Copyright Questions & Answers

Q: I'm trying to file a trademark for "WORTHY". It will include clothing branding, audio recording and live shows/concerts.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Tennessee on
Answered on Jun 25, 2017

Did you receive an initial response from the USPTO (usually within about three months of your original application)? It can take a year to a year and a half before your trademark registration is completed.

I would encourage you to find out the status of the application you've already filed, before seeking an attorney to assist you file an application for the same trademark.

Reach out to 2-3 attorneys, who do free consultations, via the "find a lawyer" function at the top of...
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Q: If a non copyright song is used for the creation of a new song does that make the new song a derivative?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Florida on
Answered on Jun 24, 2017

There are a few issues raised by your question.

I'll ignore "non copyright version of the song" and address who owns the copyright in a song created by two or more people:

First, you should have a written agreement between you and the producer that expressly assigns the copyright interest to one or both of you. Ownership will be determined by that written agreement. Do not work with a producer or any co-creator without a written agreement. Determining ownership rights after...
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Q: Can a non trademarked character be remixed and sold for profit?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Florida on
Answered on Jun 23, 2017

This would be a copyright issue. The case is also fact-specific, meaning that without more information, it will be tough to speculate about whether infringement is likely. If you would like to assert a copyright, you will need to register it. Copyright registration is straightforward, and can likely be done yourself, although many people also choose to have a lawyer do it for them. Once registered, you should talk to an copyright attorney. Copyright law can provide for lawyer fees, so it's a...
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Q: Can I post a free Lord of the Rings themed game on the internet without infringing copyright?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Internet Law for Iowa on
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 exclusive rights to many of the elements of Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit) will depend on what exactly is included in the game that was borrowed from Tolkein's universe.

If you have a great...
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Q: Can I print Bob Ross on a shirt? I have a direct to garment Printer

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Indiana on
Answered on Jun 23, 2017

**Using Bob Ross's Paintings**

Bob Ross was born in 1942 and presumably began painting some time before hosting The Joy of Painting, which first went on the air in 1983. I'll assume you're talking about using paintings created on his famous show.

If Bob Ross's work was published after January 1, 1978, it receives the following terms of protection:

Individually authored works: Life of author + 70 years;

Joint works: Life of last surviving author + 70 years;...
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Q: Provisional patents

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents for California on
Answered on Jun 23, 2017

No, that is exactly the reason you file a provisional application - so that you can disclose your invention once the application was filed.

However, there are a few things to watch out for.

1. Make sure that your provisional application actually covers your invention. I have seen provisional applications that are merely cover more of an idea than an invention. The provisional application must actually describe your invention in a way that would enable someone else to actually...
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Q: Dear Representative, Do I need formal agreement to obtain permission to use content created by someone else online?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on Jun 22, 2017

A lawyer should negotiate and draft an IP license agreement for you. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AEesq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody,...
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Q: Can a Company trademark something created by and funded by a person even though they were in the process of doing so?

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Answered on Jun 22, 2017

What are the terms of the contract re: the IP in question? If silent, the performer may have the IP rights. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AEesq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts,...
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Q: I have some old posters advertising old bands who played at a local club here where I live. They are from the 1960s.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for North Carolina on
Answered on Jun 22, 2017

If you want to avoid any legal liability for copyright infringement, yes - you need permission to reproduce those posters. The printing company is probably not the party that needs to grant permission, unless they also created the posters. The artist who created the posters, assuming the artist is still the copyright owner, is the person or entity from which you need permission.

Additionally, if the bands or venues are still around or are monitoring for infringement of their...
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Q: i have a picture i got off the internet and newspaper same picture of president Obama and president elect donald trump

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Answered on Jun 21, 2017

It depends on how much the photo is changed and whether it's a permissible use, otherwise it may constitute copyright violation. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AEesq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, and DC in the following areas of law:...
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Q: What issues there may be live streaming my own personal audio commentary of a live sports event?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Answered on Jun 21, 2017

The following case may help in your research: N.B.A. v. Motorola Inc. d/b/a SportsTrax, 105 F.3d 841 (2d Cir. N.Y. 1997) (available at https://www.law.cornell.edu/copyright/cases/105_F3d_841.htm). I am not your attorney, do not warrant that this case represents the current state of the law, nor do I recommend that you rely on the statements therein without more research or consulting with your own attorney.

Motorola manufactured a paging device (SportsTrax) that supplied information on...
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Q: Hi, About Casino table game Patent number: D748736. How much would similar casino table game patent cost?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Gaming, Intellectual Property and Patents for Nevada on
Answered on Jun 20, 2017

Design patents applications preparation and filing run in the neighborhood of $1500 to $2000. Additionally, there is the cost of prosecution.

Good luck!
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Q: I made a spelling mistake in the title and cover of the 2 deposit copies. Do I need to register again to fix the errors?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Arizona on
Answered on Jun 19, 2017

You would need to consult with your own attorney to determine the best course of action. Your attorney will need to know more details about your application and any errors contained therein before advising you. But, for your information generally:

The U.S. Copyright Office has a procedure for corrections and amplifications for copyright registrations; applications for supplementary registration. See https://www.copyright.gov/title37/201/37cfr201-5.html. However, the fees for a...
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Q: What percentage of a photo has to be edited or rendered to make sure no copyright laws have been broken.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for New York on
Answered on Jun 19, 2017

"A 'derivative work' is work based upon one or more preexisting works. . . in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a 'derivative work.'"

The copyright owner has the exclusive right to prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work (also known as the "adaptation" right).

If you're going to re-use a...
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Q: I'm creating a software that uses magazines(ie. lifehacker) content, I'm planning to make money of it, is it legal?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Answered on Jun 16, 2017

Using the creative works (magazine content) of others is copyright infringement. If that work is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, you could be liable for up to $150,000 per work upon which you infringe. If that work is not registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, you could be liable for all of the profits you derived from exploiting that work, known as "actual damages."

If you use a copyright claimant's work without their permission, a number of things could happen, some...
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Q: I'm looking for the "Potty Rider" patent

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Patents for Colorado on
Answered on Jun 15, 2017

You can check the USPTO website. Be aware that the PTO may not list all pending patents.
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Q: Im thinking of starting a disney, marvel, harry potter and so on... themed escape room would that be ok ?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Business Formation for Nevada on
Answered on Jun 15, 2017

For the purposes of this answer, I am assuming that you mean a business that operates recreational escape rooms:

It would be wise to seek the permission and a license for this use from the owners of those intellectual property assets. If a customer were to think that your escape room were endorsed by the companies that own those assets, you'd almost certainly be liable for trademark infringement.
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Q: i have a idea for a video commercial in a specific industry can i copyright it before i pitch it to big companies?

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for New York on
Answered on Jun 14, 2017

The U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, provides that an original work of authorship automatically has statutory copyright from the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible medium of more than transitory duration. Copyright does not protect ideas, only the actual expression of the idea fixed in a tangible medium. Accordingly, I suggest that you commit your idea to a tangible form before approaching any company. If you disclose your idea to others, there is little that you can do to prevent...
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Q: If i find a funny video on instagram from famous person can i copy the video and post it on youtube and add adsense

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Arizona on
Answered on Jun 13, 2017

If you do not have written permission from the creator of the video, using it in the way you described would be copyright infringement. The copyright claimant could sue you. If they registered their work with the U.S. Copyright Office, they could be entitled to $700-$150,000 in damages, in addition to court costs and legal fees. If they did not register the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, they would likely be entitled to all revenue you made from Youtube's monetization of the work....
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Q: I'm writing a book. I need some examples to write in the book. People on FB gave me great ones. Can I use them?

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Alabama on
Answered on Jun 13, 2017

Copyright law will protect the expression of ideas, that is, the creative organization of words used to write the ideas, but not the underlying ideas themselves.

So, if you want to copying word-for-word from others, you must get their permission before using their work. If you want to write something yourself, based on the idea of what other people wrote, that is generally not copyright infringement. This is known as the idea/expression dichotomy in copyright law, and it may help you...
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