Saturday, January 18, 2014

You remind me of a man- Copyright and short phrases

Copyright and Short Phrases, Who said it first?
Can I copyright a phrase, how to trademark a phrase

Thinking about famous phrases and quotes from movies, songs and more? Maybe you want to use famous movie lines in your work, on your blog?  

This only pertains to the United States. Go to the official US Copyright Office for any specific legal information you may need.

"...If a popular phrase is hijacked for a blatant commercial use-for example, using "E.T., Phone Home" on drinking mugs -courts are more likely to find infringement.. .... 

"...... Claiming fair use or parody as a defense has an unfortunate hitch. The only way to find out if you're right is to have a court rule on the matter. From a real-world perspective, this often favors the litigant with the deepest pockets-that is the party who can last the longest in litigation. 

Myrna Loy and Cary Grant worked together in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
POSTER Movie (1948) with Melvyn Douglas, Reginald Denny and Louise Beavers
"However, there are some cases where a borrower has a very strong argument that fair use will apply-for example, borrowing a few lyric lines of a song in a review or new article. But when the use of short phrases lacks some transformative value or fails to offer some insight or commentary-for example, copying phrases on a T-shirt-the fair use argument is harder to win." 

I once heard that a way to up the sales of a piece of art was simply to add words to it. There is a lot to be said for images. Where did you find them? Did you alter them and does that make any difference in copyright? But how about words? How do I copyright a phrase?

There has been a lot of confusion about having song lyrics on your web site or blog. ....

[ Continued after this break where you remind them of a man ]

Cary Grant and Shirley Temple (then with Myrna Loy at the end of the film) in The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer 1947

You remind of a man
(What man?)
Yeah, the man with the power.
(What power?)
Oh, the power of voodoo
(Who do?)
Yeah, you do, you do
(Do what?)

The Atomic Fireballs, Man with the Hex

David Bowie, Magic Dance from Labyrinth 1986
You remind me of the babe Magic Dance lyrics
You remind me of the babe. What babe? The babe with the power. What power? Power of voodoo...
You remind me of a babe?

Kakashi-Naruto, you remind me of the babe
Naruto- What babe?
Kakashi-The babe with the power!

Yes, Cary Grant and David Bowie are both left handed. 

In our present makers' world of Etsy, Zazzle and the like, who knows when you will put text inside a greeting card or embroider something on a pillow in your shop only to receive an email telling you that they came up with that phrase first. Was it supposedly from a song? Was it something they say they coined themselves?

What's the law? Inspiration. People are constantly quoting one another. We're
David Bowie Fine Art Paper Print 13x19 inches
surrounded by plaques and posters with quotes on them. How do we learn copyright laws and what happens when one selling site seems to have different restrictions from another?

It's all up to us to read the fine print on everything we use. Respect one another and the community. I read something from another crafter that put it well. She said that the artistic community as a whole may be more important sometimes than sales. Was another artist selling an item with the same phase on it before you used it?

From Zazzle Spring 2013: 

"The following content is not permitted at Zazzle ... No text or images that infringe on any intellectual property rights including, but not limited to copyrights, trademarks and rights of privacy/publicity." 

Also, "You can't contribute a quote or a slogan that is substantially the same as something already written by someone else."  

Believe that if you put something on a web site, blog or Zazzle shirt or a similar product you will be responsible for following copyright laws. Chances are good that eventually you'll be asked to remove it or at the least, give proper attribution.

Copyright Protection Not Available for Names, Titles or Short Phrases. Other considerations such as Trademark, Unfair Competition Laws may still apply. The US Copyright Office has produced a short PDF document on the subject

Fred Astaire was the knight in shining armor for Rita Hayworth in You were never lovelier.

Can I use a famous movie line in my new screenplay?

Asked and Answered: Can I use a famous movie line in my new screenplay? 
"Lines from movies are, in most cases, neither protected by copyright nor in the public domain. Although technically, a line from a movie could be protected by copyright, it's rare that it actually happens. ..." 

Trademark Office Confirms Tinseltown Means More Than a Portion of Los Angeles 2012 Ruling 
-- Attorney Gordon P. Firemark addresses copyright issues on his blog

Image from public domain pictures  

Quotes above from article, I May Not Be Totally Perfect But Parts of Me Are Excellent: Copyright Protection for Short Phrases : Stanford Copyright and Fair Use, Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources

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