Intellectual property attorney and musician Rich Stim answers questions about copyright, trademark, the public domain and other IP issues for artists and creatives.
Dear Rich: How Do I Copyright a Children’s Book?
Although registration is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended. Anyone who owns all or part of the rights that make up a work’s copyright may register that work.Read More
Dear Rich: Do I Have to Pay to Use Pre-Installed Fonts?
I have used these fonts extensively for my consulting work to produce reports, many of which are available as PDFs (with font embedded) online. I recently read that I may need to pay for the rights to these fonts.Read More
Dear Rich: Can I Republish ‘The Raven’?
I recently changed career paths and am now studying graphic art and am wondering if I could publish and sell the book as opposed to just keeping it for personal use.Read More
Dear Rich: What Should My Cease and Desist Letter Say?
I found a website that uses my photograph at the top of their main page and their “About” page, without permission or credit. I registered the image with the Copyright Office long ago. What language should I use when I first email the firm?Read More
Dear Rich: Website Copyright Woes and Songwriting Credit Questions
Rich Stim answers copyright questions from a website owner and a writer, and songwriting credit question from a musician who uses a pseudonym.Read More
Dear Rich: Copyright Rules for e-Newsletters and Iron Work
Rich Stim explains basic copyright law for a designer who created a newsletter for a client, and an artist creating greeting cards using iron work designs.Read More
Dear Rich: Music in Public Domain Films, and Songwriting Splits
This can be confusing. For example, copyright for the 1961 public domain film One-Eyed Jacks was not renewed, but the film’s score was renewed in 1989.Read More
Dear Rich: How Much is Paid for Life Story Rights?
You don’t always get paid just because someone creates a book or movie based on your life story.Read More
Dear Rich: Is Dance Troupe Liable for Photo in Background?
What makes fair use such a slippery concept is that it can only be proven by going to court, and most people can’t afford to take the issue that far.Read More
Dear Rich: How Do I Get Paid for Book Illustration?
If a book deal is in the works, and you feel you are entitled to a cut of the earnings, you should seek to become a party to the publishing contract.Read More
Music Licensing 101
How do you get your music into the hands of music supervisors, those gatekeepers who decide whose music is heard during an episode of “Justified”?Read More
Dear Rich: Idea for Book Bag Design
if you’re trying to protect something functional (like the massaging book bag pictured above), seek a utility patent.Read More
Dear Rich: Should I Trademark or Patent Doll?
Here is some background on how these intellectual property decisions are made by doll companies.Read More
Dear Rich: My Documentary. Her Idea. Who Owns It?
“Good ideas are common — what’s uncommon are people who’ll work hard enough to bring them about.”Read More
Dear Rich: Trying to Clear Pre-1923 Artwork for Film
Any work first published in the U.S. before 1923 is in the public domain regardless of the lifespan of the author or authors.Read More
Dear Rich: Can Artist Copyright Art and Text Together?
You can copyright a combination of images and text, even if the text by itself is not copyrightable.Read More