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Michigan Copyright Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Business Law and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: If something isn't properly copyrighted or trademarked can it end up in the Public Domain?

The 1968 film "Night of the Living Dead" wasn't properly trademarked due to an error and ended up in the Public Domain. Various Comic book Characters from the Golden Age of Comics in the 1930s and 1940s also entered the public domain when their publishers went out of business. I just... Read more »

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Mar 12, 2021

First, be generally aware there is a difference between 'registered' copyrighted works, works protected by copyright, and works with expired copyright protections, and 'works' without copyright protection.

Second, intellectual property is quite a bit like any other type...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: If I want to use the character on a T shirt for sale. How would I legally do that? I see others online for sale.

Example loony tunes characters. Pepe le Pew.

Michael Zamzow
Michael Zamzow answered on Feb 16, 2021

This would require a license from the license holder, occasionally represented by a consortium, permitting you to use the character. Some intellectual property holders that regularly license out its property, like book publishers or some collegiate associations, will have links on webpages to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Michigan on
Q: We are looking for a copyrights lawyer to defend a case in Michigan on urgent basis, please contact if someone can help.
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick answered on Dec 28, 2020

Justia is a great resource for finding IP lawyers. And many IP lawyers can work in multiple states under certain circumstances. For example, I have litigated cases in Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and Indiana (among others).

2 Answers | Asked in Business Formation and Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I want to make a baseball hat with these same initials. Can I do that?

I want to use the initials GTFO.

Steve Charles Vondran
Steve Charles Vondran answered on Nov 9, 2020

Go to USPTO search trademarks. See if anyone us using this in your classification. Also do a common law search (especially in the state you are planning to do business), and others. A lot of similar marks are allowed to co-exist, but do a little leg work and see what you find. Good legal. This... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Business Law for Michigan on
Q: Does Huntington's trademarked "welcome" prohibit if I say "Welcome to Crossnik Media" in a single advertisement?

I have a business called Crossnik Media. We are getting ready to run an introductory ad with the goal of getting some brand recognition for our new local business in Midland, MI. At the end, we say "Welcome to Crossnik Media", because throughout the ad, we're explaining our... Read more »

Thomas. R. Morris
Thomas. R. Morris answered on Oct 19, 2020

In order to give definitive advice to you I would want to know all of the facts, including your proposed use, but I can say for certain that the bank does not have exclusive rights to that the word "welcome". I don't see any possibility of confusion if you are using "welcome... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Michigan on
Q: Michigan: copyright question regarding rewriting of scientific articles in simple language

Hi, student from Michigan. I'm considering starting a nonprofit project where we rewrite published free, publicly accessible scientific articles in simple language and re-publish them on the Web through our own website (freely available of course). I was wondering whether this counts as fair... Read more »

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales answered on Aug 5, 2020

I would say no. Best to get permission from the authors before doing this. They might appreciate your efforts.

1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Copyright and Trademark for Michigan on
Q: Can I use an acronym like G.O.A.T. in my business marketing materialand website? Or can someone actually trademark this?

The name of my business is GOAT Nails and I am wanting to make sure it is ok for me to use the acronym G.O.A.T.throughout my website.

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales answered on Aug 5, 2020

Interesting question - I would have thought that G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) would be too generic to trademark, but I see that some people have successfully done it. You should check the TESS database (tess2.uspto.gov) to search for all of the US registered trademarks with the word GOAT in... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Education Law for Michigan on
Q: I would like to show my video analysis of propitchers in a certification and continuing ed course. Can I do this legally

I am creating a continuing education program and certification for strength and conditioning coaches and rehabilitation professionals on training and rehab of the throwing athlete. I would like to show video analysis of voiceover style videos featuring professional pitchers to demonstrate proper... Read more »

Kathryn Perales
Kathryn Perales answered on Jun 19, 2020

You should get permission from the copyright holder of the video - could be the videographer or their employer, or ESPN... In my opinion what you are describing would not pass a fair use test. You might also need permission from the athlete in the video, depending on state law.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: Is it legal to use someone else art as an ASSET of an app you're developing with crediting them in a license section?

Like I want to develop this app which is like the Pokemon Dex but for anime characters and I can't draw and even if I could, it would be technically using the art from the anime character creator. I want to monetize it so I am able to upgrade the backend as the character's info is with... Read more »

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Jun 15, 2020

Unless you really have a license, you would be lying by crediting them in the license section.

No. See who owns the art and try to get a license.

You can also hire somebody for original art.

Best luck

3 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Michigan on
Q: Can I patent a formula for a hair product I’m creating for a celebrity?

I currently create a hair product for a celebrity that I created and cook in my kitchen. I package it and send it and she applies her label to it. Can I patent the formula just in case she wants to buy it, how do I know how to price the formula? She has ingredients, not the specific formula... Read more »

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on Jun 9, 2020

Yes, you could get a patent on a formulation of a hair product. As a matter of fact, I have written several of them for clients.

But I have to warn you: it is not easy. It is not easy to get a patent on a new mixture of known ingredients, as you seem to be doing. Firstly, it is likely...
Read more »

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Q: I have a product i want to make my own and start production and sales and i wanna know all my options

There can also be other variantions of it made and i want that too all different sizes and shapes but it the same product

Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek answered on May 5, 2020

Congratulations on your new venture. I hope that it will be profitable for you.

And also congratulations about worrying about patents now, before you start the production and sales. Too many people ignore patents, spend lots of money on designs, tooling up, and manufacturing their...
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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: so, a man reposted my YouTube video, except it had laughing over it, I submitted a takedown and it was successfull

Now this man is threatening to take me to court for a false takedown under Fair Use terms. Can he do this?

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 1, 2020

In doing so, he will have the burden of proof that what he was doing comes within the criteria of fair use. The annoying thing is that whoever the ISP, they just dumped the ball into your court. You may want to explore with an attorney familiar with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: I've written a book and I would like to use a photograph of a replica jersey as the cover? Can I use it w/o permission?

I would like to use other pictures, but the ones I'd need to use are over 40 years old and it has been increasingly difficult to find the people who took them to even ask for permission. Is there any way that I can photograph the replica NFL jersey without getting into trouble? If not, how... Read more »

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Apr 6, 2020

You have a couple issues here because the copyright in the photograph likely still exists and any use without permission would constitute infringement. It can be difficult to figure out who to get permission from if there is no identifying information for the photo. However, you may also have a... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Michigan on
Q: My church wants to use video clips from the movie Passion of the Christ in our Good Friday service. Is there a legal way

We have two services, the videos would be shown in service with a VoiceOver and the main clips would be from the movie "Passion of the Christ".

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Feb 27, 2020

17 USC 110(3) exempts from infringement the display of a work during "the course of services at a place of worship or other religious assembly." My church, and many others, usually sells recordings of that day's message. However, I would caution against that because the sale of the... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Michigan on
Q: If I read/watch a class about some technique and then teach a class on that technique, is that copyright infringement

Example, I read a woodworking book or watch an online class on how to make a type of drawer, and then create an online class using what I learned, without using any of the original material, did I infringe the copyright?

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Feb 4, 2020

Copyright does not protect ideas, methods and processes. It protects the expression of those ideas, methods and processes. Whether or not you are infringing the person's copyright depends on your use of their work in your own creation.

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... 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...
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