Asked in Intellectual Property for Massachusetts

Q: Is recycling damaged books, comic books and manga into household items copyright infringement if they're sold?

Hi, I'm curious if I re-purpose damaged comic books, manga books and books in general into household use items and sell them if it is intellectual property and/or copyright infringement? Would this be considered fair use of the original item or transformative use of the items since I am taking only pieces of the original work that I purchased (albeit used) and transforming it into something new? Specifically if I do not reference the superhero/character and just generally market them as "book page" "Manga/Anime" or "Superhero" would this be infringement?

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers

A: It sounds like you have done some homework on this issue, which is great! It could be a transformative use. However, it really depends on how much you change the original copyrighted work into a new work. As for your second question about marketing your products, that is a separate issue that gets into trademark more than copyright. Specifically referencing certain superhero character names, publishers, or utilizing logos may lead to potential trademark infringement or dilution concerns. What you really should consider getting is a freedom to operate opinion from a lawyer experienced in both copyright and trademark law. Good luck!

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Licensed in Massachusetts

A: The key issues would be how creative your use is, how integral and important the copyrighted work is to your final product, and how recognizable the copyrighted work is after your product is fully created. You also want to make sure you're not using any trademarked names or logos in your ads. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AliEsq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, WA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

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.