Skip to main content
Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce Burdick’s Answers

8,258 total


  • Transformative Use of Disney Characters?

    I am making a product to sell and I want to do a "princess theme" for each of the big princesses. I have generic cartoon princess that I purchased online that do not at all resemble the look of the Disney princesses but I would like to change the...

    Bruce’s Answer

    Your proposed derivatives would not be transformative, and would be likely copyright infringement unfair competition and likely trademark infringement. Using Disney color scheme to make customers think of Disney is likely to generate confusion as to source or affililation. Indeed, isn't that why you propose to do it? Keep them generic or, better yet, create your own new princesses with your own original character names so YOU not Disney has the IP.

    See question 
  • Can I use quotes from inspirational leaders and motivational quotes found online and use them on gift items and sell online?

    I want to take quotes and sayings about motivation and print them on gift items such as pens, posters, etc. and sell them on my website. Does this violate copyright laws?

    Bruce’s Answer

    Asked and answered many times before here on Avvo. Rather than repeat my prior answers, I refer you to the link below

    See question 
  • How to fully Copyright a website that is updated multiple times a day?

    My website is currently under development and I want to properly Copyright it once we publish it on the web. However, to my understanding Copyright registration for online works only covers what was submitted at that time, and not future updates. ...

    Bruce’s Answer

    You should take note that copyright protection is automatic under 17 USC 102 when you create the website on any tangible medium of expression. Review the Compendium generously referenced by my colleague, as that will answer most of your basic questions. Likely you will want to register copyright on the key original appearance features of the website. You need to know that with billions of websites in existence, it is likely your protection is limited. You need to realize that many countries permit copying of Internet content. You should review this with an IP attorney or Internet attorney for some general guidelines and to hopefully get the basic registrations you should have, if any.

    See question 
  • I want to sell t-shirts with band's logo also somes with apple logo.Can I get sued for this even I live in Ecuador

    I will sell the t-shirts in my website, I want to make t-shirts with big time rush, one direction, apple, etc logo I live in Ecuador

    Bruce’s Answer

    You know this is illegal in the US. It is almost certainly illegal in Ecuador, also. Those are world famous brand names.

    You risk criminal prosecution, as does anyone whom through whom you would sell in the US.

    Moreover, you risk having your product confiscated by US Customs (CBP-ICE).

    Your risk is proportional to how much you sell.

    Any website on which you do this, if in the US (such as Amazon or eBay) will have a DMCA policy that will likely be used to take you webpages or even website down for infringement. Your customers in the USA will likely be confronted, especially if they are resellers. This is very risky for you. Be careful or you will end up in jail.

    See question 
  • 1. Personal picture used by magazine as banner for article. 2. Pictures being sold of artist with out permission

    Is it legal for Magazine to 'lift' a picture from personal album on Facebook page and use it as their magazine banner and in body of article and make money without permission..? The magazine is in Los Angeles, Ca. 2. Company that sel...

    Bruce’s Answer

    Sounds like two law schools hypothetical questions. In the first you need to know California has specific law with regard to commercial use of a person's name or likeness. In the second hypo, there are much more likely claims of violation of right of publicity, subject to possible fair use or free speech exceptions in the right circumstances. Consult an IP or Entertainment law attorney.

    See question 
  • If I make an app using different college universities, just there name, not logo or mascot, do I need their approval?

    even if it has to do with drinking

    Bruce’s Answer

    This depends on the context and the specifics of the use. For example, if you imply sponsorship, endorsement, affiliation or approval of the universities, you will need approval to avoid unfair competition under 15 USC 1125. If it is clear the universities have nothing to do with the game and are merely being used to provide background or context, then unfair competition is likely not the problem, yet you may still have problems if the University is negatively portrayed as somehow condoning underage drinking. The safe and ethical thing is to obtain approval or provide a very clear disclaimer, such disclaimer being prepared or at least reviewed and approved by an attorney.

    Your level of risk will depend on the details of the usage, so we can only give general guidance. If this is a real situation then you need to consult an IP attorney before proceeding.

    See question 
  • How do I establish the age of an original printing to establish copyright?

    This design is over 40 years old and several claims have been made to ownership/copyright by other people, but I have an original printing document that predates all the other claims. What should I do?

    Bruce’s Answer

    Mere possession of an original printing document does not give you claim to copyright. Rights belong to the creator or printer or assignee. It may be impossible to know for sure unless the item is registered with the Copyright Office. So, one first step would be to check the records of the US Copyright Office at www.copyright.gov . If you do not know how, the Copyright Office will search for you for a fee.

    Forensics experts can likely determine the age of your printing, but that will not determine the age of the original, if earlier. As noted by my colleague, age of the printing likely does not matter in establishing copyright. Age might matter if this is unpublished (see https://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm) and pre-1894, but the rights would be expired. Age (date of publication) might matter if published with proper copyright protection . Again, see the copyright term chart at https://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm and look up the particulars for your printing.

    If, after review of the copyright term chart referenced above, you still cannot determine whether this is public domain and the value is sufficient to justify further inquiry, you might consult a copyright attorney (IP attorney) for further research.

    See question 
  • Add a class of products to a registered trademark

    I have already registered a trademark, but I would like to expand it to include a new class of products on an intent to use basis. Should I file a form to amend the registration or I have to file a completely new registration?

    Bruce’s Answer

    A new application is both needed and desirable. Needed because you cannot add a new class to an existing application. Desirable because you do not likely want to make them dependent on each other.

    See question 
  • Internet copy right movie infringement by my tenant

    I have an apartment rented to 3 different individual tenants. I provide them Internet service from Comcast. Recently I got a letter sent to this rental building from a law firm. The letter mentioned that they have got my information from Comcast b...

    Bruce’s Answer

    You should not be responsible for your tenant's unauthorized download s if you take reasonable actions to try to prevent infringement.
    You should use the find a lawyer tab and search for Thomas Urbanczyk or Erin Russell, both of whom handle those cases frequently. For the copyright attorney to have gotten your name (if they did - and perhaps they only have your IP address. ) there should have been more than one download.

    See question 
  • How much I can sell my idea?

    Dear, Good day. How much I can really sell my website idea to the prospect? Is my earning is consider one time or monthly commission basis from them? How can I actually find the right prospects? How can...

    Bruce’s Answer

    This is a legal forum to help you find the right attorney. You need a salesperson or business manager. We can't quote a price without any facts. It is surprising you would ask.

    See question