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Questions Answered by Thomas James
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Gaming, Intellectual Property and Trademark on
Q: if I were to post videos online of a group playing a tabletop game based on copyright material could I be sued?

if I were to post videos on youtube of me and some friends playing tabletop RPG based around copyrighted material (pokemon) could I be sued for copyright infringement and could I monetize it without legal repercussions?

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Sep 26, 2022

This response is based on U.S. copyright law. Laws in other jurisdictions may be different.

While game rules are not protected by copyright, the manner in which they are expressed might be. Images (artwork, drawings, photographs, etc.) generally are protected by copyright. Names of games...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property on
Q: so someone has a clothing brand with a name that doesn't seem to be copyrighted.

if i were to register copyright over the name and start my own clothing brand with it, would i be violating any copyright or intellectual property rules?

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Apr 24, 2022

A name isn't protected by copyright, but it might be protected as a trademark. In the U.S., an unregistered trademark is enforceable as a "common law" trademark. You run a high risk of trademark infringement liability if you use another company's brand for the same kinds of products or services.

1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for New Jersey on
Q: Why is my trademark cancelled?
Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Feb 21, 2022

In the United States, cancellation could happen for a variety of reasons. The most common ones are (1) Failure to renew it; (2) Failure to file an statement of use after filing an intent-to-use application; (3) Non-use at the time of the application (where the application was based on an existing... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Texas on
Q: I'm writing a book on covid, I'm including quotes from various doctors and medical journals, is this fair use?

I'm taking quotes from various TV interviews of Drs, medical studies and journals, and news articles ranging from topics on the vaccine to lockdowns, to masks, and treatment. I'm also commenting on the quotes while also adding criticism in some parts. I want to self publish the book for... Read more »

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Feb 11, 2022

Under U.S. fair use doctrine, a limited portion of a work may be quoted for purposes of criticism, commentary, news reporting, or academic writing. There is no bright-line test for determining the amount that may be quoted. It depends on consideration of several factors.

Note that the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Florida on
Q: Is it legal to copy copyrighted text from an email to a txt for personal use? Is it also legal to copy the txt to a USB?

Note that this is assuming the email was obtained legally.

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Feb 1, 2022

If, as you say, it is copyrighted material that you are copying, then copying it could be infringement even if no distribution occurs and even if no commercial use is made of it. It would not be infringement, however, if the portion copied is not protected by copyright. For example, if the only... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for Florida on
Q: Can you trademark a name under a category U don’t sell in order to stop someone else from using the name for that good

I sell skincare. She sells weight loss tea. She trademarked a name that is similar to mine. I am first in use with sales in skincare. She is first in use with a category that she didn’t even register under the trademark and has no proof anywhere that she intends to sell in my category. She is... Read more »

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Jan 16, 2022

The Trademark Modernization Act (TM Act) went into effect December 27, 2021. Under it, anyone can file a petition to expunge or reexamine a registration on the grounds that the mark was not actually in use at the time the registration was issued. I wrote an article about it here:... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Q: Is it legal to have a 15 second long audio clip from a movie or a series in your song? Or can you get copyright claimed?
Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Jan 3, 2022

Generally, you will need permission from the copyright owner to use a portion of their work. You have probably heard about "fair use." Contrary to popular belief, though, there is no bright-line test for how much of a recording is fair use. Courts weigh four different factors to make an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: If a book has entered public domain, do the original publishers still retain copyright on their first book production?

Or can an exact copy of the first book (same cover, design, formatting etc) be made and used commercially?

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Dec 27, 2021

No element that is in the public domain is protected by copyright. Be aware, however, that the copyrights in different elements might have different owners and different durations.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Arizona on
Q: My competitor offers a similar service and uses a very similar domain name. Is this a trademark infringement?

For the past month I have been developing my SaaS product, and on the first day I purchased a domain name. Let's say that the domain is Service.ai.

I was doing competitor research the other day and I found that someone has launched a very similar service on their domain Servicing.ai.... Read more »

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Dec 15, 2021

In the U.S., trademarks arise through "use in commerce." "Commerce" means an actual commercial sale, lease or similar transaction involving a product or service. Reserving a domain name is important, but it isn't enough, by itself, to establish a trademark right. If the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Florida on
Q: I want to start an animal rescue. How do I trademark the name or copyright it so no one else can use it?

Don't want to get sued if someone else uses the name either.

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Nov 14, 2021

A trademark is what you are looking for. In the United States, they are established through use in commerce ("common law trademark.") To protect your rights in it, though, you should register it. Trademarks can be registered with a state or a federal government office. Federal... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright on
Q: Is the name "New York Stock Exchange" copyrighted?
Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Nov 13, 2021

Names do not get copyright protection. With names, the bigger concerns are trademark and unfair competition laws.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Iowa on
Q: I am interested in using words, short phrases or sentences from lyrics or movie quotes to make signs, tshirts, etc

Is this legal for retail?

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Nov 13, 2021

While words and short phrases do not receive copyright protection, they are potentially protected as trademarks.

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2 Answers | Asked in Trademark for Illinois on
Q: My brand has two name and a couple of images that represent the brand . How do I file a series
Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Nov 12, 2021

The U.K. and some other countries allow a single registration for a series of trademarks. In the U.S., distinctively different words or images are registered individually.

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1 Answer | Asked in Trademark for Texas on
Q: how to re aquire my trademark . it status is abandoned. als0 no statement of use
Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Nov 3, 2021

If abandonment was due to unintentional delay in filing a statement of use or responding to an office action, you may file a petition to revive the abandoned application. If it was due to USPTO error, you can file a petition for reinstatement. In either case, the petition must be received in the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Law, Consumer Law, Copyright and Internet Law for Washington on
Q: Is it legal to build software that crawls the public Reddit posts of someone and derives statistics/patterns from it?

Basic idea: while browsing online, people come across others that appeal to them in some way (insightful post, match in interests, etc). Normally, a long process of scanning through their content is then needed, to see if they match enough to be worth further effort.

My idea is to create... Read more »

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Nov 3, 2021

As long as it is all public information, I don't see a privacy problem. Depending on the circumstances, "guessed relationship status" might possibly raise a legal issue if the guess is incorrect. Apart from privacy, there might be a patent infringement claim if someone else has... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property on
Q: After paying to access academic research, am I free to reference the data (w/ citation) in my own publications?

A lot of academic journals, articles, etc. are only available to read behind paywalls. If I am looking to reference data, experiments, research, etc. from these resources in a digital publication can I do so freely? Moreover, can I/my organization still claim copyright/IP over the new publication?... Read more »

Thomas James
Thomas James
answered on Oct 17, 2021

If it is strictly information that you would be passing along (as distinguished from copying the expression of it), then you wouldn't have a copyright problem. You might, however, have a breach of contract problem if your use of the website or the information published there violates the... Read more »

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