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Pennsylvania Copyright Questions & Answers
2 Answers | Asked in Business Law and Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Are you able to legally sell a picture of a celebrity, that you took. Then print the photo you took on clothing to sell?

I.E. If you pay a photographer to take a picture of a professional athlete, can you then sell that picture on clothing? Since you now technically own the image.

John Brian Hudak
John Brian Hudak answered on Jun 28, 2020

There are two elements here – rights to the image under copyright law and rights to the use of the image related to rights to publicity/likeness/privacy related to the famous person (and maybe others). You are claiming rights to the image under copyright. You need to clear the rights related to... Read more »

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3 Answers | Asked in Contracts, Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: NDA for consultation?

I am paying a physics professor a consulting fee for help with a private entrepreneurial project. I haven't set anything up on my part as a business entity yet. But I want to protect the ideas I share while speaking with the professor during our consulting sessions. Can an NDA do the job, or... Read more »

Nancy L Lanard
Nancy L Lanard answered on Jun 24, 2020

The NDA (which includes a non-compete provision) can be entered between two individuals - it does not need to be between business entities. Make sure the NDA is strong and thoroughly defines confidential information to include all forms that the information could be - in other words, the... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Collections, Patents (Intellectual Property) and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: I want to use the tune to ColePorter's song "Anything Goes" with new lyrics on Youtube. Do I need copyright permission?
John Brian Hudak
John Brian Hudak answered on Jun 17, 2020

Your new work may be considered a derivative work of the original song. A derivative work uses some or all of the original work and adds new elements. The copyright owner has the exclusive right to make derivative works. Therefore, if you made a derivative work without permission it could be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Hypothetical Use of Fictional Name

Hypothetical question: If Ginger and Fred's restaurant atop the Dancing House in Prague (named after real life people Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire) had been named "Bond & Lynd's", with a marketing campaign involving a generic man in tux and a beautiful woman, would that... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on Jun 2, 2020

It may be copyright infringement and also trademark infringement. You acknowledge that you do want to make an obvious reference to the Bond enterprise. Best to consult with an attorney before you proceed with your plan.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: I can't find the Copyright owner does this mean it's fair to use?

I make short videos on YouTube about Classic Hollywood stars (1920's-1940's) and my videos are under fair use for educational purposes. I don't monetize from them. But, I had considered selling merchandise to make a small profit to donate to museums and historical societies that... Read more »

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 24, 2020

Many interesting questions. Let's see if I can provide information concerning each.

First, just because you cannot find who owns the copyright in a work does not mean you can use it without permission. You may have to dig deeper to find out who owns the rights. One place you might...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: I have a website that has product photos from the distributor. Can I copywrite my website?
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 12, 2020

To the extent you created the content that appears on your website, you can register the copyright with the Copyright Office in that content. However, so much 3rd party content, etc., goes into building a website, you need to track down what are the sources of that content and under what license... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Once printed, Can I use a signed photo release form I received via text
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on May 10, 2020

What does the signed photo release say? Is it for one photograph? Does it limit the use of the photograph in any way? Why you need to use the particular photo release form? I ask these questions because it is not clear from what you have written, what exactly you wish to know.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Trying to see if I can create a brand "XXXX Food Network" or if "Food Network" doesnt allow that.

Samples without giving my specific brand away would be: Fisherman's Food Network or Hunter's Food Network or Doctor's Food Network etc...

Evelyn Suero
Evelyn Suero answered on May 3, 2020

Using the name "Food Network" for your brand may very likely infringe on the trademark rights of the existing Food Network brand. Infringement may occur when there is a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the goods represented by the mark. Adding a word to an existing trademark... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: If a song is in the public domain, and someone writes a song with some of the same melody, can I still play the song?
Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Apr 21, 2020

It's not clear which song you intend on playing, where and how. The song in the public domain may be able to be used, but the person who wrote the new song has copyright protection in their song.

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2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Am I able to use this or is it covered by the other company's trademark? Please refer to the "More information" field

Hello. I'm looking to officially "start" my business and I've noticed that the name appears to be at least partially trademarked. The company using it is Relapse Records and have "Relapse" trademarked. I'm looking to create "Relapse Gaming".

Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler answered on Apr 19, 2020

You need to see what classification(s) has the other party registered their mark in with the USPTO. It is possible that your use for "gaming" would not fall in the same class as "records." For example three parties each own the identical mark "DOMINION". This is... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Does it fall under "fair use" to use a company's product photos on a website when you are talking about the product?

Could it be a copyright violation to show a product photo without permission?

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

Use of another's photograph without permission is likely infringement. There are defenses to infringement, bit they are just that, defenses. That means there is still the ability to be sued for infringement and you have to hope that your defense prevails. It also depends on how you're... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: I want to use the title "Bands Against Humanity" for a marching band field show. Is that brand confusion with the game?

We are doing a marching band halftime show in 2020 that is heavily based in satire. I'd like to use the title "Bands Against Humanity" as it perfectly describes the "satire" and humor elements of our theme. I reached out to the game manufacturer for Cards Against Humanity... Read more »

James D. Williams
James D. Williams answered on Mar 16, 2020

Yes, if they have a registered trademark, then it would include slight variations on it. Trademarks are typically limited to specific goods and services as they are listed within the application. However, by hosting this type of event, CAH could make a claim that you are diluting their brand name... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Products Liability for Pennsylvania on
Q: I'm writing a fiction book about a friend, it's very insulting about the people in it, could I be sued?

So it's very immature, it's about one friend banging another friends mom. It's 52,000 words right now and I intend to make it longer. If my friends mom, who is very uptight, gets a hold of it, could I be sued? What if I don't sell it and just print some copies for me and my... Read more »

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Feb 20, 2020

I'm not licensed in Pennsylvania but the likelihood of being sued it would depend on a number of things. First, it would depend on what Pennsylvania's laws are for defamation and right of publicity. If you publish a false statement of fact about a person to another person you could be... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: can i use a comic book character for commercial use.

can i use a comic book character for commercial use if i edit them heavily and make them my own character with cutting and other such edits. Most comic book characters are public domain.

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Feb 18, 2020

Characters may be protected by copyright or trademark. Oftentimes, trademark protection can outlast copyright protection and vice versa because they are dependent on different things. I would suggest enlisting the assistance of an IP attorney to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for an... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: How do I go about obtaining copyright permission for a parody photo that uses Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree"?

The photo is heavily altered, does not use his name or the original book title, and only uses the cover art

Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Feb 16, 2020

Usually the copyright page of the book will tell you who to contact for permissions. You may want to start with the publishing company as they usually get all permissions in the publishing agreement. If they don’t have the rights, they should be able to direct you to the right person.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Is the Philly LOVE statue trademarked? Could we have a different word in the same arrangement?
Tania Maria Williams
Tania Maria Williams answered on Feb 5, 2020

The Philly LOVE statute has been the source of contentious litigation numerous times. Even though the artist died in recent years, there are others who claim to own the copyright in the sculpture. There is also a claimed trademark registration for various goods for the LOVE sculpture. Artists... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I use the name nex and trademark it for use in the e-cigarette/ dietary supplement classes?
Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Apr 19, 2019

You need to find out if someone else is using it. The Navy PX is called NEX and would have at least a service mark if not a trademark. There would be a problem if a Court found there was confusion. So I think unless you get their permission that isn't likely but I would suggest you contact a... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Pennsylvania on
Q: how do i get around a trade mark in a description text?

I've been asked to take down a product on my art shop that is listed as "The Boston Marathon" apparently that text or logo is trademarked by the baa. I do not use any of their logos or trademarks on my product, just describe the product as the Boston Marathon. Am I still infringing... Read more »

Ahaji Kirk Amos
Ahaji Kirk Amos answered on Apr 17, 2019

You can't use that phrase as it is owned by someone else. There's no way to get around it other than asking for permission to use it and being approved.

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Pennsylvania on
Q: I create decals on Etsy. One decal I created is a combing of all the Pittsburgh teams in one. Is this infringement?

Many vendors in Pittsburgh sell merchandise with this logo. My listing was removed by Etsy after notice of intellectual property infringement from NFL Properties, LLC. This logo can be looked up on Google as "Pittsburgh Combined Team Logo". The only portion of the Pittsburgh Steelers logo... Read more »

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta answered on Mar 5, 2019

Nope. Most leagues have enforcement teams and will depend on how strongly they enforce their rights.

You want logos or brands that are as far away from those registered products as possible.

NFL owns the names, logos, art of all teams, so you run into problems the closer you get to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Pennsylvania on
Q: Can I sell illustrations of the entrance of a defunct amusement park that was sold at public auction/demolished in 1933?

The park was part of a larger failed chain across the US that went under around the same time.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing answered on Feb 4, 2019

I don't see why not--assuming the images aren't copyrighted. If they were the copyright may have expired.

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