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California Copyright Questions & Answers
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 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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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Hi...I copy, paste, crop and resize clipart from the internet and use them to form a different image. Can I sell them.
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 19, 2020

Best to read the Terms of Use for each source of the clip art to see what are approved licensed uses. Your activity may be approved, but you would want to copy out and keep such authorization materials. Also, under the defense of "fair use" against copyright infringement, if what you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: Semi-famous relative passed away.

While family was occupied with final arrangements/grieving, a third party filed for licensing to the name and image my relative went to extreme lengths to protect in life. So now essentially this person owns my relative. The family does not have the financial resources for a court battle. We simply... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 18, 2020

My understanding is that California has strong laws that protect the Right of Publicity (right to exploit one's fame for famous people) and Right to Privacy. It would be good to get advise from a California attorney familiar with these 2 torts. The laws may allow you to collect... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Civil Rights and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: A none-profit organization is selling my family’s picture from the events including the minors without our permission.

What is the case that we can file against them?

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 15, 2020

It sounds like a question of whether the organization is violating your right of privacy. Check to see whether you were given notice of their intention before you attended the event so that it could be said you consented to their use by participating in the event. Look closely at the invitation... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: Trademarking a name that is already trademarked. Same industry or not?

I'm looking to trademark a business name (call it "FishExample"). FishExample is currently trademarked for "furniture to store fishing supplies and goods". My FishExample business will be an online community/resource for fishermen (unrelated to furniture, but tied into... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 15, 2020

As usual with so much in the law, the answer is, "It depends." A trademark owner acquires rights in their mark, whether for goods or service, by using it in ways that convey to consumers that there is a particular source offering the goods/services. From what you write, it is not clear... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Am I allowed to use a verbally spoken speech or spoken poetry in my music?

I'm currently working on a soundtrack and considering using a verbally spoken speech.

Evelyn Suero
Evelyn Suero answered on May 12, 2020

If the speech or poetry does not belong to you, then you will need to obtain permission/license from the copyright owner in order to incorporate this intellectual property into your soundtrack.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Is a tv clip already public domain if it was first made in 2005?
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 8, 2020

The answer to your question is "no." The exclusive rights in copyright last the life of the author (creator of the work) plus 70 years, and in the case of a company the rights last 95 years from publication.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Is it legal to make a cartoon newscast to give NFL reporting if the newscasters are original cartoons of NFL logos?

Would I be infringing on the NFLs Copyright ? It would clearly be a parody but the cartoons are heavily inspired by NFL logos as they are super fans of each team .

Bill Hulsey
Bill Hulsey answered on May 1, 2020

No

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: In 2017, I posted a Tweet that is now featured on a Netflix documentary without my consent. Can I be awarded?

My name is visible, as my Twitter handle.

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on May 1, 2020

It depends on how the tweet was used, but more than likely, there is no recourse for damages.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: Hello My friends and I are making a Star Wars products review video would it be considered under fair use? Thank you

We’re worried that because Disney is so strict with their brand that they’ll take down our videos if their logo is showing anywhere on the screen. This is for YouTube we are only reviewing our personally owned products.

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Apr 21, 2020

Keep in mind that "fair use" is a defense to infringement. And yes, you're correct that Disney is very litigious, but reviews and commentary are protected under the statute.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: My boyfriend was removed by CPS recently. I am asking him to take down previous music video with me in it dancing.

Since he never paid me and I edited the video myself, do I have the copyrights of my own image?

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Apr 19, 2020

Yes

You do

unless there is an agreement that you gave him your rights, you still have them

3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Contracts and Copyright for California on
Q: Would I be liable for manufacturing the packaging for knockoffs items?

Hello, I own a packaging company located in California. We have a client who just put in a very large order for custom boxes for his vape pen/CBD products.

Turns out he's importing generic vape cartridges and CBD products, putting them in nice packaging with known brand names, and... Read more »

George W. Wolff Esq.
George W. Wolff Esq. answered on Apr 18, 2020

What exactly are you doing for him?

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2 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law and Copyright for California on
Q: What legal action can I take against a university that has stolen my camp idea and now created a near identical camp?

Nearly 13 years ago I created my first debate camp for homeschool kids at a private university in California, but recently forced to move locations two years ago because I was told campus space was no longer available (My brand is separate we simply rented space there). So you can imagine my... Read more »

Scott Richard Kaufman
Scott Richard Kaufman answered on Apr 18, 2020

Depending on what your underlying agreement with them said and how much advantage they actually took, like staff members, mailing lists, etc., you may have some leverage to go after them. Seems like this summer that's not gonna happen anyhow, so, in a way, this break is a blessing for you in... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: Will there be any conflict with me using the name "Lord Farquaad" for my Twitch channel?

I will be using this name to represent myself in front of an audience and may create logos with this name tied along. I will not be using the actual Dreamworks character in the branding. Thank you for answering.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Apr 16, 2020

Very possible.

It will be up to the owner of the character to do anything about it.

You should consult with an attorney.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: My wife has started a YT channel with her readings, in Russian, of classic Russian literature, available free.

Current recordings are from one to 30 minutes each; future recordings may be one or more hours.

Most for children, some for adults.

Poems, fables, stories by authors such as Pushkin, Tolstoy and others.

All source material is 70+ years old, in public domain. ~30 recordings... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on Apr 16, 2020

You have raised a very interesting set of question, which contains several copyright related issues to be considered. While the underlying literary works may be outside of copyright protection, your wife's recordings are derivative of those works and it seems would have their own level of... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Business Law, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: If one starts a website that lists doctors, can you use a headshot & bio from the doctors website without permission?

This would be just a directory of doctors and their business information found on their website.

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Apr 14, 2020

You are in risky territory

Besides having a consultation with an attorney, you should consider having an engagement plan with the doctors so you can remove them and change information.

www.legalbizglobal.com

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Gov & Administrative Law, Intellectual Property and Internet Law for California on
Q: Does my employer have rights to the teaching materials I have prepared at home on my own computer and on my own time?

I am an adjunct lecturer at a university in California. My employment status is part time and varies from quarter to quarter. I have evidence that all my teaching materials including lectures, power point slides, quizzes, exams, etc. are readily available for download from a University server.

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Mar 25, 2020

Unfortunately, they might because the materials were created during the scope and course of employment for the purpose why you were hired. You may want to check your employment agreement if you have one because ther usually is a clause regarding the ownership of intellectual property.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Can I print and sell a shirt if it's in public domain?

Hi. "Phantom of the Opera", the classic 1925 silent film is in the public domain. Does this mean I can legally print a t-shirt with the Phantom's face on it? I don't want to be sued by Lon Chaney's family for infringement. Can I use this image as long as it doesn't... Read more »

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Mar 12, 2020

Keep in mind that while a work may no longer be protected by Copyright that doesn’t mean it’s not protected by trademark if the brand is still being used. Also, while the 1925 film may be in the public domain other derivative works like the Broadway musical may not be.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Do I need to reply to a cease and desist email if I am no longer selling the product.

All products in question were removed from my webstore. And a credit was issued by my manufacturer. They claim that the product itself is not in violation just some of the designs

John Francis Nicholson
John Francis Nicholson answered on Mar 5, 2020

You may want to send a brief reply putting the email sender on notice that there is nothing there-there to pursue. If you do not reply they may get more aggressive based upon misinformation which may cause you problems and further involvement that you do not need. If you provide them the... Read more »

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