Hey, I got A question about Trademarks and/or Copyrights. I am starting a T-shirt Brand. And want to know if A slogan or text with the first or Last Name of a historical figure can be Printed on a T-shirt. To Give You A Few Examples: “E...
This is a more complicated issue than you may realize. There are two main legal problems:
First, celebrities and their decedents (depending on the State where they died) have rights of publicity. If you use the image or name of a famous celebrity (Frank Sinatra) to market and sell your T-shirts without permission, you could be violating their rights of publicity, There are complicated issues regarding "fair use" and the First Amendment that sometime allow you to avoid right of publicity issues, but each specific phrase or T-shirt would have to be evaluated on its own. Unfortunately, the law in this area is quite unsettled. For example, in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, there have been a serious of inconsistent and somewhat contradictory rulings about how the right of publicity attaches to wearing images on T-shirts and/or use the name of celebrities on T-shirts. This is an unsettled area of the law but as a practical matter, it is dangerous to sell T-shirts that use celebrity names and images without permission from the celebrity.
Secondly. it is quite possible that some of the phrases you would use could be protected as trademarks owned by third parties., You would need your IP counsel to conduct a trademark clearance analysis for each phrase. For example, it is quite possible that there is a company with the trademark "Einstein Was a Pisces" that uses this trademark to identify the source or band name for a line of clothing or other products. You have legal duty before you begin selling T-shirts to make sure that the phrases you use do not violate third party trademarks---which means that you need to retain IP counsel to conduct a trademark search for each phrase that you want to use. This can become expensive. In addition to searching in the US, you need your lawyer to search for trademarks in every country in which you may operate---you will probably need searches at least in the U.S. and Canada (but probably Mexico and Europe as well). Trademark rights remain national---so each country where you may have customers need to be checked. In the internet age, you will probably be selling your T-shirts in many countries.
If you are going into a business that involves phrases like this, you absolutely must retain legal counsel to advise you. The risks are too great to proceed without legal counsel. That means you need a substantial sum to pay for competent legal counsel. The success or failure of your business will be dependent on how you navigate through these legal issues---I tell my clients all the time in the fashion world that compliance with legal obligations is at least as important as the creativity and attractiveness of their designs. You can have the best ideas in the world for your T-shirts, but if you violate third party IP rights, your business will fail. Thus, it is critical from the start to work with IP counsel (which means you need a budget for this---this is not a $2,000 problem, it is a $25,000 or more cost---starting a business without investing substantial amounts in laying the proper legal framework is simply no longer realistic in today's economy).See question
My question is related to this older question here and the answers given by the attorneys. https://www.avvo.com/legal-answers/i-am-not-listed-as-an-inventor-on-a-patent-althoug-21323.html As an entrepreneur I had been trying to find expert pr...
If the inventor was your employee when he developed the technology, you own the patent rights and the employee is entitled to nothing other than to have is name listed as inventor. However, if you had an employment agreement with this employee that gave the employee rights to share in royalties or earnings from the invention, you would have to honor the agreement. In the absence of a written employment agreement, you own the rights.
Nonetheless, it would be a very good idea for you to cultivate a good relationship with this employee. You will need him to assist in preparing the patent application. He will need to be named as the inventor, and he will need to execute various documents in order for you to file the patent application---you won't be able to get very far in preparing and filing the patent application without his help. Thus, you probably need to make a deal with him for his assistance and cooperation. If the invention is as valuable as you think, then you should be willing to fairly compensate this former employer for his cooperation.
This is a delicate matter---if this former employee realizes how valuable his work was, he could try to extract large financial concessions from you in exchange for his cooperation. And you definitely need his cooperation---even though you own the invention, you will need him both for drafting and filing the patent application, and licensing and enforcing it. No one will pay good money for a patent if they cannot have access to the inventor, or if the inventor will not cooperate when the time comes to enforce it.
Thus, you need to retain patent/IP counsel to work out a deal with this former employee. This is really critical if you believe you have a valuable invention. You cannot just ignore this guy because you need him.See question
I am singer/songwriter and I was given a couple of beats (instrumentals) to write to, record and submit to major label artists to cover. Before doing so I would like to protect my songs. I do not own rights to the instrumentals but I want to prote...
This is far more complicated than you may realize. I am a working musician and lawyer, and I live with this problem every day.
First, please understand that copyright protection exists even if you do not register. Registration is required before you can sue for infringement, but I usually advise people that they need not register until their song is published (meaning released to the public on a CD. digital download or in some other format).
Second, there are several elements to a song, each of which may be entitled to separate copyright protection. The musical composition (words and music) ordinarily the subject of a separate copyright registration from the sound recording or videos. Depending on how the song is written, separate copyright registrations can be filed for the lyrics, music, and arrangement. These copyrights belong to the song writers.
Aside from songwriter copyrights, there are "mechanical" copyrights which belong to the person who makes the sound recording (generally a record label or producer). The sound recording is subject to a separate copyright registration.
In addition, the performances of artists are subject to separate copyright protection when they are recorded in a sound recording or video recording. The Artists and musicians who perform own copyrights in their performances (but ordinarily these are assigned to the record label or producer pursuant to artist agreements, and a single copyright registration is filed for the sound recording that includes performances).
If the sound recording is included in a music video, film, movie, or television show, a separate copyright exists for the video version, which is subject to a synchronization license.
Until you and your music label/producer decide when, how, and in what format you are going to publish your song (which usually means release it to the public), it is probably premature to decide how to register it with the copyright office. You don't want to make mistakes by prematurely registering it--which may turn out to be a waste of time and money---remember, the purpose of registration is to permit you to enforce your copyright in litigation against third parties. But you already have copyright protection for your song--it arises automatically under US law when you create the song.
By the way, if you use someone else's "beats", you should have a written license agreement or assignment agreement that records your right to use those beats. Without a written agreement, you are asking for trouble in the future if your song is a hit. And when you file for copyright protection, you have to disclaim ownership of the copyright in the beats.
It sounds to me that you are new to all of this. If you are building a career in music as a singer/songwriter, you need to educate yourself on how the business works, most of which is dictated by copyright, licensing, music publishing law, and other legal matters. You should read some books on music publishing and licensing. And most importantly, you should retain a lawyer with experience in the industry to advise you from the very beginning. While creating songs is fun and wonderful art, music is a business and must be treated as such. I am literally a working musician--tonight I am playing at a piano bar in New York on the late shift starting at 11:00 p.m. (I do this after I finish my law work), Having represented many successful singers/bands/songwriters, I can tell you that nothing is more important for you than to retain and work with trusted music/copyright/IP counsel and to educate yourself on copyright and music publishing law. It is everything if you want to survive and make money in the business.See question
I have a charm shop on Etsy. There is anther charm shop on Etsy that is one of the top sellers. "Bohemian Findings." I use the phrase "Bohemian Findings" in my tags. This phrase is such as "jewelry findings", "craft findings", etc. So if I create...
Are you sure the e-mail said that the tag was copyrighted? In general, short phrases are not subject to copyright protection. However, a short phrase such as "Bohemian Findings" could be protected as a trademark. My guess is that the e-mails are suggesting that your use of the phrase "Bohemian Findings" violated trademark rights, A trademark identifies the source of goods and services. If you use someone else's trademark without their permission, you can be liable for trademark infringement if your use creates a likelihood of consumer confusion.
In your situation, it is quite possible that your use of the phrase violates trademark rights of this competitive shop. However, it is also possible that these trademark rights are invalid. For example, you cannot assert trademark rights in phrases or words that have become generic. Without doing substantially more research, I can't advise you as to whether the phrase "Bohemian Findings: is generic, nor can I advise whether your competitor has trademark rights in the phrase (either common law rights, or rights pursuant to federal, state or foreign trademark registrations.
Unfortunately, matters like this are complex. That means you cannot expect to receive definitive advise on a web-site service such as Avvo. I
Note that if you are operating a shop on Etsy, you have an absolute legal obligation to make sure that you are not violating IP rights of third parties. This includes the trademarks and photographs that you use to market and sell products. You also have a duty to make sure all products you sell are authentic, and do not violate patents, copyrights, or trademarks of third parties. If you sell "knock off" goods or wrongly use someone's trademark without permission, you could be liable for substantial financial damages even if you were not aware that you were doing anything wrong. Infringement of trademarks, patents and copyrights are strict liability offenses, and it is the duty of every shop owner to take steps to assure that it is not IP rights of others.
For shops that operate on Etsy or E-bay, this means that you should retain and work with legal counsel to set up systems to minimize the risk of liability that you could face for violating third party IP rights. Operating a shop on Etsy is not for amateurs because the risk of financial liability if IP and other rights are violated are substantial. If you want to successfully operate your shop and avoid IP problems such as this, you should retain IP counsel to conduct "clearance analysis" to make sure that your operations do not violate third party IP rights. You also should consider purchasing intellectual property/advertising insurance to protect you in the event you are sued for violating IP rights.See question
I am registering my "collection of songs 2016" with US Copyright Office, and I see two options: Example 1: "20 Songs" exist in the collection, "Collection 1" Select “Title of Larger Work” for the Album "Collection 1". Select “Title of Wor...
This is much more complicated than you may realize and you should not do this yourself. Registering a large group of songs as a collection is only feasible if they are published at the same time. Further, songs often are subject to several copyrights--- (a) the musical composition (music and lyrics is one copyright (although sometimes there are separate registrations for music and lyrics, or music, lyrics and arrangements), (b) the sound recording, (c) the artist's performance, and (d) any video that incorporates the music, performances and sound recordings, You can't register all of these elements as a collection.
Further, it is a very bad idea to register a large number of songs as a collection, because you drastically limit your rights to collect damages for infringement. Copyright law allows statutory damages of between $750 and $150,000 for each "work". If you register 20 songs as a collection, there is a good chance that the collection would be considered a single work, limiting your recovery. If you register each song separately, and separately register the musical composition from the sound recording, performances and videos, you may be entitled to statutory damages for each song. Multiply 20 times $150,000 and that represents a lot of potential cash. Thus, it is really foolish to register lots of songs as a separate work.
Here is the good news---you may not even need to register these songs now. It is probably unnecessary and premature. Copyright protection arises automatically whenever a work is created. You already have copyright protection for your songs. I often represent artists, record labels, and musicians (and I am a working pianist), and I advise my clients to register only at the time the songs are first published (released to the public). As long as you register within three months of publication, you maintain you right to obtain attorneys fees and statutory damages.
I can tell by your question that you are trying hard to protect your rights as you launch your music career. But you have some obvious misconceptions about how copyright law works. You should study some books on music publishing and copyright law, and retain legal counsel to educate you concerning how the system works. These things are not intuitive, and you cannot survive in the industry without developing a relationship with legal counsel.See question
Dear attorney, Our Nonprofit organization is promoting a project about adopting families on our website. We used photos taken by our own artists and those we find online with "free released copyright". There are children's faces shown. We are usi...
You should not use these photographs until you clear each of them with experienced legal counsel. You should not trust the assertions that you find on-line that photographs are "free released copyright." Those assertions are often incorrect. You need work with counsel to confirm that each photograph that you want to use is free of copyright restrictions, For example, often photographs will be available pursuant to "Creative Commons" licenses. While it may seem on the surface that these photographs are free of copyright restrictions, there are numerous forms of "Creative Commons License" and many of them contain restrictions as to use.
Even more problematic is the use of images of children without their consent or the consent of their parents (adopted or otherwise). Children, like all other humans, have rights of publicity and privacy. Use of their images on your web-site could violate those rights, even if your web-site is a non-profit. For examples, what if a parent doesn't want her child to know she is adopted? Use of that child's photograph could violate that parent's right of privacy. Likewise, what if a photograph you find is for a child who has not been adopted---but your use suggests otherwise. That can create major problems,
As a non-profit, you should be especially sensitive to these issues. You should use only photographs for which you have obtained permission both from the copyright owner and the parents or legal guardians of the children who appear in the photographs,See question
I made Tv show idea about Life Change of cats When cats becoming a pack hunters as few cats leaves the city life to the Forrest life as they meet the evil king of the Forrest with his two minions? I'm scared if walt Disney or Pixar or dreamw...
You raise a good question, and it is smart of you to do so. Before proceeding, you need to retain IP counsel to conduct a clearance analysis. None of us can advise you as to whether your show would violate copyright or other IP law. But there is a very good chance you could proceed without violating copyright law. Copyright law does not protect mere ideas---it protects actual works of art, film, music, authorship, or journalism which are "fixed in a tangible medium of expression" (which means that you record them on paper, video, film, or otherwise. The idea is NOT protected, But the words, characters, pictures, video performances that embody your show are protected. If you have a good idea, you can probably work with IP counsel to find a way to make a show that incorporates your idea without violating IP law. Your next step is to retain IP counsel to advise you on how to proceed.See question
dont give me a long answer, just yes or no.
No. Absolutely not. If is blatant, illegal copyright infringement.See question
Hello, can anyone tell me please if it would be illegal for DJ's or the average music enthusiast to post mixes on Youtube? When I say "mixes" I mean like a mix of different songs. The way I am seeing it is this is not for any commercial benefi...
Copyright liability does not depend on whether someone is losing. And indeed, artists do lose when their work is used in this way. Artists have the right to control how their songs are used (except for covers), and where and how they are distributed. If you use a song without permission of the artist (or his publisher or record label) you are diluting valuable rights. This is illegal---and potentially even criminal.See question
Say I want to summarize Rich Dad Poor Dad book, sharing big ideas from the book and clearly attribute the source and explicitly state that this book is not my work and if you want to buy, go buy it from Amazon. Is that enough to cover my bases?
No. If you present a summary of a book, that could be deemed to be a derivative work which would violate copyright law. It is not enough to disclaim ownership of the work and attribute the source.
Of course, if you provide an original review of a book, that would be protected by the First Amendment. But there is a big difference between providing a mere summary and a review. You cannot summarize the contents of a book without a license. For example, Cliff's Notes summarizes famous books for the benefit of students. Cliff's Notes can't provide these summarizes without a license from the copyright owner unless the books are in the public domain.
If you are starting a YouTube channel or blog for profit, you should consult with legal counsel. You will have the same liabilities of any publisher, and without developing a relationship with legal counsel you could find yourself facing a financially disastrous law suit.See question