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Anthony Andrew Czuchnicki

Anthony Czuchnicki’s Answers

2 total

  • Is custom hand lettering in an unpublished sketch for a logo potentially copyrightable?

    The lettering is not based on any preexisting typeface and was drawn free hand. The lettering is 2 words, no single letters, and comprises the entire name of the company and the logo has no other symbols or icons. I am a bit confused by what I ha...

    Anthony’s Answer

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    The short answer to your question is no. What you may be confused by is the fact that the law currently distinguishes between a "typeface" and a "font."

    A "typeface" is "a set of letters, numbers, or other symbolic characters, whose forms are related by repeating design elements consistently applied in a notational system and are intended to be embodied in articles whose intrinsic utilitarian function is for use in composing text or other cognizable combinations of characters." So what does that mean? What this essentially means is "how" letters look and the "elements" that make them look like they are related to each other is not copyrightable.

    A "font," on the other hand, is computer code that allows a computer to display a typeface, and this "code" is currently copyrightable.

    Congress has considered changing the current state of the law to allow for copyright protection of "typeface" but this has not happened for many years.

    An interesting note is that typeface is patentable; so you might have to make sure that your typeface as it currently exists does not infringe a valid patent, and if it doesn't, you could consider protecting it through the patent laws, but this can be very expensive and time consuming.

    If you want to protect your typeface in some way (other than through patent law), you could trademark the name of the company using your typeface, so long as the name of the company is not already trademarked in the company's industry. But this would not protect the typeface itself; anyone could use this typeface for another company in an unrelated industry.

    I hope this helps clarify your issue.


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  • Can I write a feature film script using characters from a short film that was written by someone else?

    I came up with the story for a short film and had my friend write it. So it's an original story by me and him, and he has the screenwriter credit. Now I want to write a feature film script using the same characters, but a new story. We made a c...

    Anthony’s Answer

    Your question has a lot of moving parts, and makes a reply somewhat difficult. The prime issue is whether your contract is valid, and what relationship was created between you and your friend.

    It sounds like what you tried to create is a "joint work." A joint work is "a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or independent parts of a unitary whole." But based on the limited information given, there could be a real issue as to whether your contribution was substantive copyrightable material or merely an idea. If you contributed inseparable substantive information, then you would have a good argument for joint ownership. On the other hand, if all you contributed was an idea, it is much more likely that your friend owned the copyright at the end of production.

    The fact that you and your friend drew up the contract at the end of the production is very helpful as an argument that your friend executed a transfer of ownership to you, even if he owned the entirety of the rights at the end of production. Presuming your contract constitutes a valid transfer of ownership, then you would be entitled to create a derivative work based on the copyright you now own. But, if your contract is an invalid transfer of rights, then the copyright would still reside with your friend, and you could be viewed as infringing his copyright with your derivative work.

    Another layer of complication deals with whether this work was registered with the Copyright Office. A copyright owner is precluded from filing an infringement suit until registered with the Copyright Office.

    I hope this information helps, and good luck with your film career.


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