Brighton, CO asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Colorado

Q: I have a collection of Old Farmer's Almanacs from the mid to late 1800s and I'm interested in selling reproductions.

My concern is that even though they're in the public domain, they are still published today using the same basic format and design. Can I legally reproduce the old versions? The Farmers Almanac website acts is if they own all of them in perpetuity.

1 Lawyer Answer
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
Tristan Kenyon Schultz
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Fort Collins, CO
  • Licensed in Colorado

A: There are other intellectual property rights involved here. These include trademark, trade name, trade dress, and potentially general unfair competition claims. All of these claims have no expiration date in which they become public domain (a concept that only applies to copyrights and patents).

If you intend to create and sell reproductions you should contact (and pay for) an attorney to review the intended use. Also be aware that even if you ultimately have a legitimate use, an intellectual property lawsuit at the federal level costs tens of thousands of dollars to defend (with a low likelihood of a successful defender gaining attorney's fees). In short, proceed with caution and have a lawyer review your idea before you start selling anything.

Will Blackton agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.