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Iowa Copyright Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Iowa on
Q: Is it legal to use Marvel characters on a poster - and sell them?

Given the Marvel cinematic universe, I would create a comic book-style poster in both cinematic and chronological order. The posters would have the characters, quotes, and small details that can be seen in the movies - such as 'I am Iron Man', or the New Asgard town sign. The art style... View More

Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
answered on Aug 8, 2023

This product is likely to be found infringing of Marvel's copyrights as well as trademarks. The characters are all protected by copyright, and most of them are trademarks as well. Compiling several of them adds fuel to the fire and shows predatory intent which could subject you to punitive damages.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Iowa on
Q: Opening a quilting business, and I want to sell basic patterns, how would I check if it is too similar to a ©️ pattern

I intend to start a retail quilting/diy store; if I base a design off of an idea that I’ve seen (Pinterest, family quilts, magazines, in-store etc) if I made something that was similar, but I didn’t follow their directions, (or theoretically, if I did) could I be infringing on copyrights of... View More

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
answered on Dec 17, 2022

It is important to understand copyright laws when it comes to selling quilting patterns. While certain elements of copyrightable subject matter may be used without infringing upon existing copyright protection, the substantial similarity of a design can create copyright infringement issues. If a... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Gaming and Copyright for Iowa on
Q: Can I rip a Nintendo game, turn it into a file, and use it for personal use, don’t plan on sharing it with anyone?
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
answered on Jan 25, 2022

Thanks to the "first sale doctrine" in copyright law, you may make additional copies of the work for your own use so long as you do not distribute or sell them to others. The transformative copy you propose would also be permitted, with the same limitation on distribution or sale to others.

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?

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
answered on Nov 13, 2021


You need to consult with an attorney to understand your risks.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Communications Law and Trademark for Iowa on
Q: I have an idea for how to reboot a show. How much of the original can I use in my rewrite?

I want to pitch it to the copywrite owner. I want to use character names, places, descriptions etc.

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
answered on May 18, 2020

You are going to need to have permission from the copyright owner to make your derivative work. You may want to work through an attorney who could act as intermediary between you and the copyright owner to pitch your concept. The attorney would be in a good position to figure out with you the... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Iowa on
Q: We have an illustration paired with the words, "In loving memory" copyrighted are we still vulnerable for a lawsuit?

We had this package copyrighted before 2010. It was a disk containing some works with phrases paired to them. Everything on the disk was copyrighted. The phrase, "In loving memory", was trademaked recently and they are trying to sue us for selling our copyrighted works.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
answered on Feb 6, 2019

To do a proper assessment we would need to look at what is being sold, in what format, etc.

A trademark protects the use of words for specific products or services. The key test is whether a person would be confused and think the product you are selling comes from the affected party....
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Internet Law for Iowa on
Q: Can I post a free Lord of the Rings themed game on the internet without infringing copyright?

I invented a game that me and my friends play. It is an Lord of the Rings themed game that mostly merely uses LOTR races (i.e. Ents, Hobbits, etc.). Can I post it on the internet totally free without violating copyright.

Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Jun 23, 2017

While I am a big fan of Tolkein and gaming, I don't think posting your game online is wise without talking to an attorney first. Whether you potentially infringe on any copyright or trademark interest that Middle-earth Enterprises a/k/a The Saul Zaetz Company (which seems to own the worldwide... View More

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Iowa on
Q: If a copyright for a product isn't listed on the .gov website is it still in effect.

The company is defunct and has been for 19 years. All of their other products are listed at but not the one I am looking for. Is that copyright still in effect?

Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens
answered on May 23, 2016

Just because they did not file a copyright does not mean it is not copyrighted. Since about 1989, everything copyrightable became copyrighted once it was created (its a little more technical than that in reality), even if not registered. Registration simply gives you additional rights. I would see... View More

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