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Gary K. Marshall

Gary Marshall’s Answers

107 total

  • Is it illegal to record a so-called "private" conversation? Like with an audio or video recorder.

    On another question, a lawyer mentioned in passing about how, quote, "Recording a private conversation is a gross misdemeanor in Washington State. See RCW § 9.73.030." This is important for me to know. On occasion I have considered gettin...

    Gary’s Answer

    In Washington it is illegal to audio record a private conversation without the permission of everyone being recorded (RCW 9.73 Privacy, Violating Right of, you can easily Google it). Generally you can not use such a recording in court and you can be charged with a crime for making the recording. But there must be some expectation of privacy. Oddly, it is generally not illegal to record video only. There are some exceptions, such as when the person being recorded has some expectation of privacy.

    And there can be restrictions on how the recording is used. Defamation, invasion of privacy, false light, copyright and many other areas of law may come in to play.

    You should consult an attorney who is familiar with this area of law, such as myself, and go over the specific facts of your case with that person if you want a more definitive answer.

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  • I want to buy for my business. Will owners of have legal claim over the name?

    I am making a significant website and mobile app for which I have the opportunity to buy (where example is just a fill-in here). For our purposes of discussion, lets say that this website is a place to list cars for sale. The issue is ...

    Gary’s Answer

    The answer is maybe. Trademark law is rather complex, and as with most legal questions, the answer is very fact specific. Whether there are similar federally registered marks is only one of many factors that can be relevant. There is no substitute for sitting down with an attorney and discussing your situation. That would be a wise move before investing in establishing a domain name and a brand name.

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  • Need a clear guideline on using photos of children

    I am a manger of a big scale education project. As a part of a project, we create a lot of educational videos and they are to be released to public with open license. These videos are mainly PowerPoint slides with voice over. Each slide contains ...

    Gary’s Answer

    unique facts. This is especially true when dealing with children. There are so many different legal aspects to deal with, as there should be. I disagree with the other commentator who says that there are no special rules when dealing with children. There are many.

    Still it should be possible to come up with some general guidelines that will help reduce risk. Certainly getting written permission from the parents is always a good idea. Because every situation is unique, there is no substitute for you sitting down with an attorney familiar with this area of law, going over the specific facts of your case, and then obtaining legal advice that is customized to your situation.

    I find that common sense goes a long way in the law. Would a typical parent, whether the parent of the child in the photograph or not, be likely to be offended by the use of the child’s likeness in the photograph? If the answer is yes or maybe, then you probably have a problem.

    There is risk to anything you do. You will have to assess whether the risk of using photographs of children outweighs the benefits or not for your project.

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  • If I am writing a book regarding asking numerous people a particular question, do i need to have them sign a release form.

    if i have them recorded giving permission to be in my book is that enough or do i need to have them sign a form. If I use there name. If i need a form is it a simple signing they agree to be in my book

    Gary’s Answer

    You do not have to get them to sign a written release form. But it is still a very good idea.

    Most publishers will not publish your book unless you have written signed release forms. Even if you plan to self-publish now, you may want to go with a publishers later. By then it will be very difficult to track people down and get them to agree to sign a form.

    What are they agreeing to? With just a general recorded statement, that may not be clear. Are you getting E-book rights? Can you use their quotes on the Internet? Is this permission for one small project, or may you reprint the book, or enter into an agreement with a publisher? What if someone wants to make a movie or a TV show about the book, can they? Can you paraphrase them. Can you print excepts from the quote without using the entire quote? What if the finished book is not the same as you represented to them that it would be. Can you still use their quotes? All this would be spelled out in a good release form.

    You can find release forms online. But as with any legal form, it is better than nothing, but still not very good. It is designed to sort of work in all situations, rather than work well in any one situation. An experienced literary attorney such as myself would ask you what type of book you were planning, what other plans do you have for the quotes. Then I would draft an interview release form that fits your particular project. An interview release is not very complicated. This process would not take very long.

    Another advantage to using a written form is that when you present it to people, someone may not want to sign it. That is a good thing. You have identified a potential problem early and had avoided it. Just do not use then in your book. That is a lot better than using them in your book and then having to deal with their lawyer later when they are upset with the results.

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  • Can my neighbor use video surveillance to monitor activity on my adjacent property?

    Her boyfriend has had a surveillance system installed on her house and intentionally aimed a camera at the entrance to my driveway, effectively monitoring my property. It is the only camera that does not cover some part of her home. Does a homeow...

    Gary’s Answer

    • Selected as best answer

    The law is not clear on this issue It depends on what is being recorded and under what circumstances. There is no substitution to talking with an attorney about your specific case.

    In Washington it is illegal to audio record a private conversation without the permission of everyone being recorded (RCW 9.73 Privacy, Violating Right of). But there must be some expectation of privacy. If the recording is say on a public street, then there is no expectation of privacy.

    Oddly, it is generally not illegal to record video only. There are some exceptions, such as when the person being recorded has some expectation of privacy. And there can be restrictions on how the recording is used. Defamation, invasion of privacy, false light, copyright and many other areas of law may come in to play.

    I am not aware of any law on the specific issue of a neighbor intentionally video taping the publically viewable areas of your property. It comes up often these days. I have talked to other attorneys about this. The general consensus is that it is probably not permissible. But there is no clear remedy. You could have an attorney write them a letter asking them to stop. If they do not stop, you could seek a court order prohibiting them from focusing the camera on your property. That is not a very practical solution but it might work.

    Does anyone else on this list have a better idea?

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  • Can I press charges against someone who is posting my number on Craigslist as a joke?

    I had someone post several posting on Craigslist with cars for cheap and they put my number on it so I would get a ton of calls and text messages. Is there anything that the police can do? I know who it is and he needs to learn his lesson. Also, I...

    Gary’s Answer

    If you are being harassed online, the person doing the harassment is probably committing several crimes. These may include laws against stalking and harassing, see RCW 9a.46.110 Stalking and RCW 9.61.260 Cyberstalking and against harassment: see RCW 9A.46.020 Definition — Penalties and Chapter 10.14 RCW Harassment. These statutes define criminal behavior. You can go to your local police department or the police department in the jurisdiction where the person who is harassing you lives and file a police report. In my experience the police will usually not take any action unless the harassment is far more severe then you indicate. But it is worth a try. You can also tell the person that you have filed a police report. That might scare them off.

    These laws do not provide for a private right of action. They do suggest that someone might be able to obtain a protection order. A protection order against the individual who posited on craigslist might be an effective tool to stop that person from harassing you. But there are difficulties with trying to get a protection order. You have to find th person and serve them. You have to have some proof that they are behind the postings. And then if they ignore the protection order, you may have difficulty enforcing the order.

    You do have a cause of action for a lawsuit for damages, but lawsuits are expensive and damages are hard to prove. You could try suing the person yourself in small claims court.

    Sometimes a letter from an attorney will get them to stop. But it also may motivate them to seek revenge by escalating their activities. And of course, attorneys cost money.

    Do you know why this person did this? If this person was a friend or someone you know, you may want to deal with this as a personal problem. You could try talking to them, or having a mutual friend intervene on your behalf. Why did this person do these things? Is there a way to repair the relationship or at least get this person to understand your point of view?

    You should be able to contact craigslist and get each individual entry removed.

    Good luck.

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  • I want to sell football helmets that's custom made with nfl decals on it, I want to know where should I start?

    I want to be able to sell football helmets that I recondition and customize the helmet with nfl decals and colors. But I want to do it the right way, so what forms do I need to go through to be able to do this. Because I love football and I'm very...

    Gary’s Answer

    NFL logos are trademarks that are owned by the NFL. In order to use the trademarks you will need the permission of the NFL.

    It is not hard to figure out who to contact. A simple google search got me to the NFL policy on licensing logos for merchandise. See

    Here are a few requirements. You must have been in the merchandising business for at least three years and be able to pay the minimum annual license fee of $100,000.

    This makes sense. The NFL will have to review your proposal and who you are and will have to police your use of their logos. There is a cost to them of doing all of that. They have determined that it is not worth their effort for less than $100,000 a year.,

    You may want to find someone who is already selling helmets with NFL logos under license and see if they would be interested in including your line of helmets with their products. That would be a more realistic approach for an individual.

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  • Do I have to give a notice to cease and desist before I file a lawsuit for defamation?

    Someone is sending defamatory emails full of untrue facts about me to local people and I need to know if I have to give notice to that person to stop these malicious acts before I file and serve a lawsuit for defamation. My reputation is being tr...

    Gary’s Answer

    No you do not have to give notice first.

    A defamation lawsuit is probably not the way to go. Most personal problems are not going to be solved by lawsuits. You can sue someone for defamation. Any lawsuit is expensive to pursue. And proving the elements of defamation can be difficult.

    Defamation is a false statement, maliciously or knowingly made to injure someone, usually through ridicule and damage to that person's reputation. Libel is written defamation. Slander is oral defamation.

    Defamation requires:

    1) a false statement concerning another person.

    2) an unprivileged communication to a third party

    3) fault amounting to
    for public officials and figures - actual malice (actual knowledge that the statement is false or reckless disregard for the truth or falseness of the statement)
    for private figures - negligence (what a reasonably prudent person would do, acting under the same or similar circumstances)

    4) damages

    In many cases damages is the hardest part to prove. Have you actually been damaged enough to justify suing this person? Probably not. Can you prove your damages? Again, probably not.

    If this person was a friend, you may want to deal with this as a personal problem. You could try talking to them, or having a mutual friend intervene on your behalf. Why did this friend say these things? Is there a way to repair the relationship or at least get this person to understand your point of view?

    If this is a small matter and you just want to get them to stop, you could consider suing this person yourself in small claims court. You would have to sue them where they live. If you win, and they keep making these statements you can sue them again. They will eventually get the message. A letter from an attorney will get them to stop some of the time, but it is hard to imagine that it would be worth the expense of paying an attorney to write a letter.

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  • Can a corporation based out of Kentucky file a copyright infringement lawsuit without a cease & desist notice?

    I have a friend, (& yes it is a friend, not me) who runs an E-Cigarette business. He had a line of Camel tobacco flavored e-liquid that he sold. His business is run out of Washington State. A few months ago, Camel sent him a notice right out of th...

    Gary’s Answer

    You may have copyright and trademark confused. They are separate legal concepts. In either case, they have no duty to warn your friend first and give him a chance to cure. I agree that it may be a good idea for your friend to reach out to the other side. But I would strongly suggest that your friend talk to an attorney first, and have that attorney do the talking for him. It sounds like the other side is represented by counsel. Anything he says can and will be used against him in a court of law. Their attorney will be trained and experienced in getting him to confess to the infringements. It would be very dangerous for him to talk to them directly. You seem to be under the mistaken impression that people and companies have to play nice. I wish that were true, but it is not and they rarely do play nice or fair.

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  • Do I need a lawyer if a website used my photo to promote their site without my consent?

    A family member of mine informed me that she had received an email promoting a certain website with a picture of mine. I had no prior knowledge of my photo being used on this website nor did I ever give my consent. It seems as though this website ...

    Gary’s Answer

    Situations like this are very fact dependant. You may have a claim against them under several theories, including violation of your right of publicity, unfair competition/trademark infringement, and copyright infringement. Whether you need to see an attorney depends upon what you want to do next. If you just want them to take the picture down, you may want to contact them directly. On the other hand, a letter from an attorney is often more effective. If you want compensation then you probably do need an attorney, although it is possible that an attorney would cost you more than you would recover from the website. I wonder if there is more to this story, because you have not explained why they choose your picture instead of someone else’s.

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