A crafter scores a piece of paper and then folds it so an end view looks like this _l_l_l_ Then pages are attached to the double walled vertical "fins" to create pages that turn with 1/2" space between each page. Can I create a tutorial on how to make my book using this same method of attaching pages and then sell that tutorial?
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
You are asking us to perform what is called a "clearance "analysis" or a "freedom to operate" analysis. None of us can do this for you in a few minutes in response to a question like this. The issue is whether your proposed tutorial would violate patent, copyright, trademark or other laws protecting intellectual property rights. It is quite possible that the method for making the book is protected by existing patents. Thus, you would need to retain counsel to conduct a patent search and analysis. You also could run into copyright problems if the other crafter published a substantially similar tutorial. And could run into trouble under trademark law and unfair competition law. The content of your tutorial must be reviewed by legal counsel, before it is released, and it must be compared to existing patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade dress. Such a review will not cheap.
I agree with my colleague. You need to hire your own lawyer to go over your proposed product.
I'm not at all sure what you mean by mentioning "the same way another crafter does," since that implies that either 1) you want to produce a product that either person is already using, and may have copyright, trademark or patent rights to, or 2) LOTS of others use this method and thus no one is likely is have rights to it, other than possibly trademark rights under a certain brand name.
When you sit down with your own attorney-client privileged lawyer, you can bring a sample of what you propose and how you propose to do it, and this free, anonymous website doesn't allow for that kind of service.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
Intellectual Property Law Attorney
Avvo is for finding a lawyer to give you that advice, not for avoiding hiring a lawyer to give you that advice. The advice here is general not specific until you hire one of us and establish an attorney-client relationship. Use the site for it's intended purpose.
In general, a clearance search would be needed to give meaningful advice. What on earth makes you think anyone here is going to do that for you for free for a non-client?
I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.
My answer will probably give you the answer you *want*, but I am stressing the point, please hire an attorney to do the true analysis for you in an opinion letter.
You can do a tutorial on the process, but you should check the online copyright office first (http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First).
The tutorial itself could then be copyrighted by you, as your own "fair use" of a current project.
This is not indemnity for using someone else's idea.
Even without official registration with the U.S. Copyright Office, an idea is still "copyrighted" and the intellectual property of another person. But they would have to prove that it was their original idea, and not yours. There are arguments that are in your favor -- but only after lengthy court battles and lawyer fees. If you pay a few hundred dollars up front for legal help in your town or state, it can save you thousands of dollars spent on lawyer fees later on.
This posting is intended for general education and isn't "legal advice." It neither creates nor evidences an attorney-client relationship. You are encouraged to engage an attorney in the pertinent jurisdiction for confidential legal advice on matters of any importance