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Questions Answered by Mark A. Baker
1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for North Carolina on
Q: An illustrator is interested in purchasing a license to my photograph for reference purposes, how does this work?

My photograph will only be viewed by the illustrator so they are able to create their own artwork based off the image and then sell their artwork, so I'm not sure if I would charge a licensing fee (and how to go about configuring that) or charge royalty fees. I'm having trouble configuring how to... Read more »

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Mar 27, 2018

As the creator of the work, and therefore the owner of the copyright (assuming you have not otherwise transferred the copyright or made the work as a work-for-hire), you have the exclusive right, among other rights, to create derivative works. An illustrator who creates illustrations from your... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Tennessee on
Q: copyright a song - to record the song on a cassette, mail it to yourself, make sure it's never opened or seal broken.

will this stand up in court if proof of ownership is ever challenged.

state: TN

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Mar 13, 2018

You have described a "poor man's copyright." It's worth about as much as the piece of paper it's written on, but not after you add postage. Under U.S. law, a copyright comes into existence the moment the original idea is "fixed in a tangible medium" - when you record the original song on a cassette... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Alabama on
Q: I filed for Ch. 7 in the middle of a month. At the beginning of that month, I got a $2000/year raise, but filed

with the income figure from the month before. My attorney says that we do not need to file amended prior to the 341 meeting and we will address it at the meeting. Do you agreee with this assessment?

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Feb 7, 2018

I agree with your attorney's assessment, assuming, of course, that you make this disclosure at the 341 meeting. Following the meeting, there may be other matters to address by amendment, so it makes sense to address them all in a single amendment.

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2 Answers | Asked in Bankruptcy for Alabama on
Q: I live in Alabama and I was wondering if you can file on a car only and not other things.

We want to keep the house and other things but not the car. We found out that the car is only worth right at 8k but we still owe over 15k. What should we do? We are able to make the house payments but not the car.

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Feb 7, 2018

The answer to your question requires analysis of a number of variables that you haven't addressed, to determine whether you are eligible for chapter 7 relief (a so-called "fresh start," with discharge of all eligible debts) or would otherwise be required to file a chapter 13 case (which allows you... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Florida on
Q: Does anyone know if the skit "Who on First" by Abbott & Costello is public domain or owned by their relatives.

A buddy & mine want to perform this skit on stage; but want to make sure we won't be violating the copyright law. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Feb 5, 2018

The copyright has PROBABLY fallen into the public domain, based upon case law. In a recent lawsuit decided by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, a playwright had used about 30 seconds of the "Who's On First?" skit in a Broadway show, "Hand of God." The heirs of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Q: Is it illegal to use a picture of bamm bamm from the Flintstones as part of a logo for a music recording label?
Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Jan 19, 2018

Unless you have permission or a license to use a picture of Bamm-Bamm as part of your logo, it is likely that your unauthorized use will infringe upon the owner's (probably Hanna-Barbera or ABC) trademark or other rights and expose you to legal liability.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Alabama on
Q: Can I legally sell a resource to accompany a novel study on an online store and refer to the actual title of the book?

I have created a lesson to accompany a novel to sell commercially to other teachers. Most book titles are not trademarked, but the novel title I created the lessons to accompany is listed as "trademarked". In the product, I refer to the title of the book multiple times and the activity pages that... Read more »

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Jan 11, 2018

I'm not sure I understand your question. Please explain a little more. Thanks,

Mark A. Baker

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for Alabama on
Q: Can a brand name be trademarked by someone else if it has been registered as a legal entity in the State of Alabama?

If a brand name has been established but we had not trademarked the name and just recently found out someone else has can we legally no longer use the brand name?

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Jan 10, 2018

If the other party's use of the name has been trademarked through the USPTO, you may have an uphill battle. Much would depend upon the timing, although if your usage of the name commenced before the other party's use, and you can document this use, then there may be an avenue to proceed. Without... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Q: What is a derivative art work? If I do some additions to an existing art work of some artist and make a derivative.?

If I make a derivative of an existing art work will that be my copyright or fair use of copyright .?

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Nov 22, 2017

Among other rights, the Copyright Act of 1976 (17 U.S. Code § 106) provides the copyright owner the exclusive right . . . “(2) to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work * * *.” Derivative works are based on or derived from one or more already existing works. Copyright Office... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Bankruptcy and Foreclosure for Alabama on
Q: My husband and I personal guaranteed (up to $25,000) on our daughters personal residence mortgage. The bank foreclosed

on it and sold it for less than was owed. Our daughter filed bankruptcy. My husband died. And the bank says that I must pay the $25000 plus interest. (Eventhough they had assured me after his death that I would not owe it). Do I have to pay it?

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Oct 20, 2017

Assuming that you have signed a personally guaranty of your daughter's mortgage loan, then it is likely that you have potential legal liability for the remaining deficiency following the foreclosure sale. However, in order for the mortgage lender to have the legal right to pursue you for that... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Illinois on
Q: If I purchased music, can I sell a DVD with that music in the background?

I'm running an online business in personalized video creations (photographs with music in the background). I have an itunes library of all the music I've purchased and I'd like my customers to be able to choose from them, or pick other musical selections that I would then buy from the itunes store... Read more »

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Aug 25, 2017

Your use of others' music as you describe would be considered copyright infringement. When you purchase and download a song from iTunes, you only have the right to personal use of the song, and not the right to "copy" of otherwise "distribute" it, which is what you're doing if you're adding music... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Alabama on
Q: I would like to self-publish a book-length criticism. Would my use of other sources fall under the terms of "Fair Use"?

I am in the process of completing what might best be referred to as a personal, book-length research paper. The work is a criticism of a particular field and its practices. As I am not an expert, I cite a significant amount of scientific literature, expert opinion from a wide variety of books, and... Read more »

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Jul 19, 2017

As you probably know, the fair use doctrine is not a black and white formula and its application involves a number of considerations. In general, though, it is an available defense against an infringement claim in works of criticism, as you have described your work.

A court will look at...
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3 Answers | Asked in Trademark for California on
Q: I'm a singer I want to apply for a trademark. I put upcoming local gigs on website is that interstate commerce?

Does the performance have to be out of state for it to be interstate commerce?

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Jul 11, 2017

Among other things, in order for a 'mark' to be trademark-able (or service mark-able), it must be in current use in interstate commerce. Anything on your website that promotes your 'mark' - whether or not your performances are in another state - is being used in interstate commerce, because the web... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property on
Q: Copyright Music: Can I register songs once as a "work of the performing arts" and then again as a "sound recording"?

I have composed and recorded about 15 songs. I am the sole creator and musician. I have copyrighted each song with the online copyright office. I registered them as "Works of the performing arts". So far, so good. But now I think I should have registered them as "Sound recordings" which protect... Read more »

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Jul 11, 2017

I advise songwriters to register their underlying compositions (on form PA) as soon as they are in a solid form, that is, with lyrics, chord changes and melodies. These songs may have been recorded as 'demo' versions. This way, you can circulate your music to others before you're ready to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark on
Q: Do I need to have a company to create a trademark in order to own it or can I do it just... myself?

And I don't understand if there's a difference between label and a trademark and in order to have my own "productions" which one do I need?

Mark A. Baker
Mark A. Baker answered on Jun 6, 2017

I assume you're referring to a record "label" and the productions that label produces. Here's the definition of trademark and service mark found at the Trademark Office: A trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from... Read more »

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