California Copyright Questions & Answers

Q: Wrote code for client as a independent software developer, without a written contract. Is the code I wrote legally mine?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Copyright for California on
Answered on Apr 17, 2019
Jason Brooks' answer
Absent a written agreement or other express understanding that the developer would be the owner of the code upon its creation (i.e. some type of work-for-hire language) then you have a good basis for claiming that ownership in the code never exchanged hands because you have not been compensated for your services. Therefore you are within your rights to deny them further use of your copyrighted material unless and until payment is rendered. With that said, to the extend that the code includes...

Q: can I use companies trademarked logos on another brand listing that makes money?

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law, Copyright and Trademark for California on
Answered on Feb 18, 2019
Thomas A. Grossman's answer
Only if you want to risk being sued by the other companies for Trademark Infringement.

Q: I have an idea for a website/app, how do I protect it? —please see the description for the complete question. Thx!!

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Copyright, Products Liability and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Feb 11, 2019
Frank Huerta Jr's answer
I suggest you have an attorney draft a non-disclosure agreement for you. However if you are pitching it to an investor, some may balk at the idea of signing it.

Q: how to see if a design is patent able?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Jan 16, 2019
Griffin Klema's answer
Hire an attorney to conduct a prior art search and provide an opinion about whether your design is patentably distinct over the prior art. I recommend you budget about $2,000 for this work. Good luck!

Q: Will copyright be infringed in this scenario = My son lives in LA, want to open a Movie themed motel

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
Commercial use of copyrighted images qualifies as an IP violation, and thus a license would be needed from the copyright owner for such use. 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...

Q: Want to get the rights to use music from an old TV show in a short film I am making. I believe it's owned by CBS.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Jan 2, 2019
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.'s answer
To use copyrighted material, one would need to find out who owns the copyright and contact them for a license. But you'd also need to determine whether your use qualifies as "fair use". 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...

Q: Can I create art with photos I took of horses on a private ranch without a model release?

2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Oct 28, 2018
Thomas A. Grossman's answer
Your first mistake was in relying on a "verbal agreement." Verbal agreements are nearly impossible to prove. I have not seen the agreement proposed by the ranch owner, but you should have a short, professional agreement in your file, containing various releases. I handled many cases for various models and body builders, but in each case the subject of the photo was a human. Don't hold me to this, but I don't think you need a release I order to sell your photos unless you have trespassed on...

Q: What does California's "ARTICLE 3.5. Inventions Made by an Employee" protect?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Oct 23, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
Well, you are going to have to talk to a California employment attorney to get the best answer. I am not a California attorney, nor an employment attorney, but here are a few points.

(1) You are correct that the trademarks, logos, brand names, sales copies, and like, are likely not considered "inventions". However, the California Law does not limit inventions only to _patentable_ inventions, so I would expect California to interpret the word "invention" a bit more broadly than the US...

Q: How would I go about obtaining ownership of this trademark?

2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts, Copyright and Gaming for California on
Answered on Sep 19, 2018
Timur Akpinar's answer
If you're looking for input from a trademark attorney, the question might be more likely to be picked up by posting it in the Trademark section.

Q: I am the Assistant Dean of Truth & Mercy Institute for Advanced Ministry Studies in Yermo, CA. We are a small Bible

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on Sep 1, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
I don’t think that this will be possible. You could copy older versions of the Bible (e.g., KJV, RV, ASV), but I suspect that your students already have those. Copying a concordance indexed to one of these Bibles may possibly be OK as well, but not anything more.

Your choices are either to license the books or write your own material.

Q: Does it violate the copyright if I sell my own solution in an ecommerce platform? The Unofficial title is on the cover

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Aug 30, 2018
Peter D. Mlynek's answer
If you see somebody launch an e-commerce service, and you say, hey, that's a great idea, I'll think that I'll launch a competing e-commerce, then you are correct to worry about intellectual property.

If you write a code that solves a technical problem in a different way, and the interface is not similar then there likely won't be problems with copyrights. If it solves it in a sufficiently different way, then there should not be a problem with patents either. And if you won't refer to...

Q: Is it possible to patent the concept of a (Latin/Christian) cross being a zipper puller? Has it been done?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on Jul 11, 2018
Camille Brooks Ibrahim's answer
Custom zippers can be patented as far as religious symbols it depends on a few factors.

Q: If I register a trademark and that name is already used in a domain (but not trademarked yet) can I get that domain?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property, Trademark and Internet Law for California on
Answered on Jul 5, 2018
Camille Brooks Ibrahim's answer
It depends if the party in whom has a domain for it has trademarked a name similar or the exact same.

Q: Making money from video games in public places.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Gaming, Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Answered on Jun 24, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
The owners of the legal rights of those games would probably not take kindly to you infringing on those rights and profiting from it. Their rights are enforceable internationally. Your best bet is to reach out to the owners and ask for permission to do this.

Q: I had my dog stolen off of my property, when I was not home.

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Copyright, Criminal Law and Animal / Dog Law for California on
Answered on Jun 6, 2018
Dale S. Gribow's answer
call the police.

my first trial 40 years ago was a dognapping. i have never heard of one since but the thief should be caught and prosecuted.

Q: I wrote a book. In it, characters say “it’s a trap” & “ i’ve got a bad feeling about this “. Is this infringing

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on Jun 4, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Those are both examples of general statements that are not unique to those characters or to the work in question. Now if your characters had similar names to the other characters or other similarities then there might be copyright infringement.

Q: Do I need licensing for printing and selling t-shirts that have a celeb's name, a phrase related to him, or his lyrics?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on May 31, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
Yes, here is a helpful resource that addresses your question:

https://www.thelaw.com/law/are-song-titles-lyrics-protected-by-copyright-or-trademark-law.317/

As far as who to ask for a license to the rights, it would be the music publisher of the song.

Q: I have a canvas thats 40" by 60" of a copyrighted photo. It is a un-official photo from what I can find.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on May 30, 2018
John Espinosa's answer
It all depends on the circumstances of the sale in which you received the print. If it was from the photographer or a legitimate reseller, then you may be able to re-sell it. This is because of the first sale doctrine.

Typically, the first sale doctrine will come into play in these types of questions: an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy,...

Q: I have questions regarding the jack g ohringer patents

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Answered on May 20, 2018
Kevin E. Flynn's answer
There are only two in the Google Patent system for that name but sometimes folks use a formal legal name when filing legal documents.

Here is a link to the two that show up as Jack

https://patents.google.com/?inventor=jack+g+ohringer&oq=jack+g+ohringer+

It is not clear what your question is.

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