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Washington Copyright Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Washington on
Q: Copyright -- reproduction and sale of foreign works

Is there any particular law against reproducing and selling, say, the book cover of a book that is from another country? If so, where can I read more about it?

Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Jan 2, 2018

The U.S. Copyright Office has published on this topic, search for "Copyright Office Circular 38A" on your search engine of choice or at the copyright.gov.

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright, Intellectual Property and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Washington on
Q: I’m trying to determine if this patent is what I’m looking to create - https://patents.justia.com/patent/8656283

I’m looking to create a mobile program that allows kids to create their own stories by supplying them with art assets and allowing them to write in text. If this patent is that exact thing, is there a way around creating that or am I completely blocked on making this program? When does the patent... Read more »

Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Kevin E. Flynn
answered on Nov 7, 2017

Thanks for caring enough about doing the right thing to ask a question. The technical term for what you are asking is called freedom to operate (FTO) or sometimes "clearance". You are asking whether there are concrete legal rights that exist that would impinge on your freedom to operate... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Business Law, Contracts, Copyright and Internet Law for Washington on
Q: I bought some sticker logos legally on line. If I apply these logos to hats, can I then sell the logoed hats on ebay?
Barbara Berschler
Barbara Berschler
answered on Sep 2, 2017

Do you intend to apply the actual logo stickers that you bought? In copyright, there is the First Sale Doctrine that provides that if a person buys an object having copyright protected material, the buyer can do what they want with the object. For example for a book, you could give it away or... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright, Internet Law, Business Law and Intellectual Property for Washington on
Q: Eat24 or an affiliate marketer made a site "stacias-pizza.com" that makes it look like my client's. Is this legal?
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Jul 7, 2017

Are you saying you're a web designer and you created a website for a pizza place, and someone copied and rebranded that website as Stacia's Gourmet Pizza?

If so, how much of your work was copied? What elements: images, text, html?

Or are you saying that Stacia's...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Washington on
Q: if someone already trademarked upper left apparel llc does that mean I can't make a company with upper left?

trying to start a brand/fabrication company

Walker Weitzel
Walker Weitzel
answered on Jul 3, 2017

Trademarks are specific to the type of goods being sold. If your company would not produce competing products with the existing mark, then you probably would not infringe their mark, and registration of your trademark may be possible. I would suggest contacting a trademark lawyer for a free initial... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Washington on
Q: Does mailing a copy of original work to yourself give you any copyright protection?

I have a brochure I made in 1998 I only have the one copy that I mailed myself to protect the work. I want to update it but don't want to lose any protection I might have by opening the envelope. Is it protecting me, and thus needs to remain unopened, or is that an urban myth?

Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Feb 24, 2017

This is an urban myth. Original creative works receive copyright protection as soon as they are created in some retrievable form, that is, when they're written or printed. Mailing yourself the work does nothing to enhance that copyright protection. However, filing for statutory copyright... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Patents (Intellectual Property) for Washington on
Q: Who can I email for patent paperwork to read about them and an application?
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Feb 8, 2017

If you're looking for general information about patents, the U.S. Patent Office has a good overview here: https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/general-information-concerning-patents

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Washington on
Q: Hi I'm a student and I'm working on a project about copyright laws, and I'm hoping you can answer a quick question?

I have been given a scenario involving someone who creates a concert poster using a NASA Image called Reisman's Self Portrait. He displays this poster around town, social media websites, and personal websites. Would this be infringing on original copyright or would this be considered fair use?

Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Feb 8, 2017

Under 17 USC 105, copyright does not extend to any work prepared by an officer or employee of the federal government as part of his or her official duties. This provision doesn't prevent the federal government from owning copyrights either by assignment or pursuant to work-made-for-hire... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Washington on
Q: Can I paint a Disney character on an ornament and give it as a gift to a friend or family member?

I paint things for family and friends for holidays or a special occasion. I do not have or intend on having a business or sell these items. They are solely gifts. Am I allowed to paint a Disney character on something and give it as a gift, and post a picture of that gift? This was just mentioned to... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Jan 27, 2017

This would qualify as trademark/copyright infringement. That being said, Disney would have to find out about this infringement and determine that it's worth their time to sue you, before you'd face the consequences of this infringement.

So, could you get in trouble? Yes....
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Trademark for Washington on
Q: What is the process I would need to go through if I wanted to use a shirt with the wutang w (no text) to fundraise?

I run a smallish student organization at my university and we are designing the shirts to sell at an upcoming fundraiser. One of our designs is very similar to the wu tang W logo without the text. The funds raised from the shirts would go back into the club.

Are we allowed to do this right... Read more »

Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Jan 27, 2017

You need to get permission to use copyrighted or trademarked images, if you want to avoid the risk of a lawsuit.

Your university probably employs an attorney who can help you obtain licensing rights, or at least advise you on how to do so.

However, someone who holds the rights to...
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1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Washington on
Q: If I use public video which then gets watermarked, can I still use my video with all rights?
Will Blackton
Will Blackton
answered on Jan 27, 2017

Your question is unintelligible, you'll need to clarify some things before anyone can help you.

Did you make this video? What do you mean by public video? What right, specifically, are you referring to?

The more information you give, the more accurate an answer you can get.

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Washington on
Q: I'm writing a parody novel I intend to sell using cheap knock offs of action movie characters.

I'm using many famous action movie/tv icons but with slightly or totally different names and personalities as characters in my book. The story is original, but mocking fantasy and sci-fi tropes. For example I spoof Mick "Crocodile" Dundee by making a character named Paul... Read more »

Donovan A Rodriques
Donovan A Rodriques
answered on Jan 21, 2017

You should speak with a qualified entertainment attorney regarding all the facts of your situation. Your treatment of these fictional characters may be considered "fair use", and the subject of first Amendment expression, which includes biographical, historical, satirical, and parodic... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Washington on
Q: Can Rainbow pattern dice be copyrighted?

A dice manufacturer has made dice for games like dungeons and dragons that are rainbow pattern. By Layering different colored resin on top of resin until the die is completed. Can this be copyrighted? They said they put in a copyright that protects this in the USA. But I can't find it.

Marjorie Simmons
Marjorie Simmons
answered on Sep 13, 2016

A copyright springs into being automatically when a work is created in a tangible form, however, registering the copyright with the U.S. Copyright office gives the copyright holder more rights to pursue a remedy if the copyright is infringed by others. You may want to read the general FAQ... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Copyright for Washington on
Q: Are there copyrights on creating art based on films

I want to create artworks to sell based on scenes from famous films. No names or titles will be used just scenes. Are there any copyright issues with this?

Mark B. Saku
Mark B. Saku
answered on Jun 16, 2015

Yes, you will have a copyright claim to your work. However, creative works based on previous works are considered a "derivative work" and require the permission of the original copyright owner before registration, distribution or pubic display/performance of the subsequent work.... Read more »

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