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Questions Answered by Mark B. Saku
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Legal use of celebrities's photo in my film

Hello!!! Thank you for the good site!!!

I'm an aspiring film director. I have some questions to you! 1 - I want to use Freddie Mercury image. I know that it's impossible. But what about if I will draw his portrait by myself? Can I use it in my film?

2- the same question... Read more »

Mark B. Saku
Mark B. Saku answered on Jun 18, 2015

Use of a celebrities image (whether drawn or photographed) may give right to publicity rights claims, depending on the jurisdiction of use. Many states, including CA and NY have state law protecting the rights of individuals to control the use of their name and likeness. Some of these laws even... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Oregon on
Q: Is it illegal to watch movies online? Without downloading anything.
Mark B. Saku
Mark B. Saku answered on Jun 18, 2015

Watching itself does not constitute copyright infringement. Using a reference to a colleague who previous used this example, you are not infringing copyright by watching a band perform cover songs on stage.

However, copyright infringement in the United States is a strict liability offense....
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Texas on
Q: Copyright for a song

I sampled the music from a song that was originally written in 1923. It has been sampled many times since then. I have added new words to the song and changed a few bars. What do i need to do to protect my version of the song? The original composer is no longer living.

Mark B. Saku
Mark B. Saku answered on Jun 16, 2015

Works published before the end of 1923 are most likely in the public domain - which means that you do not need permission from the original (or current) copyright owner to sample the song.

If the work was originally published outside the US, or if the song was published after 1923,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Washington on
Q: Are there copyrights on creating art based on films

I want to create artworks to sell based on scenes from famous films. No names or titles will be used just scenes. Are there any copyright issues with this?

Mark B. Saku
Mark B. Saku answered on Jun 16, 2015

Yes, you will have a copyright claim to your work. However, creative works based on previous works are considered a "derivative work" and require the permission of the original copyright owner before registration, distribution or pubic display/performance of the subsequent work.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Utah on
Q: Can a kids theatre company write their own version of a Disney production and use it as a camp for kids?
Mark B. Saku
Mark B. Saku answered on Jun 16, 2015

Most likely no. A creative work based on a previously created work is known as a "derivative work" and requires the permission of the original copyright holder in order to distribute or publicly perform the subsequent work.

There are exceptions available, (and maybe some defenses...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I own 50% copyright for a biography. I want to write a novel based on that material. What do I pay his heirs?

I wrote from interviews for the purpose of posterity. The person has since died. What is fair compensation to the heirs for use of his story in a book and/or film? (Written on spec.)

Mark B. Saku
Mark B. Saku answered on Jun 16, 2015

Fair compensation really depends on what the heirs will charge you for use of the person's "name and likeness" as the subject in your novel/film. Depending on your jurisdiction, the heirs may also have the right to prevent circulation of your novel/film without their express... Read more »

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