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Maurice N Ross
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Maurice Ross’s Answers

6,034 total


  • What punishment will she get as far as being a lawyer?

    if I press charges on a lawyer for going by my home yelling b word at me. will she get her liscensce revoked? what punishment will she get as far as being a lawyer?

    Maurice’s Answer

    Your question does not provide enough details. Lawyers should try to be courteous and professional. But lawyers are human and sometimes they may be justified in yelling or even cursing at a client. There are times when I client needs to express anger and frustration at a client who behaves badly or does not listen to sound legal advice. Sometimes we have no choice but to be hard on clients for their own good. And sometimes clients fail to pay legal bills or make unreasonable demands or have unrealistic expectations. I have no idea whether your lawyer was wrong but I seriously doubt if this will lead to charges against him. Clients often deserve a tongue lashing. But lawyers always should try to be calm and respectful. If you want to pursue this you should hire another lawyer to review all the facts and advise you as to whether your lawyer was out of line. But maybe your lawyer was justified in calling you out. Without knowing all the facts, none of us can advise you

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  • Can I name my Youtube channel the same name as another channel that only has 20 subscribers?

    Can I name my Youtube channel the same name as another channel that only has 20 subscribers? The channel name I want is Swag Surfing. There is already a channel that goes by that name with very few subscribers. My channel will be extremely well ma...

    Maurice’s Answer

    The problem you face arises under trademark law. The title of the channel is a trademark because it is used to "brand" the channel in the minds of consumers. Under U.S. law, trademark rights arise through use in commerce. Further, in general, the first person or company to use a trademark in commerce wins the trademark rights---we call him the "senior user". Any person who tries to use the trademark later is a junior user. Nine times out of ten, the senior user wins the day in court.

    In this situation, you are the junior user. As a consequence, your use of the trademark would almost certainly violate the trademark rights of the senior user (the You Tube channel that started using the name before you). Even though it only has 20 subscribers, it might have a valid and winnable claim against you for trademark infringement. Indeed, the trademark owner could require you to disgorge any profits that you earn from your web-site---especially because in this situation, your use of the trademark would constitute willful, deliberate infringement. You can't overcome the fact that you are the junior user merely because your web-site will end up with more subscribers.

    If you want to use this trademark, you will need to engage in a transaction with the owner of this other You Tube Channel pursuant to which these trademark rights are transferred to you. This may not be a simple matter--you will need to retain intellectual property counsel to handle this for you, Further, your problem with this particular "senior user" almost certainly will be be the tip of the iceberg of the problems you have,
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    It is quite possible that neither you, nor this other You Tube Channel, should be using this trademark. It is quite possible that there are other parties who are using this trademark in commerce on other internet web-sites or elsewhere, and therefore have superior rights to both you and the operator of the other You Tube Channel. Before you could safely use this trademark, you would need to retain experienced intellectual property counsel to conduct a trademark clearance analysis. You have already identified one conflict---chances are there are others. Trademark clearance by experienced legal counsel is absolutely critical before adopting a brand name for your channel. And if your channel will be seen in countries other than the United States, you will need a trademark clearance for every country where your channel will be available. Trademark rights are national in scope--and US trademark rights do not guaranty rights in other countries. (One smart strategy might be for you to file for registration in other countries).

    These days, operating a You Tube channel has become a serious business. It is not for amateurs. This particular trademark issue is problem only one of dozens of intellectual property issues you need to confront. It is good that you flagged this issue---but I bet there are many others of which you are unaware. When you operate a You Tube channel, you are responsible for assuring that any content you post on the channel does not violate intellectual property rights of third parties. Further, you need to make sure you have written agreements in place with each person involved in creating the videos that you post---writer, songwriters, actors, musicians, animators, etc. If you screw up and violate intellectual property laws in any of the materials that you post, you could face enormous adverse legal and economic consequences.

    Thus, anyone who is beginning to operate a You Tube channel absolutely MUST retain experienced intellectual property counsel to provide advice and guidance. This is a serious business that cannot be safely operated on shoestring. It is no longer a hobby for weekend warriors. Thus, you need to retain intellectual property counsel---and don't expect your lawyer to work for free---I tell clients who are launching You Tube channels to budget at least $10,000 for basic initial intellectual property work.

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  • Can I use the phrase "World's most comfortable underwear" for marketing and sales purposes

    I have a small non-technical startup. My family has been in garment business and have recently decided to launch our own brand. We high quality underwear. Can I use the phrase "World's most comfortable underwear" for my marketing and sales purpose...

    Maurice’s Answer

    From an advertising and consumer protection law point of view, this is probably ok because the law allows "puffery" in advertising as long as you are not misleading consumers. If you have a reasonable basis for the assertion that your product is the "world's most comfortable", then use of this phrase will probably be ok. (But watch out if your underwear uses material that cause allergic reactions or otherwise are alleged to harm consumers because of the design---you better be darn sure based on testing that your underwear is safe and that the "comfortable" design does not lead to unintended injury).

    However, I cannot provide you an opinion that this would be ok from an intellectual property law perspective. This is because the phrases "most comfortable underwear" or "world's most comfortable underwear" could theoretically be someone's trademark---either via registration or common law. If another underwear company has consistently and continuously used the phrase "most comfortable underwear" (or a substantially similar phrase) in its advertising for several years, and if consumers in the relevant market associate this phrase with such company. then the phrase may have acquired "secondary meaning", in which case it may qualify as a trademark. In such circumstances, your use of the phrase "world's most comfortable underwear" could create consumer confusion and be viewed as a form of unfair competition. Before rolling out an advertising using this phrase, you need to retain intellectual property counsel to conduct a trademark clearance analysis---you need to know whether your use of this phrase could violate trademark rights belonging to third parties. Although it seems obvious many people have used the phrase "comfortable underwear" in a descriptive or generic manner, there may be companies with whom you compete who have used the phrase (or similar words) as trademarks to differentiate their underwear products from the competition. Suppose, for example, a company has been branding itself "Comfy underwear world", and has become well-known to consumers. That company may in certain circumstances have legitimate objections to your use of your proposed phrase.

    Thus, before using this slogan (or any other advertising slogan), you need to retain IP counsel to conduct a trademark clearance search and analysis. And this search needs to be conducted for every market in which you might operate---trademark rights are national in scope---and even if your search comes up clean in the United States, you could have a problem in Canada, Europe or Asia In the corporate world---companies that launch marketing campaigns like this use teams of lawyers to conduct trademark clearance analysis in the markets in which they operate.

    I have no idea whether your proposed phrase is used as a trademark by third parties in the U.S. or other countries, but it might be. Thus, I can't give you the green light. Further, AVVO is not intended to be used to obtain legal advice on specific questions such as this--the purpose of AVVO is to provide general information on legal issues---but you will need to retain IP counsel before you can option reliable legal advice on whether use of this phrase could violate trademark rights of others.

    One further point on advertising agencies---I am often shocked to find that advertising agencies who recommend advertising campaigns involving phrases such as this do not use their in-house or outside lawyers to conduct trademark clearance analyses before pitching the potential claim to their clients. A good advertising agency will make sure that proposed advertising campaigns are cleared by intellectual property counsel before rolling them out for clients. I have seen even prominent advertising agencies stumble and be embarrassed when their recommended slogans for advertising campaigns end up violating third party trademarks. Marketing folks need to run the clearances before pitching the advertising campaigns.

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  • Can I re-use video from "You Tube labeled Standard You Time License" w /out infringing on copyright for a new video news report?

    I am a video news reporter, who reports on sport of Mixed Martial Arts. My news reports air on "You Tube" not on broadcast TV. I'm extremely familiar copyright infringement regarding photos. My Q is the re-use of video from YT. Some of the vi...

    Maurice’s Answer

    This is a quite complex question, and the answer may vary for each video (or clip from a video) that you want to use.

    First, in general, you should assume that you need a license from the copyright owner of each video on You Tube that you want to use. You do not have the right to use a video just because it appears on You Tube.

    Second, however, in some cases the fair use doctrine will protect you if you use clips from the videos (or in rare cases, entire videos). Fair use is a complex doctrine--far more limited in scope than most people realize. The idea behind the doctrine is that the First Amendment allows people to comment on works prepared by others, and also allows people to republish facts or news that are revealed in copyrighted works. Copyright law does not protect ideas or facts--but it does protect original, fully realized works of authorship (such as films)., When considering fair use defenses, courts consider a wide variety of factors such as the nature and purpose of the use (is it commercial, educational, journalistic, social criticism or commentary, political commentary, or parody), whether the use would be considered transformative (books are now being written on what transformative means--but no one really knows), the portion of the work that you use and whether you used more than necessary to make your point, and most importantly, the impact of your use on the market value of the original work. These are complex, fact specific matters. and the analysis changes from one video to the next. Further, fair use is only a defense to claims for copyright infringement. Even if you have a solid fair use defense, it won't prevent you from being sued. Because fair use defenses involve many underlying factual matters, litigation over fair use can be expensive and time-consuming, requiring extensive pre-trial discovery and motion practice. Thus, unless you have a rock-solid fair use defense and the resources (think several hundred thousand dollars) to defend yourself in a law suit, it is probably too dangerous to rely on a fair use defense.

    Unless you have a fair use defense, you cannot use You Tube videos of any kind form any source without a license. This would be true even if you did not intend to monetized the videos that you create. Since you intend to commercialize these videos and profit from them, fair use is less likely to be a viable defense.

    Also, there is no exemption for copyright infringement for using only short clips---there is no law or rule that says if you use less than 30 seconds it is ok. To the contrary, what matters is the importance and value of the clips that you use. If you use a critical 10 second clip from a film---for example, showing the punch that knocked out a fighter----you will violate copyright law even though the clip is only a few seconds--unless you have permission.

    In addition to copyright issues, your use of the videos could violate trademark law and rights of publicity belonging to the actors or fighters who appear in the videos. You do not avoid the issues merely by providing credits.

    You also cannot take footage and re-edit the footage without permission. When you re-edit, you create a derivative work. Copyright owners have the right to decide who and when derivative works are created. You have no right to create derivative (reedited) works without permission.

    Finally, you shouldn't be expecting You Tube's help center or even this web-site to provide the legal advice you need. If you are setting up a You Tube channel for profit and making videos for that channel, you absolutely should retain legal counsel to advise you. You need to treat this like a business---and any new business must invest the money necessary to lay the proper legal foundation, You need to retain legal counsel to advise you---unless you do so, it will not be safe to proceed with plans for your videos and You Tube channel.

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  • Fair Use on YouTube Channel

    Hey. I am a blogger that covers battle rap... Yes, like in Eight Mile. Occasionally, I make compilation videos of certain topics - usually about 30-60 clips about very specific things. For example - 200 times that references to video games in r...

    Maurice’s Answer

    I am not sure I agree with you. Fair use is complex. It is also a more limited concept than most people understand. You probably use the most interesting and important potions of the raps. Even a short clip of a critical portion can be enough to violate copyright law. You need to hire an IP lawyer to conduct a fair use analysis

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  • Can I reapply for same facetious name for the same same business?

    If a partnership business Is dissolved can I reapply for the same factious name for the same business as an independant business owner?

    Maurice’s Answer

    You do not have the right to use this name. It belongs to the partnership. The name is an asset. When a partnership is dissolved its assets must be distributed either by agreement of the partners or by court order. You need to retain legal counsel to work out a plan for distributing assets among partners

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  • Does sign-age/advertising have to exactly match the registered LLC name?

    I am trying to help my stepson with his drain cleaning business. He has a registered LLC and he is considering changing the name. The current name is A Target Rooter, LLC. He would like for it to be something like Turbo Rooter LLC. We are work...

    Maurice’s Answer

    Your stepson shouldn't use either name until he retains intellectual property counsel to perform a trademark clearance analysis. A registered business or corporate name is not sufficient. Often you can register a name for your business for state corporate law purposes but find that you can't use the name as the brand for your company and its products or services. A trademark (and not a formal business name) identifies the source of goods and services. It is designed to avoid consumer confusion. You could get into big trouble if you use a brand name that could cause consumer confusion with a trademark used by someone else. Thus, it is critical to retain legal counsel to conduct a trademark clearance search before using your registered business name as a trademark

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  • Can I use the product images from the amazon product page to list the products i am selling online?

    Hi I am setting up an eccomerce store. I will be buying products from amazon and reselling them online.

    Maurice’s Answer

    Not without permission from the copyright in the images. While the doctrine of nominative fair us allows you to use the trademark/brand name when you sell the product, this does not extent to use of photographs or images showing the product, nor does it extent to the logo of the company that makes the brand-name product. You need to take your own photographs or obtain permission from the copyright owner. Identifying the copyright owner might be tricky or impossible---you would need a lawyer to guide you through this.

    More generally, if you are setting up an e-commerce business, it is absolutely critical that you retain and work closely with intellectual property counsel. You face many difficult issues, many of which you are not even aware at this time. For example, you should not assume that it is ok to buy products from Amazon and resell them. There are many situations in which such resales would not be ok.

    Further, your e-commerce web-site must have carefully drafted terms of use, privacy policies, intellectual property policies, DMCA takedown policies. And you will need counsel to help you navigate through numerous additional cybersecurity, copyright, trademark and other legal issues. Running an e-commerce web-site is not for amateurs, nor can it be done safely on a shoestring budget. Laying the proper legal foundation for your web-site is critical.

    One example---an owner of an e-commerce web-site has an absolute duty to make sure all goods sold on the web-site are authentic. You need to take steps to protect yourself from liability in the event something you list and sell turns out to be a knock off and/or otherwise illegitimate. You need to insist on contracts with the companies that supply you with products which provide for indemnification of you in the event you are sent counterfeit or illegitimate goods. And you need to implement other procedures to minimize the risk that you will be caught dealing in counterfeit goods.

    You cannot assume, for example, the products that you find on Amazon are authentic-----Amazon takes the position that it is not required to monitor the authenticity of products which are listed for sale through its facilities. Thousands of companies that operate in China, Hong Kong, India and elsewhere list counterfeit or infringing goods for sale on Amazon. The reason you think you can resell products is that the prices offered on Amazon may seem very low---but when the prices are too good to be true, that is a sure sign that you would be dealing in counterfeit goods.

    Bottom line--before you take this project any further, you need to retain experienced IP counsel. Your investment in IP counsel know will save you dearly in the future

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  • What can I do? if I can't find an attorney but I do it myself

    two experts and new fellowship top hospital dr. all agree that 9 out of 10 doctors would never had did the surgery and cut me with the instrument. the lawyer told me after dr deposition that the doctors attorney wanted to drop the case. lawyer b...

    Maurice’s Answer

    You won't be able to do this yourself. If your case is economically and legally viable, you should easily find a lawyer to take it. You should call firms that handle personal injury cases and see if they want to take your case,

    Note that it is not unusual or unethical for a lawyer to drop a case when the lawyer believes that (a) settlement is unlikely, and (b) there is a substantial risk of loss at trial, Moreover, you (as the client) are responsible for the costs that are necessary to litigate the case, including expert fees, and the lawyer has no obligation to advance those costs for you. You will have to convince another law firm that it is worth investing time into your case---that depends on the strength of your case and whether it makes economic sense to take it to trial, None of us can analyze that issue with the limited information we have. You should immediately request a consultation with some of the many fine personal injury law firms in New York City.

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  • Do I have a right to claim royalties for my intellectual property eventhough I was not "owner" of the band?

    As a musician, I never signed any contract with my band back in 2000, a gentleman's agreement was made amongst band members to all be owners of the band if we pitched in to record a "Demo". The band was lucky to get a major record deal soon after...

    Maurice’s Answer

    It is far from clear that you were screwed out of anything.

    First, why did you wait so long before raising the issue---the band scored a record deal years ago. The time to raise the issue was then. The statute of limitations probably prevents you from raising an argument that you were a partner pursuant to an oral partnership agreement.

    Second, although your question is not clear, it sounds like you continued to voluntarily appear with the band at live gigs after it obtained the record deal, and you accepted payment for the gigs. A court would probably find that this demonstrates that you acquiesced in the formation of the LLC and the record deal, and did not insist on inclusion in either. After all, you accepted payment for gigs after you were well aware that you were not part of the LLC or record deal/

    Third, it is not clear what rights you are claiming. Are you claiming to be a songwriter? If you are a co-writer, then you clearly should get credit as a co-author, and the band and record company may owe royalties to you in your capacity as co-author. If you are not a songwriter, however, the band had no obligation to cut you in on publishing and other revenues payable for the musical composition.

    If you are not claiming to be a songwriter, are you claiming that you performed on the master recordings that were distributed in the record deal? Did you go into the recording studio with the band? Did you sign an artist agreement with the record label? If you performed on the recordings, you might have a claim to copyright on your performance on the records. But I would be very surprised if a major record label would release songs without having an artist agreement in place with all musicians who performed on the recordings. Alternatively, the band might have legitimately taken the position that you were hired as a studio session musician for the recordings on a work-for-hire basis--and that the only compensation to which you were entitled was the fee for your work as a studio musician. Nonetheless, if you performed on the recordings, there was no artist agreement and you received no compensation as a studio musician, you might have an argument that you are entitled to a cut of record sales. But this is a long-shot, uphill argument in the circumstances here---I find it hard to fathom that a major label that released three gold and 1 platinum members would fail to make sure it locked up the rights from all of the musicians who appeared on the record. Further, the three year statute of limitations for copyright infringement claims probably bars you from pursing any claim you have for a share of record sales.

    I think there is more to the story as to why only two band members formed the LLC and signed the record deal. Perhaps the record company didn't want a deal with the entire band--but only its two most prominent and talented members---this is quite common,. There must have been a reason why you were not included in the deal. Perhaps you were not a songwriter, lead vocalist or lead musician. Perhaps the other band members thought they could easily replace you, and did not want to be locked into working with you. A "gentleman's agreement" in 2000 does not lock your band-mates into working with you forever.

    Here is your problem---gentleman's agreements are essentially useless in the music business. I am a working musician (I play piano in night clubs four nights a week) and for years I have helped to operate a prominent indie record label. I can tell you from painful personal experience that without written agreements, it is almost impossible to assert and enforce claims for entitlement to share of royalties.

    If you did not perform on the recordings, but continued to perform with the band in live appearances, then you were treated as essentially a work-fire-hire musician. You accepted your role and were paid for it. It is hard to see how you can complain. If there is more to the story, then hire a lawyer.

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