Questions Answered by John Espinosa

Q: What do I need to know about insuring my home if my new startup employees are going to work here with me?

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation for Massachusetts on
Answered on Aug 24, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
You need to work with both an experienced attorney and insurance agent to protect yourself here in all aspects. For both, the details of your business will dictate what you need. For insurance, at minimum you need a commercial general liability policy and also workers compensation policy since you have employees. You may very well need additional coverage depending on your business. Personal umbrella is a good idea as well. On the legal side, there are also many things to consider regarding...

Q: What are the tax implications of renting out parking spaces out of my driveway in the city of Cambridge, MA ?

1 Answer | Asked in Real Estate Law for Massachusetts on
Answered on Aug 10, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
For tax purposes, any income received from renting space on your driveway would be taxable likely as rental income on Schedule E. Consult a tax professional to go over your options with this kind of income. Seperately, the city or your real estate title documents may have restrictions that prevent you from doing that. Consult a real estate attorney to research that for you.

Q: What does a lawyer do when creating a partnership agreement?

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation and Business Law for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jul 6, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
First have a conversation with all proposed partners to determine their legal needs and goals. Then advise on the best way to form the entity and draft the appropriate documents to accomplish same.

Q: I'm a self-employed blogger and would like to know what business expenses I'm legally allowed to deduct?

1 Answer | Asked in Tax Law for North Carolina on
Answered on Jul 5, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Schedule C has the broad categories of business expenses you can deduct: https://www.irs.gov/forms-pubs/schedule-c-form-1040-profit-or-loss-from-business

Q: What are the legal steps to start a brand for and copyright the creative works of an artist?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Business Formation, Business Law and Intellectual Property for New York on
Answered on Jul 1, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
It sounds like you are currently operating as a sole proprietor, where there is no legal separation between you and your business. Your first step might be to form a separate legal entity, such as a single member LLC, with its own tax ID number and bank account for all of your business activities as an artist. Then copyright everything you can. You probably will not be able to get trademark protection for your own name though.

Q: Making money from video games in public places.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Gaming, Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Jun 24, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
The owners of the legal rights of those games would probably not take kindly to you infringing on those rights and profiting from it. Their rights are enforceable internationally. Your best bet is to reach out to the owners and ask for permission to do this.

Q: Hello, I would like to create a stranger things eyeshadow palette and wanted to know how to go about it?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Nevada on
Answered on Jun 24, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Yes you can still get into trouble for it.

Q: Hello, I am trying to come out with an eyeshadow palette that is themed stranger things. Can I get into trouble?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Nevada on
Answered on Jun 24, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
If you are marketing it as a stranger things theme then you can expect legal action for infringing on their rights. The right to use the name is covered by trademark law. Here is the trademark ownership info for stranger things: https://trademarks.justia.com/867/68/stranger-86768141.html

Also, here is an article about another business that tried to use their name without permission: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/09/netflix-cease-and-desist-stranger-things/540579/

Q: We are creating a line of makeup colors named after famous artists. Can we name the colors "Picasso" or "Van Gogh"?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Answered on Jun 24, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
This isn't copyright as copyright law does not protect the use of names. This is covered under the right of publicity and possibly trademark law as well, which means you would need permission of their estate to use their name in your product. Here is a resource that helps explain more about the right of publicity: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/copothr.html

Q: Do I own the copyright on content I post on social media?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Florida on
Answered on Jun 24, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
No. Read the terms and conditions of those social media sites.

Q: How does a subchapter S corporation differ from a standard S corporation (if at all)?

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law for Massachusetts on
Answered on Jun 18, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
To become an S corporation requires specific action under particular circumstances in exchange for some possible tax benefits. Here are some helpful resources that explain more:

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/s-corporations

https://www.mass.gov/service-details/s-corporations

Q: Hello, do i need a license to sell t-shirts with rick and morty characters and quotes printew on them ?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Answered on Jun 9, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Yes, you need both a copyright and trademark license from the owner.

Q: Can I use an abandoned trademark name / Make money doing so without repercussions.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Michigan on
Answered on Jun 7, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Not necessarily. An abandoned could be revived, and could already or still be in use in commerce so is not necessarily available for use https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/laws-regulations/overview-final-rule-revivals-reinstatements-and-petitions-director

Q: I wrote a book. In it, characters say “it’s a trap” & “ i’ve got a bad feeling about this “. Is this infringing

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on Jun 4, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Those are both examples of general statements that are not unique to those characters or to the work in question. Now if your characters had similar names to the other characters or other similarities then there might be copyright infringement.

Q: How should I legally start structuring a record label business, register trademark and copyright?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Trademark and Business Formation for Texas on
Answered on Jun 1, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
This is a very complex and specific question that cannot be fully addressed on here. As a starting point, this government resource explains the basics of copyright and trademark in the music industry:

https://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/ip-policy/musicians-and-artists-profile

Read that, then go hire an entertainment lawyer with expertise in the music industry to best advise you on the details.

Q: can I buy decals from graphics printer on line then apply to corn hole boards for resale? Their logos of college,MLB,etc

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Tennessee on
Answered on Jun 1, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Selling online is still selling, and selling them with the decal on gives the appearance of being a licensed product when it is not. What you describe is using someone else's brand for commercial purposes without their permission. The printer may have the license to sell the decals, but that does not give you or anyone else the ability to use those decals to then sell products. You would need to license the logos from the owners of the trademarks and copyrights in question, because both apply.

Q: Do I need licensing for printing and selling t-shirts that have a celeb's name, a phrase related to him, or his lyrics?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on May 31, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Yes, here is a helpful resource that addresses your question:

https://www.thelaw.com/law/are-song-titles-lyrics-protected-by-copyright-or-trademark-law.317/

As far as who to ask for a license to the rights, it would be the music publisher of the song.

Q: I have a canvas thats 40" by 60" of a copyrighted photo. It is a un-official photo from what I can find.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on May 30, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
It all depends on the circumstances of the sale in which you received the print. If it was from the photographer or a legitimate reseller, then you may be able to re-sell it. This is because of the first sale doctrine.

Typically, the first sale doctrine will come into play in these types of questions: an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy,...

Q: Status 606 abandoned , Does this mean it is outdated?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Texas on
Answered on May 29, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
It means the application was abandoned. This resource discusses what that means: https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/abandoned-applications

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