Author: Rich Stim

Attorney Richard Stim specializes in small business, copyright, patents, and trademark issues at Nolo. He practices law in San Francisco and has represented photographers, software developers, craftspeople, publishers, musicians and toy designers. He is the author of many books, including Music Law: How to Run Your Band's Business; Patent, Copyright & Trademark: An Intellectual Property Desk Reference; and Profit From Your Idea. Stim regularly answers readers' intellectual property questions at Dear Rich: Nolo's Patent, Copyright & Trademark Blog. Rich is also an author on Intellectual Property Law Firms. Stim also produces audiobooks, such as Nolo's Crash Course in Small Business Basics, and performs and records with two bands, MX-80 and angel corpus christi. You can also find Rich on Google Plus.
Dear Rich: Using MIDI Music from a Video Game Cartridge
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Dear Rich: Using MIDI Music from a Video Game Cartridge

Dear Rich: I want to know if it is considered sampling when you record sound coming from a synthesizer that is playing electronic note data stored on a memory chip. Technically when you play an NES game (’80s video game system), the music that is playing is not pre-recorded. It is actually played “live” from musical note data on the game cartridge (gameplay triggers a MIDI pattern) in the console into the internal synthesizer.

Dear Rich: Pancho’s Copyright Status, and Contract Questions
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Dear Rich: Pancho’s Copyright Status, and Contract Questions

Beware that the Cisco Kid’s sidekick Pancho’s copyright status is not as clear. Pancho did not appear in the O Henry story and was reportedly inspired by Don Quixote’s sidekick, Pancho Sanza. His first appearance was in the 1945 film, The Cisco Kid Returns (not to be confused with the 1939 film, Return of the Cisco Kid).

Dear Rich: Can We Use Ancestry and DNA Information in Book?
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Dear Rich: Can We Use Ancestry and DNA Information in Book?

I’m helping two authors with a manuscript about their experiences researching their ancestors who were slaves. I am unclear about the legal rights associated with certain material including: 1) publication of information found in public records, 2) publication of information from church records, historical society records, family bibles, etc.

Dear Rich: I Was In a Music Video But Never Paid
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Dear Rich: I Was In a Music Video But Never Paid

Congratulations on being viewed by more people than the combined population of South Dakota, Delaware and Montana. Although your numbers pale when compared to Grumpy Cat or OMG Cat, you do have something in common with those feline YouTube stars: You’re not likely to see a paycheck. Here’s why.

Dear Rich: Can I Make ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Action Figures?

Dear Rich: Can I Make ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Action Figures?

Normally you would need two permissions to sell movie action figures: permission from the copyright owner of the movie, and permission from the actor (referred to as publicity rights). Because Night of the Living Dead is public domain, there is no copyright owner from whom you’ll need permission. However, you would need permission from the actors.