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Frank A. Natoli
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Frank Natoli’s Answers

7,914 total


  • When you write a script based on a true story, can you take license with conversations you guess may have taken place?

    I wrote a screenplay and want to know if you can take license with conversations you believe have taken place. The people are living and its a true story.

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, of course you can, but you always have concerns of painting someone in a false light which can expose you to claims of defamation. If the people depicted in your story are real and private people, that is they are not public figures or in the context of being "newsworthy" then you expose yourself to claims for the public disclosure of private facts assuming they are real facts, personal and injurious.

    I would not however be too alarmed by this, as in general you are really free to write about anything or anyone you want.

    If you are taking this seriously, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Copyright/privately owned website.

    Hi. I own a privately established distribution which only sells to customers as a private domain. No one publicly can access this distribution as it's made for the already listed consumers. As this page is private in addition we're aware th...

    Frank’s Answer

    Whether or not the site is easily accessible or "private" in your words is not really relevant. The issue is whether the use of another company's logo on your webpages causes any market confusion.

    You are always free to refer to trademarks descriptively in text but using a brand's logo is often seen as using more than what is necessary to express your point. For example, it is the reason we see Coke or Pepsi written in menus instead of "cola flavored carbonated beverage," we call this "nominative fair use." But if you present a false association, endorsement, sponsorship or other affiliation with a brand you afford them a cause of action, which is more easily proved out when using their logos and trade dress.

    The context really matters here. If you are taking this seriously, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Would i be infeinging on the pokemon copyrights if i made a documentary about it.

    I'd like to film a movie about the overnight craze about pokemon go but i dont want to be sued for using images from the game or show. What would I need or what should I avoid ?

    Frank’s Answer

    This platform is suited to more pointed general questions not research matters like you are suggesting. Of course you can make a doc film on the game and most of what you would use would likely fall under the realm of fair use, but you need to do some research so you have at least a general understanding of what that means then consult with legal counsel so you know you are moving in the right direction.

    The following is a good place to start for a solid overview:
    http://cmsimpact.org/code/documentary-filmmakers-statement-of-best-practices-in-fair-use/

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Can I adapt a novel a novel to screenplay that I don't own?

    I know the answer to the above question. I can't. But I am a screenwriting teacher and I want to advise my students (in a book on sale around the whole world) to try adapting a novel. In some cases, a novel they don't own. I am telling them up fro...

    Frank’s Answer

    These adaptations are created and negotiated all the time before any rights are cleared. That in itself is not a problem. As noted, publication would be the problem. The screenwriter needs to understand well what she is facing regards to procuring rights. Is it a forgone conclusion that a license can be obtained or are there many obstacles involved? In many cases, it is as easy as paying into an already structured scheme. In others you may have to negotiate with the estate of a deceased author.

    I disagree that you exposure yourself here in any meaningful way so long as you can show that they were informed about copyright protections and admonished not to publish anything or infringe in any way. This is not to say that if someone felt that they were injured they could not name you in a suit as well under some contributory infringement theory, they could of course, but based on these facts that might very hard for them to prove out.

    Before you jump in here, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Do I need help with a case against me for copyright infringement

    Son downloaded movie and got caught. The claimant's representation has sent me a request for money so as not to include me in the final lawsuit to all john does who were identified doing this. The name on the account was mine so the suit is dir...

    Frank’s Answer

    Doing nothing is certainly a strategy because you are playing the very good odds that they would never invest in litigation over something so minute. But I have seen cases where aggressive plaintiffs actually filed suit along with numerous other defendants even though the infringement was very small and with minimal damage. To be clear, this would be a very rare occurrence.

    You are also free to try and settle out for something much less than whatever they demand. As others note there is a lot of information available about the copyright trolling industry so take some time to research it a bit.

    Then I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your best course of action in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Can i register a class of goods and online store name as same trademark under same name?

    For example. I want to sell class of products under name "Sample products". My webstore's name and domain will be "Sample products" and sampleproducts.com The store will be selling different products from different brands, but I want some parti...

    Frank’s Answer

    Yes, if I understand you correctly all this means is that you will need to file under more than one class. For example, if you are just retailing products made by others this falls under the general business services class 35. If however you become the source of one of those products like say clothing then you would also register the name under class 25.

    Before you invest in any trademark make sure you get some legal guidance upfront. It is of course best practice to clear it before you start using any trademark and starting with a strong one is your best strategy. Know as well that merely registering your business name with a state or county agency or acquiring a domain does not convey any right to use that name in commerce as a source identifier or trademark. For example, I can presumably register my new tech start up "Boogle" with the FL secretary of state because there is no other business already doing business there under that name, but this does not mean that I would not be infringing on the Google trademark, which I would be. The onus is on you to ensure the name you choose is not a problem.

    Your trademark will be one of if not the most important and valuable business assets you will have and you will ultimately spend more money in support if it than you will anywhere else (advertising, marketing, PR, branding, packaging, etc.). So you owe it to your business and yourself to make sure you handle this properly upfront and the first order of business always starts with a proper and comprehensive clearance.

    Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence on all the text names upfront and before you start spending any money in support of it or submit an application to the USPTO. In the US, this means searching under both federal (USPTO) as well as common law because trademark rights stem from use in this country NOT registration. This means that acquiring a federal registration does not necessarily mean that you are not infringing on another's intellectual property. See the links below on the importance of the due diligence process and common start up mistakes from Entrepreneur Magazine and our overview guide.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with and know you are free to work with counsel located anywhere as you have many options available not just those that provide services in your home state.

    http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220224

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/the-import...

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • Misuse of my name and professional expertise

    An organization published an annual report with my name claiming I am an expert advisor to them. I never accepted such position or advised them. I did apply to be part of their board but was refused. They claim that they kept my application in the...

    Frank’s Answer

    You received some good insights, but you didn't say whether you asked them to stop doing that. If not, why not just let them know you object. If they refuse, then hire legal counsel to send a demand on them. If that doesn't work, I am all but certain you would have some ripe claims to bring.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • How do I make a terms of submission?

    I currently have a website where people can submit a videos. I then post them on my Youtube channel. However, I don't want to get copyrighted so I'm not really sure what I should do.

    Frank’s Answer

    You need to have the proper terms and conditions/privacy policy prepared that governs the transaction between your entity and your users. It will speak to things like the proper licenses (permissions) and IP controls, etc.

    Before you do anything, I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • What can I do about another company using my business name, web site, phone number and address in it's key words.

    I have a competitor that is using my business name, web site, phone number and address in it's key words.

    Frank’s Answer

    You already received some very good insights here. In cases like this there is very little we can offer here.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your situation and best course of action in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question 
  • What is the procedure for informing businesses that they can license my trademark?

    If I have a trademarked service and I want to expand availability of the service by licensing that trademark to other people, is there a specific place or specific information I need to have on my website to make people aware of the option? Do I...

    Frank’s Answer

    This requires way more attention to get at a proper response than anything we can provide here over a free and public Q&A platform. My main concern out of the gate is that you would be falling into a franchise by default both under federal as well as NY law (and presumably other states as well), which appears to be the jurisdiction you are writing from. You will need very specific legal guidance to figure out the best strategy to accomplish your objectives.

    Before you invest in any trademark make sure you get some legal guidance upfront. It is of course best practice to clear it before you start using any trademark and starting with a strong one is your best strategy. Know as well that merely registering your business name with a state or county agency or acquiring a domain does not convey any right to use that name in commerce as a source identifier or trademark. For example, I can presumably register my new tech start up "Boogle" with the NY secretary of state because there is no other business already doing business there under that name, but this does not mean that I would not be infringing on the Google trademark, which I would be. The onus is on you to ensure the name you choose is not a problem.

    Your trademark will be one of if not the most important and valuable business assets you will have and you will ultimately spend more money in support if it than you will anywhere else (advertising, marketing, PR, branding, packaging, etc.). So you owe it to your business and yourself to make sure you handle this properly upfront and the first order of business always starts with a proper and comprehensive clearance.

    Whenever you endeavor into investing in a trademark it is very important that you conduct the proper clearance due diligence on all the text names upfront and before you start spending any money in support of it or submit an application to the USPTO. In the US, this means searching under both federal (USPTO) as well as common law because trademark rights stem from use in this country NOT registration. This means that acquiring a federal registration does not necessarily mean that you are not infringing on another's intellectual property. See the links below on the importance of the due diligence process and common start up mistakes from Entrepreneur Magazine and our overview guide.

    I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with and know you are free to work with counsel located anywhere as you have many options available not just those that provide services in your home state.

    http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/220224

    http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/the-import...

    Best regards,
    Frank
    Natoli-Lapin, LLC

    See question