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California Copyright Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Probate for California on
Q: Can I inherit my father's patents?

Wallace Tessmer was my father.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on May 31, 2021

Yes you can

Check his will or trust

Make sure it went through probate

Check if the patents are still active

Consult with an attorney to understand your options

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Entertainment / Sports for California on
Q: What are my chances with an Incidental Fair Use Defense? and how much to Defend my rights?

I'm a journalist with a Youtube channel that covers local news at Venice Beach. I did a 30-minute story on the reopening of Venice Skate park and during the story, you can hear 60 seconds of incidental music playing in the background. I received a copyright notice from the music owner.... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on May 24, 2021

Based on the limited set of facts, this appears to be worth looking into. We are not allowed to seek business through the Q&A. You need to look someone up in the Justia Lawyer Directory. However, I would note that I work with LA County and Ventura County.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: posting in public a common law copyright notice, will a 2 witness affidavit of public notice suffice other than news ad?
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on May 14, 2021

Suffice, depends on your goal

In essence you own the copyright, registration gives you a title to it

Consult with an attorney

1 Answer | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law and Copyright for California on
Q: How do I get my name secured on all social platforms when I own the main domain for the name and do business as it?

I would like to get my own name as a social media account on the 2 remaining platforms where someone has created ghost accounts to hold the name and I am unable to clame it for myself.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on May 7, 2021

Unfortunately it is a first come first served basis so you may be out of luck.

Consult with an attorney to see if you have some options.

Maybe if you have a trademark registration you could use it to get some of the names back, but may not be an easy or cheap proposition.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Can I sell create and sell an audio book of a recently published book under the fair use of Copyright Act.

I sell my own original works on TeachersPayTeachers.com that teachers from all states buy (but I currently live in California).

My questions are the following:

1. Books on the current middle school grade level reading lists are published within the last 5 years or so. Am I allowed... Read more »

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales answered on May 5, 2021

What you are describing is clearly copyright infringement, and your proposed fair use defense would not fly. The author has a pretty far-reaching right to control and profit from clearly derivative works like a recording of their writings. The law governing this is the same throughout the US.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Does Hartwall have a patent for the striped design of their cans?

Hartwall Long Drink designs

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on May 2, 2021

I do not know, but it is almost guaranteed that any company that supplies its products around the globe would have some sort of a protection on its products. Please do not copy it for your line of beverages without checking with your intellectual property attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Patent stolen and manufactured in china.

In the current company(Los Angeles, CA) I work at, my manager is cheating the company by manufacturing in china.

We have built couple of products and got the patent for them. We built a prototype using the same technology but in different package. I was part of the design team for the... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 22, 2021

Many pieces of the puzzle are missing. Is the manager working with a different company? Who is selling it? Does your company know? There are many more facts needed to determine if something is wrong here. If you are serious about the inquiry it would probably be necessary to get a consultation from... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I have already asked this question. How do I use a person's name in a screenplay without asking for permission?

I need to mention this person in the screenplay I am writing. Can I change the name and use it?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 19, 2021

You have asked this same question on at least 7 postings on Justia. First, it is not Copyright. A private person's name is not copyrighted. So when you post over and over and over again in Copyright, the notices of your posting never go to attorneys handling claims of defamation, which is... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I think it would be fun to mirror-write the saccharine babysitters club series so that it's about a witch/vampire club.

I think it would be fun to mirror-write the saccharine babysitters club series so that it's about a witch/vampire club instead. This would mean different characters, genders, and a different genre, but the writing structure would be mirrored. For example, the original says:

Need a... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 19, 2021

You need to confer with a local copyright attorney.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Can I use a real person's name in a screenplay without their permission?

I am writing a biographical screenplay about my mother. Her first husband, not my dad, cheated on her. That's why she divorced him. She met, and married, my father later.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 19, 2021

Not a Copyright issue, it is a Libel issue. If you name him and get the facts wrong, you may be looking at libel litigation.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Defendant’s Late Filing of Answer to Complaint in California

Defendant did not respond to my Complaint within 21 days. As my Default Application was still pending, the court accepted Defendant’s Answer 60 days after the time to respond. Defendant did request an extension, however, it was filed after the 21-day time to respond. Is this appropriate procedure?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 19, 2021

In State Court There is a difference between a Default and a Default Judgment. First you file a request for entry of default. If there is no answer on file, the Clerk enters a default. After you have this entered you submit a packet for entry of default judgment with your evidence proving up the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Civil Litigation for California on
Q: Ex-parte communication - filed by Defendant

Is it improper, a violation of statutes/ethics for a Defendant to submit a 80-page confidential memorandum to the Court on my case prior to filing of my Complaint? I learned of it by a public records request. The memorandum makes many false claims and certainly has the appearance of prejudicing... Read more »

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 18, 2021

AZ or CA? You posted in CA. Here I cannot even conceive of a way they could file something in a Civil action before you file a complaint. How would they have the case number? There is a procedure for them to file a sealed document that must be followed first.

Justia disclaimers below,...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Can I use my mother's first husband's name in my screenplay without getting his permission?

"I am writing a biographical screenplay about my mother, Rosemary Rogers. She was a famous romance novelist.": I mention her first husband, by name. He cheated on her. That is why she divorced him. Can I use his name?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Mar 18, 2021

Not a Copyright issue, it is a Libel issue. If you name him and get the facts wrong, you may be looking at libel litigation.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: Do I use/buy a trademark,copyright,or a patent to claim a username/name
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 16, 2021

All your answers are in the excellent tutorial material at uspto.gov and copyright.gov.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Can I use this?:

I am wondering if I can use this message. “This work is based upon real events. Certain events, dialogue and characters were created for the purposes of fictionalization.”

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Mar 11, 2021

you should be able

don't see any issue

always consult with an attorney

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Can I use my mother's ex-husband's name if he cheated on her? Stating this fact.
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 11, 2021

You have already done so. You have not spelled the name out, but "author's husband" should be a clear identification.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Using a person's name in a screenplay without asking for permission?

I have already asked this question. How do I use a person's name in a screenplay without asking for permission?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 10, 2021

You can do this by using the person's name and hoping that (1) the person never finds out or (2) finding out later that you did not need permission in the first place.

(This is simply a straightforward approach to the issue. It is not a flip answer.)

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I am writing a biographical screenplay about my mother, Rosemary Rogers. She was a famous romance novelist.

In my screenplay I am writing about her first husband. Not my father. Her fist husband cheated on her. That is why she divorced him. Her first husband was a man of fame in Sri Lanka. He was once known as 'the fastest man in Asia'. Can I use his name in my script? I need it.

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 9, 2021

The answer depends on many factors. The first, of course, is what you write about him. It is sounds like you would do more than simply mention his name. There are other points of interest. The legal issues include defamation, right of publicity, invasion of privacy to name a few. Whether your use... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: Hello, would this name violate a word trademark if the products are very different?

Hi,

I thought this would be a quick and easy question for someone here who wanted to help. Unfortunately, I'm not really in a financial situation to hire an attorney/lawyer.

I'd like to publish a book with the title "___ for Potato Heads" similar to one of those... Read more »

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on Mar 9, 2021

No, sorry, you'll likely cannot use "____ for Potato Heads" as a series title.

Why don't you do what the Beatles did when they wanted to record "Dr. Pepper Lonely Hearts Club Band"? Just work rework it from "___ for Potato Heads" to "__ for...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I need to know if I can use my mother's first husband's name in my screenplay without his permission.

I am writing a biographical screenplay about my mother. She was a famous romance novelist. She passed away in November, 2019. She divorced her first husband for cheating on her. Afterward she met my father. I have two half sisters and a full brother. My sister doesn’t want me to use her... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Mar 3, 2021

Writing about a living person can raise issues of defamation, right of publicity, and false light, among others. There are many ways to do it wrong and a few ways to do it right. Some details may just have to be left out. A more complete statement of facts and a careful analysis by an attorney... Read more »

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