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Copyright Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Missouri on
Q: Can I sell prints of photos of cars that I took while hired by a car dealership? Some could be labeled “artistic.”

I own a small two-person photography / videography business. One of my clients is a car dealership that has the brands Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche. I’ve taken photographs weekly for them for years and am looking to see if I can legally sell prints of these vehicles. I’m afraid... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 27, 2020

Interesting question. The situation you describe has copyright and trademark implications. Because the cars have insignias and other marks on them, in addition to their overall look, the trademark owners likely would not like the public to think they authorized you to take the photos. Similarly,... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Contracts, Consumer Law and Copyright on
Q: Is it legal for a company to apply explicit rules on a matter, with no official documents, just by announcing the event?

I was registered on a company's database (DB). At some point, the company got merged into another one, which asked us (the customers) whether we want to transfer our registry to the new DB. They gave a deadline to reply, and I did not reply in time. Later, when I realized what happened I tried... Read more »

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick answered on May 27, 2020

Since this appears to be happening in a strictly commercial setting IMO nothing you said in your lengthy question is unlawful in Florida--or in most if not all other states. Businesses that acquire customer lists from other businesses when the two businesses merge do not have to continue doing... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Virginia on
Q: if a member of Apple Music/Spotify puts music on a photo and shares it across apps is that illegal?

I'm making a photo-sharing app where users can add music to photos (if they're members of Apple Music or Spotify) and share these photos that have songs on them to other apps, would that be illegal? Since Apple Music/Spotify both own licenses to songs and users are paying for these services.

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 27, 2020

It mostly boils down to what are permitted uses of the music based on the licenses issued by Apple Music/Spotify. It would be important to check the Terms of Use/licenses granted to the members. The licenses may not extend to letting members add the licensed music to another application. Best... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Nevada on
Q: Who owns the intellectual property (photo), if a friend used my cell phone to take the photo of my property?

My friend used my cell phone to take a picture of my sound bowl and it came out beautiful. She he says the picture is his intellectual property. Although the cellphone used to take the picture and the sound bowl is mine. Who owns the photo?

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn answered on May 27, 2020

This is not a patent question so I will defer to an attorney in your state to give you a formal answer.

To get some background on copyright from a reliable source. Here is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions Page by the US Copyright Office....
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1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright, Products Liability and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Kentucky on
Q: I'm buying an app for my business from India. I am in the US and need to protect my investment. How do I best proceed?

The developer is in India and has the ready-made app that I need to run my business. Developer is offering to sell me a license to use the app since I do not have the money to buy the app outright. However, I am concerned about paying for use of the app only and end up in a situation where the app... Read more »

John Brian Hudak
John Brian Hudak answered on May 26, 2020

The advice you are asking for might be too complicated to answer on a message board here. And, if it is a major business decision it should be done with the proper due diligence.

A potential tactic that can be used is ask the person you are buying the license from if they have a standard...
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3 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Oregon on
Q: How do I get copyright of my photos?

I have a store on eBay and noticed that other sellers are using them without my permission and now I found a company using my photos .. its frustrating because I took the time, patience, and dedication to take each photo and for someone to just use them is not fair, I've tried contacting the... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 26, 2020

Without doing anything special, you already own the copyright in your photos. That being the case, you could proceed under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to notify the internet service provider where the photos are being displayed. Check the Terms of Use of the ISPs to follow the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Q: Use of Superhero Images - Marvel & DC

I have seen many games on the Play store and apple app store that use superhero images to make people guess the names of the characters.

Now my question: is this legal? Can people actually use superheroes in their apps? Does this come under fair use?

Any insight on this would be... Read more »

James D. Williams
James D. Williams answered on May 25, 2020

Comic characters/superheroes can contain both copyrights and trademarks. As such, there are two types of intellectual property rights associated with both.

You need a license for the copyrights associated with the actual images/drawings of the characters. You need a license for the...
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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Florida on
Q: I want to register domain like VRchatroom.com, am i infringing on trademark of VRchat.com as they own VRchat trademark
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 25, 2020

Yes. The word "room" is not the main part of their mark, "VRchat," from the POV of trademark protection.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: I can't find the Copyright owner does this mean it's fair to use?

I make short videos on YouTube about Classic Hollywood stars (1920's-1940's) and my videos are under fair use for educational purposes. I don't monetize from them. But, I had considered selling merchandise to make a small profit to donate to museums and historical societies that... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 24, 2020

Many interesting questions. Let's see if I can provide information concerning each.

First, just because you cannot find who owns the copyright in a work does not mean you can use it without permission. You may have to dig deeper to find out who owns the rights. One place you might...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright on
Q: Question about fair use with superheroes

I have seen many games on the Play store and apple Appstore that use superhero images to make people guess the names of the characters.

Now my question: is this legal? Can people actually use superheroes in their apps? Does this come under fair use?

Any insight on this would be... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 23, 2020

The superheros are probably being used under a license. You might want to check the Terms of Use on the other game's website to see what it is says about the use of the copyright and trademark protected characters. If the characters are not being used under license, then it is an infringing... Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Patents (Intellectual Property) for New Jersey on
Q: Where can I get a patent attorney?

I have students working on my product for their capstone project. It does not have copywriters yet. Do I need an attorney? Where can I find an affordable one in Cherry Hill NJ?

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 22, 2020

It is not clear from what you write whether you have need of a patent or a copyright attorney. In either case, having someone else work on the project could mean they end up with the IP rights. So before you go further, do find an IP attorney who can assess what has been done and what needs to be... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Entertainment / Sports for Virginia on
Q: Can I use an actual news broadcast for a fictional movie??

I’m writing a YouTube episodic and wanted to use a few actual news broadcasts in the promo trailer. The show is a work of entirely fiction just loosely based on real life. I would be using less than 30 seconds of each broadcast.

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 22, 2020

The news broadcast itself is protected by copyright. You would need to get the permission of the owner of the copyright in the broadcast. You may be able to negotiate a licensed use for your fictional work. Best to work through a copyright counsel.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: Can I put the text in my product, which is it is inspired by Joseph Campbell's hero's journey?

The product is an interactive story app that used the hero's journey template.

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 22, 2020

From your description as to what you want to do, it sounds like you would be creating a derivative work based on the copyright protected work. To do so without being liable for infringement, you would need a license from whomever now owns the rights in Mr. Campbell's works. That is not to... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright on
Q: I was wondering what happens if I remake a beat from a song and post it on YouTube, do I own the license?

If someone straight up copies my work and redistributes it as his own on YouTube, do I have the rights to take the video down?

Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on May 22, 2020

Yes you do. If you are the copyright owner of a work that is being infringed on YouTube, file a takedown request. If the work has actually generated significant views/listens and earned revenue from ads, you also have a claim for actual damages.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property on
Q: can eyes that are originally drawn but using an original shape be copyrighted .

for example anime eyes drawn by me and used in my animation created by me

Evelyn Suero
Evelyn Suero answered on May 21, 2020

If your sketches, drawings, and other artistic works are original works, then they are likely protected by copyright law. It is recommended, nonetheless, that you register your copyrights so that you can bring an infringement action in court in the event someone used the works without your... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Maryland on
Q: Can an artist rescind permission after giving it?

I'm working with a team of volunteers on an unpaid passion project. One of those volunteers did a lot of artwork for us and gave us permission to use it. Now, about 9 months later, he is telling us that he wants all his artwork taken out of the project and completely redone. This puts a... Read more »

Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey answered on May 20, 2020

You may have a problem. However consider the rights of co-authors as addressed here:

https://corporate.findlaw.com/intellectual-property/copyright-ownership-the-joint-authorship-doctrine.html

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I am currently working on a website that uses words richie rich in the domain name. Would that create a copyright issue?

It's a website to build a community and I'm not sure whether it'll generate a copyright issue or not.

Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey answered on May 20, 2020

Probably not, HOWEVER, it would be necessary to know more about the site.

Bill Hulsey

IP & Patent Lawyer

Nuclear Engineer (USN-SS); Member, National Society of Professional Engineers

Regional Economic Developer (M.A.Econ | CEcD*)

HULSEY, PC

A...
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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark on
Q: Can getting a furby printed on a blanket for none profit and none commercial reasons, one time, be seen as fair use?

I have already asked for permission from Hasbro but they said they can't as there's too many requests and they can't accept minor requests. I won't be making any profit off this and it's for none commercial use and will only be done once. seller is only profiting from... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 20, 2020

While what you propose is a copyright infringement, the likelihood of Hasbro going after you is low. Provided it is as you say, a one-off, not posted on social or other media, but simply made for your personal use, the de minimis effect would likely weigh in your favor as for Hasbro's... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Hawaii on
Q: Am I able to write a book to teach towards an industry certification without permission of the owning organization?

The certification is owned by CompTIA. I'd like to write it explicity for the Security+ exam (completely in my own words of course).

Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey answered on May 19, 2020

Usually, yes.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Business Formation and Business Law for Ohio on
Q: Creating a online program to help pass state testing. Can I use questions from the textbook in the program

Should I reword questions or cite sources or both ?

Joseph Jaap
Joseph Jaap answered on May 19, 2020

Test questions are subject to copyright. And the testing companies have enough money to go after infringers.

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