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John Robert Crossan

John Crossan’s Answers

124 total


  • Can I use this name?

    I want to open an entertainment/physical activity business in Chicago. In my search under trademarks I've found out that a music company and recording studio in a different state is already using my "perfect" business name. Could I still use the...

    John’s Answer

    I can help you right here in Chicago. Give me a call and we can talk and/or meet to discuss and resolve your issues.

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  • Can I buy licensed disney merchandise on clearance from target etc and relist them for profit on Amazon/or gift theme website?

    Looking to purchase licensed disney, hello kitty, DC Comics & other licensed and authentic merchandise from retailers like Target, Kohls, etc when they are on clearance and remarket them in my Amazon store and personal gift based website. I don't ...

    John’s Answer

    Yes, you can do this subject to all the caveats and cautions that you mention. If the merchandise is authentic first quality products, but simply are on end-of season clearance or the like, you are free to purchase and resell same with the original makers' tags etc., and even the store tags (you might cut off the prices, tho). My only caution is not to use the stores' photos of the products, as that could raise copyright problems - take your own digital photos. Keep records of all your purchases and of making your own photos (they can be modeled on the ideas of the stores' photos but must be your own work, or that of someone you have hired to do the photos). You should retain IP counsel to guide you in any uncertain areas, tho. Best wishes for this venture.

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  • Can I paint an original design on pants (say a pair of Guess Jeans) and sell them for profit?

    I want to paint on clothing and sell it as usable artwork . I do not want to design the shape of the garment though . My concern is whether or not using a company's article of clothing as my canvas is illegal . People paint and print on name br...

    John’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    Yes, you can paint on jeans just as others paint on T-shirts, and sell or re-sell them at a profit, so long as you make clear to purchasers that the painting, but not the underlying garment, is yours. The only way a serious issue could arise is if Guess, for instance, sold its own jeans with its own painted-on designs that yours would likely be confused with. So long as you identify yourself as the artist there should be no issue with this work. Best wishes.

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  • Can i copyright a basic butterfly shape/silhouette?

    should i fear being sued for copyright infringement of simple animal shape?

    John’s Answer

    If you created the "simple animal shape" from an actual animal, without copying from another person's similar shape, you would not be liable for copyright infringement. However, anyone can sue anyone else for anything (subject to motions to dismiss and award of attorney fees for frivolous litigation), so whenever you do anything in public you could in theory have such a fear. If you create and publish your animal shape, just be sure that it is indeed original with you and not copied (even from memory) from another's work and you'll most likely be fine with little to no worry of a claim against you. If you are really concerned of being sued, keep records of your creation of your work, as photos of the various stages of your creation and have them signed and dated by another person or two. Best wishes.

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  • My roommate was downloading illegal torrents. How do I protect myself ?

    I have disconnected his internet.

    John’s Answer

    Unless the Internet connection is in your name, you would not be implicated in any Copyright infringement issue. If it is in your name, you should take an image of your computer's hard drive (not a backup) to a spare, external hard drive and put that away for 3 years to show, if necessary, that it was not you who downloaded the movies (assuming hat the roommate downloaded to his or her computer, not to yours. Other steps to protect yourself may be appropriate -- hire a copyright lawyer and take his or her advice. Best wishes!

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  • Do I own my own image?

    About 29 years ago, I was "famous" for something academic, and during the course of that time, I was in the newspaper a few times. Right now, on Ebay, someone is selling the original newspaper photos of me which were printed back in 1984. I am sur...

    John’s Answer

    Newspapers are archived in most public and university libraries and now on-line. As a then-"famous" person you have no right to your own image as published long ago - the newspaper would, and perhaps the photographer, but not you as the once-famous subject of the photos. You might have some sort of action under state law if the photos are demeaning to you presently, or the newspaper or photographer might like not to have its photos resold, but that is their business, not yours. Best wishes.

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  • Shirts for sale that say "Mitt Romney is my sex slave" on a website, woman decided to take MY PHASE AND GO TO ANOTHER WEBSITE

    I made that phase up a year go it has been on cafepress website for months, and this woman just took for her own do I have a case?

    John’s Answer

    Short phrases are by law not subject to copyright, as there is not the requisite creativity and expressiveness to support registration. That is a position strongly enforced by the Copyright Office. And, by the way, if you have not filed to register your claim to copyright, you will find yourself out of luck for statutory damages anyway. Better luck in your next venture.

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  • How to find copyright expiration?

    So a website has copyright either from 2007-2011 or alternatively 2007-2012. I wish to both purchase the domain name and the copyright at the end of its term and want to know when that will be. I can search on www.whois.com for the domain name exp...

    John’s Answer

    Find is google.com or such the Cornell Law Library or another site that has laboriously calculated the copyright status of all works created and/or published from 1776 to date. You'll find that no copyright since about 1920 has yet expired, and works from after 2000 will outlive you. Best wishes.

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  • Question about publishing/sharing rights to a photo?

    Several years ago I purchased a photo of a relative, killed in combat, that a local historical society had in it's holding. I was required to sign an agreement that it was only for personal, private (non-digital) use. I've since discovered the...

    John’s Answer

    This is perhaps a close question of law and practice. You are not entitled to violate your agreement nor to copy a photo from a newspaper or microfilm in a library. That the newspaper bearing the photo in the library is defunct is no reason to violate the photographer's right in the photo. However, if you contact the historical society and ask permission to share it with the war memorial, they likely will concur since that is an allied institution. If they refuse, even when you explain its publication in the defunct newspaper, then you could contact the photographer and obtain permission from him/her to submit it to the war memorial. Failing that, you could get advice from the war memorial staff or its law office about submitting your copy of the photo to the memorial for display; any digitization would be at the museum's risk, not yours. If you kept a backup copy of the photo for your personal, private, non-digital use,, who would know, absent a lawsuit or criminal copyright violation proceeding?

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  • Patent infringement lawsuit

    In a patent infringement lawsuit, what could be the possible bad outcomes for a plaintiff? i mean basically in the case a plaintiff alleging that the defendant infringed his patent. What can the plaintiff loose if the defedant wins the case? the p...

    John’s Answer

    Besides loss of the patent by invalidation (as for prior art, failure of disclosure, derivation from another, etc.) or for inequitable conduct (concealing known prior art, misleading an examiner, etc.), and for any of 50 other reasons, and paying your own attorney fees and expenses of the suit (filing costs, depositions, travel, expert fees, etc.), you can be held liable for defendant's attorney fees in an "exceptional case" and for court costs (including deposition fees, witness fees, expert fees, etc.) in an ordinary case. If you have a good faith basis for proceeding, go get em; if infringement is a stretch or validity is iffy or there are skeletons in the file history in the Patent Office, forget it. Best wishes.

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