Charles E. Colman’s Answers

Charles E. Colman

New York Copyright Infringement Attorney.

Contributor Level 11
  1. Are the following protected under copyright law in the U.S.?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Pamela Koslyn
    2. Charles E. Colman
    3. Maurice N Ross
    4. Vincent T Lyon
    4 lawyer answers

    1. No; pre-1924 paintings are now in the public domain under federal copyright law. 2. This is a more difficult question; the answer will depend on when and under what circumstances the painting was originally created. The "life-plus-70 year" copyright term has only been in place since 1998 (before that, it was life-plus-50, and before the 1976 Copyright Act, the term of protection wasn't based on the life of the author at all.) 3. While fabric patterns of sufficient originality are...

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  2. Want to know if I have a case

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Pamela Koslyn
    2. Charles E. Colman
    3. Erica Canas
    4. Maurice N Ross
    4 lawyer answers

    I agree with the observations and opinions of the other commenters regarding copyright law. However, your sentence about the "leak" suggests that you may have a cause of action for "theft of idea" under California law. A theft-of-idea, a/k/a "Desny" claim (so named after the first California Supreme Court case that recognized the doctrine) is premised on the notion that "a writer and producer form an implied contract under circumstances where both understand that the writer is disclosing...

    1 person marked this answer as helpful

  3. In the character entertainment business, will changing the names of the characters like let's say elmo to "red monster",

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Neil Alan Wehneman
    2. Pamela Koslyn
    3. Maurice N Ross
    4. Charles E. Colman
    4 lawyer answers

    The previous responses are informative and adequately convey that this is NOT something you should do. I am writing only to direct you to a case where a Barney lookalike marketed as "Duffy the Dragon" gave rise to potentially viable claims of trademark and copyright infringement: Lyons Partnership v. Morris Costumes (4th Cir. 2001) (http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/appellate-courts/F3/243/789/603765/). The Fourth Circuit, a federal appellate court, placed particular emphasis on the fact...

  4. Can I make my own release form for photographers to sign. I have my own rules and no samples match.

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Keith G Langer
    2. Charles E. Colman
    2 lawyer answers

    As the first response indicates, you are of course free to draft your own legal documents -- and people often do. But I second the notion that it is almost always worth the trouble to consult an attorney to draft a document that won't cost much and could save you significant money (not to mention heartache, embarrassment, etc.) in the long run. For example, an attorney would likely tell you that a "release" is what THE PHOTOGRAPHER would prefer to call the document you sign. As the model,...

  5. How many times can the US Trademark examiner allow someone to abandon an appliction then "revive" it?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Rian Michelle Kinney
    2. Charles E. Colman
    3. Maurice N Ross
    3 lawyer answers

    One can only file extensions on an intent-to-use application for a total of three years. (http://tess2.uspto.gov/tmdb/tmep/1100.htm#_T110801) Although inadvertent abandonment during this period may be saved by timely petitions to revive, I sincerely doubt that the revival mechanism can be used to circumvent the three-year maximum. Furthermore, there are requirements that an ITU applicant must satisfy in order to either revive OR extend the time in which to file his Statement of Use. For...

  6. I have an outline for a book and I am talking to a "ghost writer". How do I protect it?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Michael E Gerity
    2. Pamela Koslyn
    3. Charles E. Colman
    4. Maurice N Ross
    4 lawyer answers

    To correct a possible misunderstanding, copyright protection "attaches" as soon as eligible material is fixed in a tangible medium. So the question (my apologies for nitpicking) is whether you should seek a *federal registration* for the book outline. I say yes: registration through the Copyright Office's online platform (https://eco.copyright.gov/eService_enu/start.swe?SWECmd=Start&SWEHo=eco.copyright.gov) is only $35, and the benefits of prompt registration may be significant later on. (...

  7. If I use the name zezetops for a product that is not associated with music would I be liable in civil court?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Vincent T Lyon
    2. Pamela Koslyn
    3. Charles E. Colman
    4. Maurice N Ross
    4 lawyer answers

    I wholeheartedly agree with the other practitioners' comments; as a result, I would avoid using the proposed trademark. Pamela is right that spelling is usually irrelevant in trademark disputes, so that probably won't protect you. Vincent is correct that there may be liability for trademark "dilution" even if there is no likelihood of confusion between the existing mark and your products -- and under certain state laws (like New York's) the mark diluted need not be "famous," as it must be for...

  8. Website Template Ownership Agreement (Contract)

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Pamela Koslyn
    2. Maurice N Ross
    3. Charles E. Colman
    3 lawyer answers

    No attorney on this site will be able to tell you for sure, because large portions of the document are blocked (in order to force people to purchase it, presumably.) Furthermore, even if the contract is effective under U.S./California law, it may not be enforceable under Indian law. With that said... I gather from your question that you are more concerned about the transfer of intellectual property rights than the terms of the work order. I discussed transfers of intellectual property...

  9. Can I use public domain elements within my work and still be able to copyright/protect it?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Pamela Koslyn
    2. Maurice N Ross
    3. Vincent T Lyon
    4. Charles E. Colman
    4 lawyer answers

    As my colleagues have noted, the use of public domain elements within your work will not be a barrier to copyright protection for its new, original elements. Section 103 of the Copyright Act makes this clear: "The subject matter of copyright . . . includes compilations and derivative works, but protection for a work employing preexisting material . . . extends only to the material contributed by the author of such work, as distinguished from the preexisting material employed in the work[.]"...

  10. Can I display various product image and their details on my set for consumer reviews and will not get slapped with legal notice?

    Answered over 3 years ago.

    1. Daniel Nathan Ballard
    2. Robert Scott Lawrence
    3. Pamela Koslyn
    4. Maurice N Ross
    5. Charles E. Colman
    5 lawyer answers

    Speaking only to the question about the use of product images, I would be less cautious than some of my colleagues. You should certainly have a DMCA (notice-and-takedown) procedure in place, the details of which are readily available on your website. However, the use of a company's copyrighted photos to facilitate criticism of the products in the photos may well be a "fair use" under Section 107 of the Copyright Act (provided the company owns the copyright in the photos, as will often --...