Inspired by 19th Century Imperial Robes (Copyright & Design) Reply

Splendid 19th century imperial robes from China inspire modern fashion reddesigns in a new costume exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (titled: China Through the Looking Glass).  A fascinating element of this exhibit is that the imperial robes and the modern, couture gowns are displayed side-by-side.  While the styles, silhouettes and lines of the old and new fashions are drastically different, the inspiration linking the old and new is clear, including, borrowed colors, designs and artwork.

Borrowing colors, designs and artwork isn’t always free and easy.  Copyright laws in countries around the world vest the original creators and owners of designs and artwork with a bundle of exclusive rights to control the use and copying of their original designs and artwork.  However, these exclusive rights only last for a finite period of time. The duration of these exclusive rights varies country by country depending upon the national copyright laws.  The copyright laws in each country outline the length of time that the exclusive rights last (also known as the “term of copyright”).  Once the term of copyright expires, the work becomes part of the public domain and is free to use and copy.

Treat yourself to a visit of this exhibit, if you can. I give it two glamorous thumbs up.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: other blog posts on public domain at http://wp.me/p10nNq-ft and www.iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/public-domain; a blog post on Traditional Knowledge of indigenous people and tribes which can be an exception to public domain works at http://wp.me/p10nNq-AC; information about the MET costume exhibit at http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/china-through-the-looking-glass/images; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

 

Flaunt Your Originality (originality is key to copyright) 1

While speaking to a group of visual arts students recently, a recurring theme was to FLAUNT YOUR ORIGINALITY and savor using your original work.  We had a heart to heart moment that went something like this:FullSizeRender (2)

Y’all are an incredibly talented group of people.  You wouldn’t be sitting here in this room, in a prestigious art school, if you hadn’t already proven how talented and artistically creative you are.  When you create a montage or a creative work, make every bit of it original.  You want your work to show every person who sees it how talented YOU are.  Use your gifts.  Pitch your genius.  Tap into your creative talents and let your originality shine.

This heart to heart moment arose spontaneously in response to a question about originality being a fundamental element of copyright and the fair use exceptions to copyright.  (In my opinion, original work created by talented folks is always best.  Don’t even think about how or when a fair use exception may apply.  Just flaunt your original work).

Originality is key to securing copyright protection under U.S. Copyright Law.  Section 102 of the U.S. Copyright Law includes “original works” within the general definition of copyrightable materials.  Here is the text of Section 102(a):

(a) Copyright protection subsists, in accordance with this title, in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. Works of authorship include the following categories: (1) literary works; (2) musical works, including any accompanying words; (3) dramatic works, including any accompanying music; (4) pantomimes and choreographic works; (5) pictorial, graphic, and sculptural works; (6) motion pictures and other audiovisual works; (7) sound recordings; and (8) architectural works. [Full text of U.S. Copyright Law is available at www.copyright.gov/title17/circ92.pdf].

Today I am flaunting my originality with a flower arrangement of daffodils and parsley on my desk.  (Pictured above).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: “How to write a © Copyright Notice and Why to Use it” at http://wp.me/p10nNq-18 An outline of the topics covered in my discussion with art students on copyright is available at http://www.kasterlegal.com/iplegalfreebies/2015/4/6/copyright-contracts-outline.html ; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 1 on Copyright Basics at http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf; #valueyou, #valueyourart, #letyourIPshine @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Rosita Missoni: Queen of Zig Zag (PS fabric designs are Copyrightable) Reply

IMG-it

photo credit: Yavidan at VIOLETA PURPLE

“There are few people in fashion that are an institution like Rosita Missoni, she is not only the head of one of the most successful Italian houses but the Queen of a very beautiful family. With her late husband Ottavio they founded what today is one the most successful Italian houses thanks to their unique knits and colors.”

Reading this (which was posted on www.violetapurple.com by Yavidan) brought the COPYRIGHTABILITY of unique and original fabric designs and weaving designs to mind.

It’s true, unique and original fabric designs and weaving designs are eligible for U.S. copyright registration.  In the U.S., they are registered as a “work of visual art.”  To apply for copyright registration of an original fabric or weaving design, either a color photo of the complete design or a fabric swatch showing the complete design may be submitted along with the application for registration and payment of the filing fee. (The general filing fee is $35 or $55).

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: www.violetapurple.com for Yavidan’s post on “Rosetta Missoni: Queen of the Clan”; other blog posts on copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/U.S. Copyright Office Circular 40 on Copyright Registration for Pictorial, Graphic, and Sculptural Works including fabric designs at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ40.pdf ; U.S. Copyright Office Circular 40A on Deposit Requirements for Registration of Claims to Copyright in Visual Arts Materials at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ40a.pdf; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

SELMA: Bravo for the Movie & Creative Script (mixing original text & public domain works) 1

Selma Hostoric Route sign

photo from wikipedia.org

Two enthusiastic thumbs up for the movie SELMA and the creative script that uses accent, aura, scripture, lyrics of gospel songs and original text instead of historic speeches.  Before seeing the movie, SELMA, I read that the speeches given by Dr. King in the film were written by [the talented writer, producer, director and distributor] Ms. DuVernay and were not the historical speeches given by Dr. King.

Dr. King’s heirs did not grant permission for his speeches to be quoted in “Selma,” and while this may be a blow to the film’s authenticity, Ms. DuVernay turns it into an advantage, a chance to see and hear him afresh. Mr. Oyelowo, a British actor of Nigerian background, has mastered the Southern inflections and preacherly cadences that have become part of the permanent soundtrack of our educational system, and the script offers credible paraphrases of his character’s unmatched eloquence.

[–BRAVO, Ms. DuVernay, for turning this into an advantage].

It is not uncommon for permission to use famous copyrighted works, like Dr. King’s famous speeches, to be unattainable or denied.  (Obtaining permission to use a famous copyrighted work is often cost prohibitive).  Whatever the reason that permission to use a famous work is unattainable or denied, creating an original work is a brilliant solution.  After seeing the movie SELMA this past weekend, I was impressed with the use of bible verses and gospel lyrics in Ms. DuVernay’s script.  Bible verses and gospel lyrics are often in the public domain and free to use.  Intermixing public domain material and original text in a movie script works.  For example, Ms. DuVernay’s script uses the lyrics of the “Battle Hymn of The Republic” in a final scene with Dr. King.  The lyrics of this old hymn (written in the 1860’s and now in the public domain) were a powerful, spoken finale.

“Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…”

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: An earlier blog post on Copyright Law & Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech at http://wp.me/p10nNq-3R; Free tickets for 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students at http://selmastudenttickets.com; the SELMA website at www.selmamovie.com; www.paramount.com/movies/selma; www.avaduvernay.com/about; movie review by Kenny Miles at http://themovieblog.com/2015/ava-duvernays-masterful-selma-is-the-timely-movie-america-needs/; quote above is from the NY Times article titled, “A 50-Mile March, Nearly 50 Years Later. In ‘Selma,’ King Is Just One of Many Heros” by A.O. Scott on Dec. 24, 2014 available at www.nytimes.com; NY Times article titled, “The Man Who Would Be King.  David Oyelowo’s Pivotal Role in ‘Selma’ by Felicia R. Leedec on Dec. 18, 2014 available at www.nytimes.com; information on the Battle Hymn of the Republic at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Battle_Hymn_of_the_Republic; NY Times article titled, “An Unsettled Chapter in Martin Luther King’s Legacy” by Richard Fausset on Jan. 12, 2015 at http://mobile.nytimes.com; Wikipedia photo credit at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma_to_Montgomery_marches; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Female Watson: Great for many reasons including Copyright Reply

WatsonFabulous, smart, strong, witty, problem solving female characters are always great.  Recently, Hollywood has been recasting some traditionally male characters like Watson (from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous Sherlock Holmes stories) as women.  Additionally, Hollywood has been developing new central characters from the Doyle’s classics.  For example, Watson’s wife (barely mentioned or developed in Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories) is becoming a featured charter in the new BBC series based on the literary classic.  Also Lucy Liu is featured as Dr. Joan Watson in Elementary, a new series set in NYC.  This is a great trend for developing new, dynamite leading ladies.

Interestingly, this tend also has potential copyright advantages for the creative folks writing these new leading ladies based on traditionally male roles.  The “copyright advantage” is that creating new original characters by definition creates new character traits, storylines and crime solving adventures which the owners of the new TV series can potentially own, control and monetize to a greater degree than if the stories, characters and adventures are taken from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books.  This is because some of the original story elements and characters from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books and stories, like Holmes and Dr. John Watson, have entered into the public domain and others are still under copyright protection and must be licensed from Doyle’s Estate.  (See this earlier post,  http://wp.me/p10nNq-z8 , for more information on this topic).

I love Lucy Liu as Dr. Joan Watson!  How about a lady Holmes, next?  Holmes

Happy Halloween!

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: earlier blog posts on the topic of “public domain,” https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/public-domain/; other copyright and public domain resources, http://www.copyright.gov, http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm, http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Can I copyright my website’s content? Reply

Yes – copyright is a form of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship copyrightincluding content on a website. For example, original text, videos, graphics, animation, photographs, music, sound recordings, illustrations, translations and other original content featured on a website can be copyrighted.

Two ways to use copyright to protect original content on a website are: 1) to use a copyright notice on the website, and 2) copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office.

A few points to keep in mind regarding copyrighting website content:

  • Using a date range in the copyright notice may be beneficial if new content is posted periodically.  For example, © 2011-2014 Ima Starr.  All rights reserved.
  • An application for copyright registration only covers the original content that is submitted with the application and will not include future updates.
  • If content on the website is updated frequently, it may be a good idea to file new applications for copyright registration periodically, as needed.
  • The author, creator, and owner of the content may or may not be the same person. This is an important component to consider and sort out before applying for copyright registration.
  • If the website features original creative content such as books, music, jewelry designs, photographs, architectural designs, fabric designs, photographs or other original works of authorship it may be a good idea to also register these works with the U.S. Copyright Office before making them available on the website.
  • Note, that copyright does not protect names, logos, titles or slogans. In some cases, these may be protectable as trademarks.

Here are links for more information on how to write a copyright notice, adding a copyright notice to a website and applying for copyright registration with the U.S. Copyright Office.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: U.S. Copyright Office Circular 66 titled, Copyright Registration for Online Works at http://copyright.gov/circs/circ66.pdf and U.S. Copyright Office on “What does copyright protect” at http://copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html#idea; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Benefits of US Copyright Registration Reply

Copyright vests automatically in an original work once it is ‘fixed’ in a tangible dollar (2)form.  While copyright vests automatically, it can also be advantageous to register an original work for copyright registration with the US Copyright Office.  Registering a work with the US Copyright Office is not a requirement but it can be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Registration with the US Copyright Office establishes a public record of the basic facts including ownership of an original work.
  • Before an lawsuit may be filed against someone infringing your work, registration is necessary with the US Copyright Office for works of US origin.
  • If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions.  Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
  • If registration is made within 5 years of publication of the work, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
  • Registration with the US Copyright Office allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the US Customs Service for protection against importation of infringing copies.

It is possible to file for US Copyright Registration at anytime within the life of the copyrighted work.  Currently, it only costs $35 to file an application with the US Copyright Office for registration.

The term of copyright protection for a work created on or after January 1, 1978 is for the life of the author plus 70 years (or if a work is made for hire the term of copyright protection is 95 years from the date of publication or 120 years from the date of creation, whichever expires first.)

Wishing all of you reading this post a Happy New Year!   Starting off the new year with a reminder that all your original creative content that is written down, drawn, painted, recorded, sculpted or otherwise fixed… is automatically vested with copyright feels auspicious.  As detailed above, taking the extra step to register your work with the US Copyright Office can be beneficial.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

For more information see, Circular 1, Copyright Basics; Circular 15A, Duration of Copyright. and all the information circulars and fact sheets available at the US Copyright Office website: http://www.copyright.gov/circs/; and also an earlier post “Copyright Protection Only Costs $35“; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

3D Printing – A New Dimension of Possible Copyright and Trademark Infringement (Scan or Design and Print 3D Objects) Reply

3D

3D Printer

It’s possible to print in 3D by scanning an object to create a 3D model file… and then printing it with a 3D printer (be careful not to infringe a copyright, trademark or patent in the process).  The ability to scan an object with a laser to create a 3D model file is particularly interesting to me, because, it opens up a new dimension of (potential) intellectual property infringement.  For example, scanning and printing someone else’s original jewelry design could be copyright infringement.

3D printing is an additive process by which incredibly thin layers of material are ‘printed out’ and built up to create a three-dimensional object.  This is accomplished by using 3D model files to provide 3D printing instructions to 3D printers.  As you might guess, 3D model files can be generated in several ways including: 1) scanning an object, 2) using design software to create a design from scratch and 3) re-designing a scanned image by using design software.  For example, it would be possible to scan an engagement ring and scan a family pet and combine the two scans to replace the ring’s center stone with a miniature image the beloved pet.  (Perhaps not an example of something folks are rushing to do… but you get the idea.  The possible infringement comes into play if scanning and reproducing an object infringes a copyright, trademark or patent, like a copyrighted jewelry design).  The 3D scanner that I saw in action involved a slowly rotating pedestal and a laser scanner that was being used to scan a person and print out a miniature, plastic, 3D-action-figure portrait of the scanned person.

Interestingly, 3D printers can print in a wide range of materials including plastic, some medals, ceramic type materials that can be fired and even edible substances.  (The article I read about printed food didn’t sound too appetizing).

While this blog post is focused on mentioning the new dimension of intellectual property infringement  (including copyright, trademark and patent) that is possible with 3D printing, there are countless other possibilities available with 3D printing.  In fact, you may have read that Philadelphia has just become the first city in the US to ban the use of 3D printers to manufacture firearms.  On a more positive note, artists and engineers are designing and printing fascinating new works.  The Out of Hand exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design features some of these creative new works.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

For more information, see also, Makerbot printers at www.makerbot.com; Shapeways 3D printing marketplace and community at www.shapeways.com; the Out of Hand exhibit at the Museum of Art and Design featuring artistic uses of 3D printing at http://madmuseum.org/exhibition/out-hand; news about Philadelphia’s ban at  www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/11/25/how-cute-philadelphia-passes-law-banning-3d-gun-printing; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Jewelry Designs can be copyrighted Reply

The US Copyright Office provides copyright registration for original jewelry designs. While reading a recent article about an alleged copyright infringement of jewelry designs by Urban Outfitter in The Columbia Spectator… the article makes the assumption that jewelry designs are ineligible for copyright registration and protection because they are “fashion designs.” This is not the case, folks. Original jewelry designs are eligible for copyright registration and protection. [Note that Originality is Key].

Jewelry Designs ≠ Fashion Designs

Currently the US Copyright Office (when it’s not closed due to the Government Shutdown) provides copyright registration for original jewelry design as a “work of the visual arts.” The US Copyright Office eCO application defines jewelry design as follows:

Jewelry design includes 3-dimensional designs applied to rings, pendants, earrings, necklaces, and the like.

Fashion Designs are another story. Copyright registration of original fashion designs is currently being considered in the Innovative Design Protection Act.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com

See also, the US Copyright Office definitions at http://www.copyright.gov/eco/help-author.html#visual; other blog posts on copyright registration of original works; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

An Artist’s LOVE – can extend to COPYRIGHT 1

LOVE

picture from Wikipedia

Have you read that the American Pop Artist Robert Indiana (famous for his “LOVE” with a tilted O) will be featured in a new exhibition at the Whitney Museum in NYC? Have you also read that he missed out on controlling all the rights to his famous “LOVE” work because he didn’t copyright it properly?

In a recent NY Times article, Mr Indiana spoke about being brokenhearted over not properly copyrighting his work:

…because ‘LOVE’ – with its tilted O – wasn’t properly copyrighted, it spread to all sorts of places and products [I] didn’t want. And that broke [my] heart. ‘Rip-offs have done a great harm to my own reputation.’

This is an important reminder to artists and creative folks to copyright your work! For a work to be eligible for copyright registration it must be original and “fixed in a tangible form.” This can include any original work, fixed in virtually any tangible form. For example, original copyrightable works can include: sculptures, drawings, photographs, artwork, music, poetry, graffiti, jewelry designs, motion pictures, video clips, translations, texts, manuscripts, recordings…. etc. And the requirement that the work be “fixed in a tangible form” can include traditional mediums such as paper, canvas, clay, DVDs, CDs… and less traditional mediums such as a napkin… scrap of paper… and probably even peanut butter.

Please take Mr. Indiana’s words to heart and copyright your work. For more information on how to copyright your work see my earlier post titled: “Copyright Protection Only Costs $35.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

For personalized legal services you are welcome to contact me at vk@kasterlegal.com.

See, The US Copyright Office Website at: www.copyright.gov; for more information on the upcoming exhibit of Robert Indiana’s work in NYC www.whitney.org/Exhibitions/RobertIndiana, @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

As a post script, I mentioned peanut butter above as a possible medium for fixing an original copyrightable work, because, there is a contemporary Double Mona Lisa work made out of PB&J – www.artnet.com/usernet/awc/awc_workdetail.