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California Copyright Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I want to learn about dictionaries copyrights.

I want to learn about dictionaries copyrights. I would like to publish an English learning book and this book will contain some words with their definitions. Is it okay to take the word definitions directly from dictionaries?

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 21, 2020

I am not an intellectual property specialist, however, the material in a dictionary is not in the public domain, and my suggestion is do not copy the entry without written permission from the publisher.

Justia disclaimers below, incorporated herein.

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1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law and Copyright for California on
Q: What is the best way to protect an idea for an invention
John Brian Hudak
John Brian Hudak answered on Jul 18, 2020

Consider consulting with a patent attorney to determine if your idea/invention can obtain patent protection.

This answer includes generalizations and there are many caveats. This answer does not form an attorney client relationship. Consider hiring an attorney to analyze the specific facts...
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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for California on
Q: Is this brand and logo available to trademark under a new owner?

I would like to copyright or trademark it if available.

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Jul 15, 2020

We can't see what brand you're referring to. You should contact an IP attorney to help you protect your ideas. Feel free to call me if I can be of assistance.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: The little prince is a public domain now, does that mean anyone can use the characters for commercial use in USA?

I would like to use The little prince characters for commercial use such as mugs, shirts, puzzles etc.. nor sure if it is legally allowed.

Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II answered on Jul 9, 2020

A wonderful book. However, you better check again whether the IMAGES are in the public domain. A cursory search that I did said maybe not until 2045! A good Copyright/ Trademark attorney will advise you properly and help you to protect your investment. You would not want to spend a lot of money... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: if I want to make a facebook group for auctioning off rock memorabilia can I call is Rockabilia?
William Scott Goldman
William Scott Goldman answered on Jul 8, 2020

While that's a catchy name, to be absolutely certain I'd recommend having a thorough USPTO search conducted at the very least to make sure the name isn't in conflict with any pre-existing trademark registration(s) or application(s) for related services. And then you may consider... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: Is it legal to use an Italian regional flag or coat of arms as my unregistered company logo?

If the logo is used on videos and media work to represent concerts for example.

William Scott Goldman
William Scott Goldman answered on Jul 6, 2020

While flags, coats of arms, and such are not eligible for federal TM registration in the U.S., unless modified under certain conditions, use as an unregistered logo may be acceptable as long as you're not infringing on something identical or similar that's already in use for related... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Insurance Bad Faith, Intellectual Property and Land Use & Zoning for California on
Q: Question, if this property belongs to the Indian reservation and the individual took it out unauthorized with a deed,

It would be considered fraud or no?

John Brian Hudak
John Brian Hudak answered on Jul 1, 2020

Consider contacting a local pro bono attorney group related to the issue. The specific facts would need to be reviewed to understand what happened and any possible wrongdoing.

This answer includes generalizations and there are many caveats. This answer does not form an attorney client...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: when an artist (painter in this case) sells his original painting to a collector, does the collector now have copyright

to the painting or other works of art? what rights does the collector have and what tpabout the artist?

William Scott Goldman
William Scott Goldman answered on Jun 30, 2020

Under the first sale doctrine, the buyer has the right of re-sale, display, distribution, etc. However, unless it was created as a work made for hire, or as a commissioned work with assignment of copyright, the original copyright will remain with the artist.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: does any museum own copyright of artwork created by an artist who died in 1910? the museum owns the artwork.

in other words, is the artwork now in the public domain? I am asking about a painting at the National Gallery of Art.

James D. Williams
James D. Williams answered on Jun 29, 2020

The National Gallery actually has a dedicated list of works in the public domain.

https://images.nga.gov/en/page/show_home_page.html

Generally speaking works older than 1934 are likely in the public domain at this point.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for California on
Q: 6340334 patentIs there anyway to check if products out today are anything close to our patent?

I did see a couple manufactures last year that make portable boxing rings, don’t know if that would be close to our design? Maybe just improved idea??

Let me know if you have any interest

Thanks

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn answered on Jun 19, 2020

Jeff,

Google Patents notes that your patent expired in 2006 for failure to pay a maintenance fee. You may want to discuss this with your patent attorney. There are ways to pay for an unintentional failure to pay a maintenance fee to revive a patent that lapsed for failure to pay the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for California on
Q: Is it illegal to name a eyeshadow palette after a copyright song ?
Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales answered on Jun 16, 2020

The title of a song is not something that can have copyright protection, in and of itself. It is too short.

You should perform trademark searches, however, both state and federal, to make sure no one else is using the same or a similar phrase as a trademark for cosmetics.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and International Law for California on
Q: I'm an American but live overseas. I've been threatened with a copyright lawsuit from an Attorney in the USA.

Would they have to serve me here in Germany to proceed, and would I have to go to the States to respond? I have a U.S. business mailing address but am a legal resident of Germany.

The second part of the question is that through my research their 'client' might not actually own the... Read more »

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Jun 15, 2020

This can be complicated.

In theory they can serve you and you should answer the lawsuit.

You could claim no jurisdiction if you live and work and the infringement happened as result of your actions in Germany.

Talk to an American attorney to understand your options better....
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I'd like to brand and sell a dog plush toy that has a trademark. How much of the design do I need to change?
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Jun 15, 2020

does a similar product already have a trademark?

if that is true then you would be infringing.

Try to come up with your own trademark.

If the product is generic, you should be able to slap your brand on it and sell away

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: I'd like to brand and sell a dog toy that has a trademark. What changes (color, size, design) do I have to make ?
John Brian Hudak
John Brian Hudak answered on Jun 12, 2020

Questions of infringement are not straight forward (only patent infringement is addressed in this answer). One needs to research if there is something to infringe, such as a utility patent or a design patent. Then there needs to be a determination of infringement.

There is possible...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for California on
Q: If elevape is trademarked could I trademark ELE-vape? They are for two different products for different uses

I am interested in creating a product under this name

John Brian Hudak
John Brian Hudak answered on Jun 9, 2020

Questions related to comparing trademarks and determination of a viable registration are very fact specific. Therefore a full analysis is needed. Although in general, registration of a new mark is not allowed if there is “likelihood of confusion.”

“The USPTO determines that a...
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3 Answers | Asked in Consumer Law, Copyright, Civil Litigation and Civil Rights for California on
Q: I'm interested in becoming apart of the class action suit I've definitely used it and understand now
Louis George Fazzi
Louis George Fazzi answered on Jun 7, 2020

If that's the case, then make a claim through the class action claim's administrator. There should be a web site where you can do that.

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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 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 »

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