Back in 2018, we hosted Mr. Firemark for an inspiring discussion on Copyright and Trademark Law. He answered a ton of questions for us and dispelled a lot of myths. Gordon is coming back to help us wade through the confusion once more. We will put as many questions in front of Gordon as we can and he will share with us as an attorney what the law really is when it comes to copyrights and trademarks.
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Copyright and Trademark Law Terry: Gordon, let’s start with one that I hear regularly. Someone will see a decorator printing Disney, or DC Comics, or Harley Davidson and say, “You know, that’s copyrighted artwork.” Could you explain to our listeners the difference between copyright and trademark? Listener questions:Aaron: If people see copyright violations and wish to report it, is there a central location or do they need to find the licensee info? Terry: We see this with equipment sales too. A company either has end-of-life with a product or stops selling a product, and says there’s no more support. Aaron: "How does everyone find if an image used is copyrighted or not? For example, Renaissance Art or famous old masterpieces, are they somehow copyrighted?" Terry: If you buy artwork from someone who claims to have the rights to it do you automatically get the rights because of purchasing the art? Similarly a listener asked, what if I buy a trademarked image, as sublimation transfers for instance, and the seller infers they are licensed, could I be liable for trademark infringement for selling the image on products? Aaron: What action can we actually take in the event someone steals our design...? How do we protect our design? How much will it all cost? Often the thieves rely on the fact people will not take action because of cost so… What’s the best way to protect our own original artwork? Terry: My question. Why do all the local schools get by with using NFL logos for their school logo? I was told by a coach that they have permission to use the Atlanta Falcons bird. I still refuse to do it for them but they just have it done by someone else. What about school logos in general (especially high school)...can we print apparel, etc. using their logos, whether they are using an NFL logo or one of their own design without permission? If we need permission, do we get it from the school? How do high schools get away with using college football team logos? Are there repercussions for a decorator using said logo to make apparel for the high school?