement having a puppet sing a line from Whitney Houston song in a video for a nat'l contest?

The video will be posted on social media and the winner will receive scholarship money for college.

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Aug 31, 2017

It probably is. You should get clearance first. Best of luck!

2 Answers | Asked in Business Law for New York on

Q: CAN OWNER#1 TAKE OWNER#2 OFF CORPORATION BANK ACCOUNT WITHOUT THEIR KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT?

.My husband and I own a business corporation 50/50. We are the only 2 shareholders.We opened a corporation bank account under the corporation name and listed him as owner #1 pres and myself owner #2 sec /treas on the bank signature card. Both our SS# are listed on the card and also the EIN#. . I... Read more »

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Aug 28, 2017

The corporate documents, such as shareholder agreement, bylaws and the bank account agreement will need to be reviewed regarding the rules in connection with the conduct of the officers and shareholders of the business. You should speak with a business attorney for advice.

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2 Answers | Asked in Entertainment / Sports, Intellectual Property and Trademark for New York on

Q: How would I successfully go about obtaining a stage name, that was filed/abandoned (is DEAD) 10+ years ago?

I ran a search in TESS for the stage name that I would like to use and came across a DEAD trademark under the IC 009 category. They were using it for a "series of musical recordings..." which is what I'd like to use it for, however it was filed in March 2006, and abandoned in April 2007. How can I... Read more »

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Jul 25, 2017

You will need to conduct a search to see if the mark is still in use. A trademark may be still valid at common law despite being listed as "dead" at the USPTO. If the mark is in use you may contact the owner for permission to use it, via a transfer of rights or trademark license. If the mark is not... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports and Trademark on

Q: How is a work of fiction like The Walking Dead legally allowed to feature an organization like the CDC?

In that same thread, how is a videogame like Deus Ex allowed to feature and reference an organization like FEMA? What are the rules regarding the use of these US federal government agencies in a work of fiction?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Jul 25, 2017

The particular use of the organizations may be "nominative fair use" or protected by First Amendment interests in artistic expression. Read the following article for an in depth analysis: http://rodriqueslaw.com/blog/how-use-brands-and-products-film

3 Answers | Asked in Banking, Business Formation, Business Law and Identity Theft for New York on

Q: What exact form do I need to have to give my power to someone to manage my business and bank account, signing checks etc

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Jun 30, 2017

Your options may depend on your type of business entity and shareholder/member agreements currently in place. In general, you will need a power of attorney. Preferably, you may appoint the individual as a manager of the business, with all powers necessary to conduct the operations and business... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Mergers & Acquisitions for New York on

Q: If someone has expressed interest in buying my company should I have them sign an NDA before we talk specifics?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Jun 23, 2017

In order to guard the proprietary information of the business, it is generally best practice to enter into a NDA before you begin to disclose specifics. Make sure to consult with a mergers and acquisitions lawyer regarding the specific considerations when negotiating an NDA.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for New York on

Q: i have a idea for a video commercial in a specific industry can i copyright it before i pitch it to big companies?

is a video script considered a tangible medium in order to protect the idea?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Jun 14, 2017

It is usually wise to register the copyright in your work before pitching it. However, you cannot obtain a copyright in an idea. You can obtain a copyright in the original, creative expression of the idea, such as by adding vivid details of scene(s) or story (usually in the form of a treatment or... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Entertainment / Sports for Florida on

Q: What should I be aware of if I submit an unsolicited screenplay to a studio in terms of ownership, etc.?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on May 26, 2017

You should be aware that most studios will not read unsolicited scripts, for fear of copyright infringement litigation. You should contact an entertainment attorney or talent agent who can pitch your script on your behalf. Of course, you should ensure that your script is registered with the US... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Mergers & Acquisitions for New York on

Q: If companies that are based in different states merge, how do you decide which state's law should apply to the merger?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Apr 21, 2017

The parties may agree on which state's law is to govern the transaction. Typically, it is the law of the state of the surviving entity.

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3 Answers | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for New York on

Q: I am interested in operating a group family daycare. I need help getting started.

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Apr 20, 2017

You will need to obtain a Group Family Day Care License. You should also consider: (1) what business entity to use for your business, in terms of liability, tax consequences, management and operations, etc.; and (2) General liability and workers compensation insurance.

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2 Answers | Asked in Products Liability, Intellectual Property and Libel & Slander on

Q: When publishing a true crime novel, how can an author protect themselves from lawsuit?

What rights need to be sought, how do you avoid defamation of character suits, what protections need to be sought before publishing?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Apr 19, 2017

You should ensure that all proper copyright registrations are in place, obtain a book clearance report, general liability and errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, and proper contracts with publishers and other parties. “Script clearance” means that a clearance service will go through the... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law, Copyright and Trademark for New York on

Q: I have a trademark question, regarding legality around opening a new business and whether it infringes on another?

Suppose I want to open a new hair salon service with the business name 'American Haircut Club' but another company doing a similar service is operating in the same state as me with the name 'Haircut Club'. Does the fact that my name is a little different since it has the word 'American' in front... Read more »

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Apr 6, 2017

Firstly, you will need to apply for a New York Natural Hair Styling license. Secondly, if you plan to setup your business as a LLC, partnership or corporation, the New York Division of Corporations may reject your proposed business name if it is not "distinguishable" from existing names on file.... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Business Law and Communications Law for New York on

Q: I want to publish a book showing the work of tattooists. They provide the picss. Do I need model releases. Many are old.

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Apr 3, 2017

Not only should you obtain model releases, you ought to also obtain license from the photographer(s) and clearance for the artwork depicted in the pics.

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2 Answers | Asked in Entertainment / Sports for New York on

Q: What kind of licensing agreement should I have for a song I wrote and I'd like to sell?

Donovan A Rodriques answered on Mar 30, 2017

That depends on who you would like to sell or license your song to. Your question is too vague for a proper answer. You should speak with an experienced entertainment lawyer.

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