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Questions Answered by Steve Charles Vondran
2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Ohio on
Q: Are photographs taken of President Abraham Lincoln delivering his Second Inaugural Address in the public domain?

The photo in question was taken on March 4, 1865, by an employee, probably by Alexander Gardner, if so, of a privately-owned photography studio, owned by Matthew Brady. Can I reprint one of these photos in a book and be free of any legal consequences? Thank you.

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Jan 14, 2021

Items in the public domain do not have copyright protections. That means, you can use these photos or images how you see fit, but make sure they are truly in the public domain (all rights expired). In your example, that photo would seem to be in the public domain. Public domain photos become... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Kentucky on
Q: Is it legal to use pictures found online for private use?

My family and I play dnd as a small group. Is it legal for us to use images from google as tokens for our characters?

The tokens do not get distributed and the images are only seen by us.

Would this qualify as fair use or would we need to seek permission to use the pictures.

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Jan 8, 2021

This is a very important question. Before you invest in creating products or services using images found online, it is important to know who the "rights holder" is (the person who owns the legal rights to the photograph).

In some cases, a photo may be in the public domain, but...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright on
Q: I am creating a board game based on a real life sport, for e.g Soccer. I am not planning on using any player images

Can I use the names of real players in the game? For e.g Harry Kane

If I cannot use real player names, can I use fictional names that are close to the real name. For e.g. Harry Kane becomes H Kene?

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 28, 2020

This is one you are probably want to seek legal help on. Many states, such as California, have a "right of publicity law" which protects a persons NAME, image and likeness. If it were me, I would not want my game to get big, only to find out one or more players want a "slice of the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for North Dakota on
Q: I have received a copyright infringement notice from my ISP and I have immediately stopped any such activities

I had downloaded a file from torrent and deleted it immediately from my system. I just received a notice that my IP has been associated with such an activity. Now, what can I do?

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 24, 2020

You should still consult with a copyright defense law firm so you can see if there might be any future reason to worry. Sometimes things go away, and sometimes they don't. Best to get an idea where you stand after a lawyer reviews the evidence. Is it Strike 3 Holdings by any chance? If so,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Copyright and Trademark for Virginia on
Q: If an attorney sends you a cease and desist request, is is normal for them to also ask for fees?
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 9, 2020

This is not legal advice. From my jurisdictions (California and Arizona), I don't normally see a fee demand with a cease and desist, although I do not believe there is anything improper about requesting a pursuit fee in the right case. See you at the top! Attorney Steve®

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for New York on
Q: I need to get copyright permission for a t-shirt made with janis joplin's photo?
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 8, 2020

This is not legal advice. I would have a lawyer look at this before you jump in especially if you are investing a lot of money. There can be rights of publicity issues and her estate could own some rights. Tread cautiously. Attorney Steve®

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3 Answers | Asked in Copyright for North Dakota on
Q: If I post a YouTube video with my own self-made song in it, will third parties be able to infringe copyright?

Basically, I have a short "album" of dingy 1:30 - 3:00 songs that I might want to share with the world via YouTube, but there's the nagging fear in the back of my mind that somebody may be able to use it without my permission. I've discovered that I can order other channels to... Read more »

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 7, 2020

Each is own, I usually tell my clients that if they think they have something good, they should pay the minimal fee to get it copyrighted through the United States Copyright Office. Small price to pay and puts one in the best position to enforce and stop infringement. This is not legal advice as... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Trademark for Florida on
Q: If a name is already registered but under a different class would I still be able to file for a new trademark?
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 5, 2020

Generally speaking, the same name (trademark) can be used in different categories as long as there is no "likelihood of consumer confusion." For example, there is the Lexus car, and the Lexis legal research software (which I use). This is not legal advice. Consumer confusion is many... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Georgia on
Q: Can I play copyrighted popular music in my podcast where I comment on it as it plays?

My partner and I are looking to start a podcast where we hit shuffle and let five or so songs play in the background while we discuss the songs and build a story on top of them.

We use the lyrics, mood, and artist’s info to pitch a short story, simultaneously commenting on the music and... Read more »

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 5, 2020

Letting songs play in full, I don't think that is the best idea. You could go through all the time and effort only to have it blocked when you try to load it or share it online. Music companies are famous for blocking things like this. If anything, I would use really short clips (this is... Read more »

4 Answers | Asked in Trademark, Copyright, Business Formation and Intellectual Property for New York on
Q: Broke dad trying to help broke college daughter file for a trademark

My daughter is an artist, photographer, craftswoman, woodworker and a very creative person. She has been selling by word of mouth. She creates and re-purposes many different items putting her flair on them and is attempting to build a brand. She came up with a "company" name and wants to... Read more »

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Dec 4, 2020

I have a video on this that many thousands have enjoyed. See you at the top! Attorney Steve®

https://youtu.be/8gSE59gC94c

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for New York on
Q: accused of copyright theft

My mother makes animal carvings and sells them she looks at many things before making her own but does not follow any one thing when she makes her product. She made some animal carvings that have the same postures as the drawings in the book so they look the same but the drawings are much more... Read more »

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Nov 29, 2020

Generally speaking (this is not legal advice) a Plaintiff alleging copyright infringement must show "access" to copyrighted work and "substantial similarity." Independent creation can be a defense to infringement. It sounds like you might want to have a copyright lawyer take a... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Wisconsin on
Q: Youtube updated their TOS in November 2020 to include rights to monetise copyrighted content, without paying? Legal?

The Youtube TOS for the USA was updated on the 18th of November 2020, to state that Youtube has the right to monetise the videos on any channel, should they see fit, and, if the owner of said content is not a partner, Youtube is not required to pay them. The terms also state that the creator... Read more »

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Nov 25, 2020

This is not legal advice and is general information only. When you sign up to use a website, usually there are terms of service you agree to when you click on the "I agree" button. Some call this "clickwrap license." If you want to use the service (in this case YouTube and... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Q: Is the author of a software's trading name alone, sufficiently binding on an EULA if it's a sole proprietorship?

On a Software License Agreement, EULA and/or any other such agreement: When the author is referring to itself for the purpose of identifying it as the licensor, or for any other reason required by the terms of the agreement, if the author is a sole proprietor, is the authors chosen trading name... Read more »

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Nov 24, 2020

This is general legal information only and not legal advice. For me, if I was operating a software company, I would form a legal entity. It's not too expensive, and it looks a little more legitimate (I would think) to the average customer. Then, I would create the EULA using the name of my... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation and Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I want to make a baseball hat with these same initials. Can I do that?

I want to use the initials GTFO.

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Nov 9, 2020

Go to USPTO search trademarks. See if anyone us using this in your classification. Also do a common law search (especially in the state you are planning to do business), and others. A lot of similar marks are allowed to co-exist, but do a little leg work and see what you find. Good legal. This... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for New Jersey on
Q: I have a youtube channel called VossWaterKim, do you think if I get bigger I'll have an incoming copyright strike?
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Oct 29, 2020

hard to say. I would ask, what are you trying to accomplish? Maybe you can come up with something unique?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Is it against US copyright laws if I publish photos of a medical device?

I am a physician and I own many medical devices and equipments and medical supply that I use in my office for simple office procedures, for example a device to remove skin lesions, or a device to do biopsy etc. If I take a photo of these devices/equipment/supplies and publish them in my website (or... Read more »

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Oct 27, 2020

This is not legal advice. Generally, when I do something like that, I will take a photo and if I use it on my website, or in a brochure, I will comment on the photo. For example, here is my Law Copier, I love this thing. This will help with a "fair use" defense if anyone tries to give... 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
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 »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark on
Q: Is the name Sherlock trademarked?

I am a 17 year old artist based in UAE and I just recently started getting into the market. My entire social media structure has been built around the username 'almostsherlock' and my insignia includes an 'SH' along with my internet alias below it; Elias. I did this because my... Read more »

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

Here is a good site to check out. Generally speaking, what I tell my clients in this day and age is, to stay safe, be original. There is nothing worse than putting a lot of time, money and effort into something only to get a cease and desist letter. I am not saying this is what would happen, but... Read more »

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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
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.

3 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: Hi. I would like to use the name feasty? Am I allowed to use it?
Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Oct 24, 2020

You need to provide more facts if you want to better answer. How do you intend on using this name?

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