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Gordon Philip Firemark

Gordon Firemark’s Answers

175 total

  • What is the best way to terminate an equal 3rd party member from an LLC?

    This member is treasurer making it difficult to dissolve the position as member. This member is holding onto the articles of organization and checkbook accounts. There have been trust issues. How can we resolve this peacefully and what is a fai...

    Gordon’s Answer

    Step 1 - Check your LLC OPerating Agreement
    Step 2 - If the members have authority to vote another member out, conduct such a vote, following the procedures outlined in the Operating Agreement and/or state law (you probably should hire a lawyer to help draw up the documents for this)
    Step 3 - Notify the ousted member, and provide for buy-out payment as applicable.

    Note that the manner of calculating the amount of buy out payment may be specified in the Operating Agreement, or not. If not, look to state law.

    You may be required to hire an independent appraiser, or you may be able to determine the price from the company's books. Or, you may just need to make an offer, and negotiate a price.

    But don't fool yourself that this will be a "peaceful" process. You're talking about an adversarial thing...ousting a member who's disrupting the business operations. Unless he/she wants out, you're likely in for a fight (or at least a negotiation).

    It's also possible that the only solution will be to seek court action to dissolve the company, and then for you and the other members to form a new entity.

    Over the years, I've handled a few of these, and it's never clean and simple. The best thing you can do is prepare well, so the process encounters as few roadblocks as possible.

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  • If I want to have a free memorial kareoke fan concert in Michael Jackson's name on his birthday, can his estate stop it?

    Since M.J. is a historical / public fig. don't people have a free-speech amendment right to publicly gather to honor him, and can M.J. impersonators legally perform, in a place that has a full Entertainment license, or anyplace? Can they put the...

    Gordon’s Answer

    I recently dealt with almost this exact issue for a client. It's actually a much more complicated analysis that it might seem. There are rights beyond merely jackson's personna at stake here.
    For example, you'd likely need to license the music from the publishers, and the recordings from the record labels...

    It's not insurmountable, but it is complex. You need a lawyer for this project.

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  • Band fired drummer and he now claims we cannot sell album since he was 17 when it was recorded?

    My band fired our drummer for business reasons... he is now threatening us saying since he was a minor (17 at the time, now 18) when we recorded our album that we cannot sell it without his permission. He had no financial involvement in making th...

    Gordon’s Answer

    Yes, he is probably right. A minor's contract an be disaffirmed, so his agreement to be recorded and to have those recordings sold can likely be withdrawn.

    Some states have mechanisms to preent this, but it usually involves going to court to get the contract approved at the time it's made.

    Your best bet is to work out a settlement, or re record the album.

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  • Can I refer to a dead public figure in a play that I plan to write?

    I plan on writing a play in which the main character corresponds to a particular public figure before his/her death and then dealing with the implications in the main character's own life that their death brings. I was planning on using actual qu...

    Gordon’s Answer

    This really depends on what you're saying, how you're saying it, and how much of what you're saying is taken from the person's own writings and speeches. (and a bunch of other factors).

    You need to talk to a theatre lawyer ASAP.


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  • If a business opens across the street from my business, with a name nearly identical to mine, is than an infringement?

    My business is five years old. An employee has decided to open a VERY similar business, and has procured space across the street from my business. She is planning to name her business something VERY similar to my own business name. Am I protected,...

    Gordon’s Answer

    It really depends...

    For example, I your shop is "the LaGrange shoe store", and the other is "LaGrange shoe shop", you're probably out of luck.... But I it's more distinctive, you might have a case. You need a lawyer who knows trademarks, unfair business practices, etc.

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  • Do I need an attorney to file a trademark application?

    Can I file my trademark application myself or do I need a licensed attorney?

    Gordon’s Answer

    You CAN do it yourself... just like you CAN perform surgery on yourself... Neither is a good idea.

    I earn a chunk of my living fixing trademark applications filed by do-it-yourselfers. It always costs them more than if they'd had me do it right from the start.

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  • Is copyright infringed when I lend a book electronically?

    If I buy a book under copyright, as I understand it, I have the right to lend it or give it to a friend. Similarly when a library buys a book, not in the public domain, it has the right to lend it. If the book is in electronic format (an eBook) or...

    Gordon’s Answer

    Your question sort of misses the point.

    If you scan a hardcopy book, you are infringing the copyright, by making a copy of the work. This is very different from handing your physical copy to someone else, which is allowed under the law. Copying is NOT.

    If the work is already in e-book form, it's probably not actually been "sold" to you, but instead, you've purchased a license, which gives you only certain rights... specifically to read and retain the work in its electronic form. The license probably doesn't give you the right to give the data file to anybody else, or to publish it on your website.

    Posting a copyrighted work on your Web site without permission would be infringement as well, since doing so involves:
    1. Making a copy (onto the web server);
    2., making a derivative work (the website page(s) on which the material appears);
    3. distributing the copy (via the web); and
    4. displaying the work in public (via the web).

    All of these are exclusive rights belonging to the copyright owner... not the owner of a single copy.

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  • Is it legal for a major professor to take text directly out of her graduate students thesis and use it in a publication?

    The masters' thesis was copywrited. After it was copywrited, the major professor of the masters student took 1000 words verbatim from the thesis literature review and pasted them directly into her journal articlal/publication that totaled 2000 wo...

    Gordon’s Answer

    Ion is one where the student needs to hire a lawyer, and to tread carefully so as not to jeopardize his/her degree award...

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  • What legal docs do I need to submit scripts to networks to secure the “implied contract”...

    I'm a European born writer, US citizen. I've published overseas, and I'm looking for a copyright attorney in Los Angeles to prepare any legal documents necessary to send along with my scripts to Studios and Networks. I want to make sure that ther...

    Gordon’s Answer

    You don't need any documents, you need an agent.

    The studios won't sign anything., anyway.

    Most entertainment lawyers won't do submissions of this sort.

    Just beware of any submission release you may be asked to sign. Many are really a "license to steal"

    Again, devote your resources to finding an agent. That's the best avenue to getting your material into the hands of folks who might actually buy it.

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  • I am starting a business and I need to know how to get exclusive rights to the name?

    no more details needed, its a straight forward question.

    Gordon’s Answer

    It actually does depend on other information....

    Start by (if appropriate) forming a corporation, LLC or other entity under the name in question. This will stop others from doing the same.

    Business Names aren't inherently protectable by trademark or any other legal structure. It's the BRAND that is protectable....

    If the business name is also a trade- or -servicemark (i.e., a distinctive mark or symbol affixed to goods or services to identify the source or origin thereof), then registering a trademark is a good idea.

    Note that it has to be a "distinctive" mark, in order to be registrable.

    More information on trademark registration can be found at

    Although it's possible to do trademark registration yourself through the website, it's not advised, as it's easy to get wrong. An experienced expert is really invaluable.

    Similarly, using online legal document services (like the one with "zoom" in its name) may be fine for a clear, distinctive, simple application, you may find yourself paying lawyers more to fix an improperly prepared application than you would to have it done right the first time.

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