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California Copyright Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: My name is Koi and I am a photographer who has found Mix Unit, LLC selling merchandise with my photo.
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 14, 2019

Based on the limited facts provided, there seems to be a case of copyright infringement. There are many different approaches available. It would be helpful to know exactly what they were doing with your photo and how it is being sold. Other facts are also important. A review with an attorney can... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: What is the process for making an idea become panted?
Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Oct 5, 2019

All the information you seek will likely be found at www.USPTO.gov.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I’m looking to copyright a brand. I searched and there is currently a copyright for the same name already.

However, they are a bar/food copyright. I’m looking for a catering/clothing brand. How would this work?

Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on Sep 30, 2019

I think you are confusing copyright with a trademark, as what you are describing sounds much more like you are looking to trademark the name of of your brand. In such a case, registration applications are filed with the US Patent & Trademark Office for the mark you are intending to use and protect.... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: Graphic illustration for t-shirt.

Hello,

I'd like to create an illustrated image, print it on t-shirts and sell it online. This image would contain the name "Lambo" (slang for Lamborghini) and car that would look similar to Lamborghini sports car (without logo). So basically it would be a bit different.

So I'd like... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Sep 23, 2019

Many people say, "So basically it would be a bit different." Sometimes that is true. Other times it would simply be wishful thinking. Even so, the criterion is whether there is confusion as to whether you might be seen as falsely indicating a relationship with Lamborghini.

I do not know...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Hi! I´m an illustrator and i wanted to know if it is necessary to trademark my name and copyright my work or is it not?

I have heard that the copyright is automatic when I create my work and I would be using my name but I wanted to know if it is necessary to trademark it and copyright my work to have any protection or if it is enough to creeate it and use the symbol on the work without paying. Thanks

Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on Aug 5, 2019

By law, a Common Law copyright is created the moment you put your work into tangible form (i.e. once you create an actual work, beyond just the idea in your head). If you have a copyrighted work, you are authorized to sue for damages if someone uses that work without authorization, however with... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Is it fair use for a professor to show an historically based movie to a campus club then explain its inaccuracies.

Would it be more likely or less likely to qualify as a fair use, if a History Club, that is part of a nonprofit educational institution, were to show historically based movies to club members and to have a history professor comment on and critique the accuracies and inaccuracies of the historical... Read more »

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 23, 2019

In a book review, the writer quotes brief passages of the book as a basis for making a comment. The writer does not reproduce the whole book and than make a comment.

Your question gives the impression that you want to show the whole film and then have a professor comment on and critique...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Entertainment / Sports for California on
Q: I'm making an independent feature film and in the script I verbally reference work by other people.

Do I need to obtain clearance if the work is mentioned verbally and not actually seen on screen?. For example, if I have a line from a popular musical. Another example would be if I just mention a Television channel, like National Geographic?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 23, 2019

The copyright statute covers the form of expression in the work and not the ideas in it. Factual reference to an item is usually not infringement. However, it is difficult to tell what you mean by "verbally reference." Are you referring to the mention of a painting or are you repeating lyrics... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Products Liability and Copyright for California on
Q: Can I use online-posted scientific research in support of my new product sales?

Can I post other's online pictures and text from their scientific experiments to help sell my new products?

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

This is an open-ended question. In many cases using ideas from other publications is not copyright infringement. Using pictures and quotes could be. An interesting concept is that of getting permission from the author. This is not always difficult or expensive. Consulting an attorney could be a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: When if I had a brand name, and someone else is using it now. I can prove it.

I also had the same brand name for pod cast

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

What do you mean by "have a brand name?" If you have a product or service you provide under the brand name there might be an issue to consider. If you happen to have a name that you wrote down and nobody else knows about it there might not be anything protectable there. You can usually get better... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Will I have any copyright infringement?

Hi. I'm Alex. I will be brief. I develop a technology based on Artificial Intelligence which produces its own music in real time. The thing is that I teach MY system by using copyrighted music. Will I have any copyright infringement if I monetize the technology? Thanks.

Robert Philip Cogan
Robert Philip Cogan answered on Jul 18, 2019

As a generality, if you copy music and use it, it is copyright infringement whether or not you monetize it. There are exceptions for "fair use." However, those exceptions are much narrower than most copiers think they are.

Serious companies consider paying a license fee. Sometimes the cost...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
Q: How do I go about owning the trademark for "Girl Gang"? It seems to stand as abandoned. Thank you.

I want to trademark "Girl Gang" for a women's sports apparel company, I'm looking to start. It seems to stand as abandoned. What does that mean? Thank you.

Ahaji Kirk Amos
Ahaji Kirk Amos answered on Jun 10, 2019

You should apply for a trademark application.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Internet Law for California on
Q: The website"Getty Images"are selling graphic photographs of my 6yo great-aunt's death from 1951.

Getty Images claims to just be the host(although they are the ones licensing and selling the images) :University of Southern California"image library is the contributor and supposed rights manager.i would be grateful for your help in removing these painful and traumatic images removed as soon as... Read more »

Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on Jun 4, 2019

A good start would be having an attorney draft a simple but effective “cease and desist” letter, accompanied by a DMCA takedown notice to Getty Images. I would be happy to assist. Shoot me an email and we can discuss: jason@altviewlawgroup.com

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Copyright for California on
Q: Wrote code for client as a independent software developer, without a written contract. Is the code I wrote legally mine?

Work was done without any contract, client refused to pay. I removed the code I wrote and now am being threatened with a lawsuit. Since there was no contract, it looks as if the code is legally mine under copyright laws. Is this correct?

Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on Apr 17, 2019

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... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation, Business Law, Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: can I use companies trademarked logos on another brand listing that makes money?

this is a business selling on Amazon. we intend to use other brands logos like apple, for example, to sell our product more.

Thomas A. Grossman
Thomas A. Grossman answered on Feb 18, 2019

Only if you want to risk being sued by the other companies for Trademark Infringement.

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Copyright, Products Liability and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: I have an idea for a website/app, how do I protect it? —please see the description for the complete question. Thx!!

How do I protect my idea for a website/app? I don’t want to disclose too much about it—that’s the reason for my asking in the first place—I don’t want a copycat with more resources/startup money than me to steal my idea & make a fortune off of my concept.

The idea, without... Read more »

Frank Huerta Jr
Frank Huerta Jr answered on Feb 11, 2019

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.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: how to see if a design is patent able?
Griffin Klema
Griffin Klema answered on Jan 16, 2019

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!

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Will copyright be infringed in this scenario = My son lives in LA, want to open a Movie themed motel

Rooms have film related posters and memorabilia such as a Disney room, a horror room or a Star Wars/si fi room. The question concerns the use of retail available film items to make income as in room rental?

Michael

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Jan 2, 2019

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.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Entertainment / Sports, Intellectual Property and Trademark for California on
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.

The music is from two 1961 episodes of The Twilight Zone that were scored by composer Jerry Goldsmith. How would I go about getting the rights to use that music in a short film I am working on? Would this even be possible? Any idea of what it would cost? Thanks!

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq. answered on Jan 2, 2019

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... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Trademark for California on
Q: Hello i have a question What is the difference between copyright, patent, trademark? Wound i need to have all 3

I want to design a logo so would i need all 3

Trademark, copyright, patent

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on Dec 7, 2018

You'd just trademark it.

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2 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Can I create art with photos I took of horses on a private ranch without a model release?

The ranch owner refuses to sign the model release after a verbal agreement was struck prior to the shoot. He wishes to control which pictures I can use and when. He wishes to modify the model release after rejecting the initial release. I took the pictures with my camera. Do I own the copyrights... Read more »

Thomas A. Grossman
Thomas A. Grossman answered on Oct 28, 2018

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... Read more »

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