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Michigan Copyright Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: Are you allowed to use Drink up Grinches on a shirt?
Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Nov 18, 2019

If by "grinch" you are referring to the Doctor Suess character, then you can expect IP issues. You would likely need permission and pay a licensing fee to use the image on shirts for sale.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: Can I get sued for writing a non-fiction book about a tv show without the show's permission?

I was hired by a publisher to write a non-fiction book on a very popular television show where I discuss the history of the show, the themes, the characters and provide my opinion on each of the series episodes. Publisher states because I'm providing an opinion there is absolutely no copyright... Read more »

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Sep 18, 2019

Your concerns are valid. You should consider seriously getting permission. Make sure the hiring party give you a contract where they take full responsibility or liability. Consult with an attorney before doing anything.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: Am I able to TM a logo design that may have similar wording to one that's registered as standard mark?

their wording is registered and my words are arranged differently and missing a word the registered TM has. I also have a distant design for mine and its in use and printed on many things. How will I go about TM my design? Is it possible?

Ahaji Kirk Amos
Ahaji Kirk Amos answered on Apr 29, 2019

The question is whether there is a likelihood of confusion. If the designs would cause confusion to a consumer on the source of the product, then it can't be registered as a trademark.

If you are interested in registering your trademark, you may schedule a free intro call with me at...
Read more »

3 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: How would I go about trademarking my stage name if it has been abandoned in 2011?

Krimminall23@gmail.com is my email address

Jason Brooks
Jason Brooks answered on Apr 24, 2019

You'll need to file a new registration application with the USPTO. If you need assistance, feel free to email me at: Jason@altviewlawgroup.com

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Michigan on
Q: How does Tangle Inc still have the patent for the tangle toy? I remember grew up having it as a toy in my childhood.

How does Tangle Inc still have the patent for the tangle toy? I remember grew up having it as a toy in my childhood. Now I'm 30 years old.

I'm doing patent law research and came across the US patent 7601045 from Tangle Inc. It seems this patent only apply to the textured toys, not the... Read more »

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on Jun 10, 2018

This type of a question is fairly common. How can there be a patent on something that has already been in existence many years before the patent was ever filed?

The answer almost always is that the patent claims a product that is somehow improved over the old product. There is something...
Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: Can I use an abandoned trademark name / Make money doing so without repercussions.

What are my options?

John Espinosa
John Espinosa answered on Jun 7, 2018

Not necessarily. An abandoned could be revived, and could already or still be in use in commerce so is not necessarily available for use https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/laws-regulations/overview-final-rule-revivals-reinstatements-and-petitions-director

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: A 3 word phrase has been trademarked. Can I add dashes to legally use it for a program I am starting? Thanks!
Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III answered on May 2, 2018

It depends on the context you plan to use the phrase in, what is claimed in the trademark application, and how the other party is using the phrase. An attorney would need to review all the facts to answer this question.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I have received a letter from a law firm indicating that a photograph I used on my personal website was copyrighted.

They asked that i remove the photo, which I did, and are also asking that I pay them $6750.00 for the last six months that the photo was used. This photo was taken off of Google search and had I been asked by the copyright owner to take it down sooner, it would have been done immediately. This is a... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Feb 9, 2018

How you should respond depends on a lot of factors not available in your question. It's a strategic decision best left to an attorney with experience in copyright infringement actions.

Attorneys on this ask-a-lawyer board are going to be unwilling to answer your question, partly because...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I'm creating a Christmas play for our church. We are looking at using a copyrighted song in the play. Is this legal?

Used during worship service - no admission fee

Brent T. Geers
Brent T. Geers answered on Oct 23, 2017

You should contact the song's owner and ask. Often times, churches purchase or receive blanket permission covering an assortment of songs and so no extra permission would be needed. Even if that's not the case, many times copyright owners are happy to allow use for events like this; sometimes they... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: I bought licensed scrapbook paper with college logos on it. I'm cutting out the logos to make keychains with.

I want to sell the keychains on the internet. Is this legal or do I need to obtain permission from the universities whose logos I'm using? I have done a little research on this and it really seems like a grey area. Some sites say you absolutely need permission - others state that once the... Read more »

Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III answered on Sep 22, 2017

You need to obtain permission from the trademark owners. The first sale doctrine would likely protect you if you resold exactly what you purchased, the scrapbook paper. If you use the paper to create a new branded product, you would not be protected by the first sale doctrine. Also, using a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts, Copyright, Business Law and Intellectual Property for Michigan on
Q: Is what I'm being requested to do legal? And, do I currently have the legal right/rights qualifying me to proceed?

I was asked by someone to make a number of hard(CD)copies of music for them. This request requires me to "rip" the content(given to me in CD format) on a computer and then burn the music onto the requested number of CDs( also provided to me). The requester(the commissioner) has told me that the... Read more »

Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III answered on Sep 18, 2017

You may be at risk of committing copyright infringement if the person commissioning the project does not have the appropriate rights. If the commissioner does own the copyright to the content on the CDs, he should be willing to cover any loss you may incur from copying the content (indemnify you).... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I plan on using photo's purchased on ebay in a calendar for retail sale. Are there any copyright issues.
Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III answered on Sep 18, 2017

I am assuming you purchased a print of a photograph. If so, you cannot reproduce the photograph and sell it in a calendar. The owner of the copyright to the photograph has the right to reproduce the image. By you doing so, you would infringe on the copyright owners rights. If you want to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: Hello, to anyone that can help,what are the steps I need to take to trademark a comic book company I want to start?
Benton R Patterson III
Benton R Patterson III answered on Sep 6, 2017

The first step is to research the mark to determine if anyone else is using it or something similar. There are a variety of trademark search services that can perform a search for you. Once you know what other trademarks exist, you may want to change your mark or proceed with a trademark... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I want to create a mobile app that uses data from a book. is this a infringement if my data is presented differently?

for instance, the page shows words and numbers, and my app will prompt for words and display those numbers.

is the data or the style copyrighted?

Thanks

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Aug 29, 2017

The short answer is: it depends.

Generally, facts cannot be copyrighted, however the display and organization of facts can be copyrighted. To answer whether the particular organization of information you're talking about contains the required level of creativity to receive copyright...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: Does the Fair Use Act - 17 U.S.C. § 107 allow me to read books online? Not public domain books but any books?

I see alot of youtubers reading children's books online. How is that legal? Or how can it be legal?

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Mar 3, 2017

No, 17 U.S.C. § 107 does not allow you to post recordings of yourself reading children's books to Youtube.

However, just because this gives rise to a civil cause of action (basis for a lawsuit) does not mean that it will result in a lawsuit. The authors or owners of the intellectual...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Michigan on
Q: I want to make a game that references a band as homage. Is that copyright infringement?

I am a fan of the band Supertramp, and very inspired by their music, I've been making a game that pays direct homage to them. Here are some of the examples of things I've inserted:

- reference to album art.

- some musical references in the soundtrack, such as a small riff to... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Mar 1, 2017

This question is probably too fact-specific for an attorney to be able to give you a clear answer without seeing the game. That being said, it is a dangerous strategy to rely on fair use in a questionable scenario. Fair use is a defense to a lawsuit, which means that you're already in court and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I have a question regarding using photos on my blog

I have a blog where I feature women about their businesses. They submit professional photos of themselves and/or their businesses that I can include in their article. My question is...is it legal according to copyright laws for me to post these photos? Or do I have to get permission from the person... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Feb 3, 2017

To not be liable for copyright infringement, you need permission from the person who holds the rights to those photographs. That may be the photographers or it may be the people who submit photos to you. You can require your clients to agree in writing that they hold the rights to the photographs... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Contracts and Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I used photos to sell a guitar on Craigslist. The same ones the original owner posted. Now he wants to sue me. Can he?

I bought the guitar from this person. I bought it to resell. I used his photos. They show ONLY the instrument. No furniture, address', people or other personal items he had. Just the instrument. He says he will sue me for using them. I thought once you post anything on a public site, it could be... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton answered on Jan 27, 2017

You are wrong.

The photographer owns the copyright to photograph you used. You infringed upon his rights in the images. If he registered with the US Copyright Office, you are likely on the hook for statutory damages, which can be up to $150,000 per infringement. If he did not register...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: for a copyright loophole, could i just say "i do not like this song" and then it would be considered criticism?

its on Youtube

Mr. Michael O. Stevens
Mr. Michael O. Stevens answered on Feb 29, 2016

Most likely not. Your contribution needs to be transformative, or truly criticism (and you could not just post a video of someone else's song and then at the end say you don't like it, as you did not need to post any of the song to tell people that).

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I needing legal advice Copyrights Cases filed in District of Columbia?
Vincent Thomas Lyon
Vincent Thomas Lyon answered on Apr 22, 2011

Feel free to contact me with specifics.

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