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kiki443

copyright 2

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Hi

Since my first topic has expired yet I have more questions related to this I will start a new one.

 

about old topic I want to say thanks for all who gave me answers and helped me with copyright and trademark related laws!

I appreciate any given help!

 

 

In old topic I heared many times answers like "ask a lawyer" I want to say that I am not asking for any legal advice just for explanations  and simple answers for question.

 

now the question:

 

correct me if I am wrong here:

in previous topic I ask about copyright; I asked how long copyright protects something:  the answer is 70 years after author's death, after that period the work became public usable or something like that, before that you need author's permission for taking his work to make your own.

I can't understand something it simply doesn't make sense to me if the author is dead no one inherited his work so who holds authorship over the work for next 70 years? and whom to ask permission if there is no living owner of the work? and most importantly who will sue me for making derivative work from that work?

(I am just asking I do not intend to do that)

 

about trademark:

 

correct me if I am wrong here too:

trademark protects logos, names etc. it prohibits you from using someone's else stuff and gives the owner a chance to sue you if you do.

condition is that word is not generic term (that word is not taken from the dictionary)

so therefore generic terms or dictionary words cannot be trademarked.

 

in previous topic when I asked are the orcs trademarked you said that it cannot be trademarked because it is a generic term.

 

I do a litle research on that and I found out that orcs as some other generic terms are indeed trademarked.

I was searching how to check if a word is trademarked and i found a trademark database.    https://www.google.hr/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwj4qZ6o5bvQAhWGVhQKHTpNC2YQFgggMAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Ftess2.uspto.gov%2Fbin%2Fgate.exe%3Ff%3Dlogin%26p_lang%3Denglish%26p_d%3Dtrmk&usg=AFQjCNH7zNbJJLptjbXyI2bqh4UBfXarmQ&sig2=u9eHR_ay1QOA1hDmW_b89Q

 

I check if someone holds orcs as trademark and found out that over 50 people are indeed trademarked orcs.

I also check for another generic term and found that over 800 people holds trademark for that word.

 

And now I am confused:

How can multiple people hold trademark over the same word?

How can someone register a generic term as trademark?

Do I need permission from all those people if I want to trademark that word? (if that is even possible, according to my resoults it is) and can they sue me if I use it without permission?

 

here is one example:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sins_of_a_Solar_Empire

title: expansions

subtitle: Rebellion

"The British video game developer Rebellion Developments has been opposing the use of "Rebellion" in the name of the game since 2012 due to trademark law."

 

How can they trademark a word "Rebellion" if it is a generic term?

 

 

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Copyright is essentially property and it passes on to someone else after an author's death much like any other property does. After 70 years the exclusivity period expires. Not all countries have such a long period in place. (You can blame Disney for America's situation here.)

 

Regarding trademarks - you don't get to decide what 'generic' means - that's a job for the various trademark offices or for lawyers. Also, a word you might consider generic is not generic in certain situations - for example, if I called a wall-building construction firm "Walls" that would probably be too generic, but the food company called "Walls" is fine. Also, trademarks are per-industry - different companies might hold the same trademark in different sectors.

 

It's not possible to tell you whether someone would sue you or not, or whether they would win or not. There's nothing to stop them threatening you even if they know they're likely to lose.

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So that means even if there is no someone to inherit the work that work will always have an owner but is that owner an agency for copyright or some sort like that, for example in my country there is an agency for copyright called ZAMP if you are distributing copyrighted Works for example playing someones music or song in public you need to pay a fee to that agency?

 

but one question can a generic term be trademarked in sector where that word is generic?

In an example you mention if you indeed have a wall-Building construction firm and call it wall would you be able to register "Walls" as trademark?

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I can't tell you what the system is in each country. Collections agencies are completely separate (and complicated) issue but they are generally only relevant for music.

 

Nor can I answer the question about trademarks. What you 'can' trademark is whatever the trademark office allows you to trade mark. Whether that is a valid trademark or not is for the courts to decide, and they will take into account how generic the term is and the context in which it's used.

 

Bear in mind that this is a game development forum and none of the above is relating directly to games, so if you have further questions on that, you'll need to find somewhere else to ask them.

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It's all a game with no rules except 'he who can afford lawyers wins the majority of the time'.

 

Here is an example of how stupid the whole thing is.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/comic-book-creator-fights-term-superhero-article-1.1327860

 

and when it gets pushed into court, they drop the case in order not to set a precedent so they can continue to harass others...

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/may/24/superhero-marvel-dc-comics-graham-jules-court

Edited by fleabay

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It's all a game with no rules except 'he who can afford lawyers wins the majority of the time'.

 

Here is an example of how stupid the whole thing is.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/comic-book-creator-fights-term-superhero-article-1.1327860

 

and when it gets pushed into court, they drop the case in order not to set a precedent so they can continue to harass others...

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2016/may/24/superhero-marvel-dc-comics-graham-jules-court

 

 

This is accurate.  It all boils down to who can afford the cleverest lawyers.  Even if you don't own the copywriter but can afford better lawyers than the other party you can still claim and even if you do own the copy write but cannot afford the better lawyers you can still loose.

 

Weather a term is generic or not depends on what your lawyers say.

 

As for there being nobody to "inherit" a work.  This is highly unlikely and is all down to your countries rules regarding somebody having died "intestate".  

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but one question can a generic term be trademarked in sector where that word is generic?
In an example you mention if you indeed have a wall-Building construction firm and call it wall would you be able to register "Walls" as trademark?

Trademarking a word works per genre/sector. For example I can trademark "Delta Games" (for videogames) without fear of getting sued by Delta Airlines. But I cannot register nor use the word Delta in anything that is related to airplanes and transport; even though the world "Delta" is a generic term.

 

There are a few exceptions such as words that are offensive or have special religious connotation cannot be tradermarked (like trademarking God, Jesus, Führer, or Nazi); but this is not very objective. For instance Nickelodeon and Fox had a little disagreement over the word Avatar (The Last Airbender movie & cartoon show vs James Cameron's movie) even though Avatar is a Sanskrit word that roughly means "representative of God on Earth", and has a strong connotation in Hinduism. That didn't seem to stop them from trademarking the word.

 

And yes, you can register Walls for a building construction firm. Could he sue anyone using the word Walls in construction? Yes. But because it's so obvious and abusive, he may get challenged in court. See Tim Langdell's Edge controversy. TL;DR the guy had trademarked the word "Edge" in relation to videogames decades ago, and he sued everyone who used the word edge in either the game's title or their descriptions (Soul Edge, The Edge Videogame Magazine, Mirror's Edge, etc). It wasn't until he sued a very small Indie game developer who he was supposed to defend (Langdell was part of the IGDA board) that the whole decades-old controversy came out to light and big AAA players finally decided to challenge him in court instead of giving him royalties; and he ended up losing the Edge trademark. Note however one big reason he lost the tradermark was that he hadn't been using the tradermark in a very long time (other than for suing other people), yet he was claiming he was getting damaged because others were using that word.

 

The thing is, just like others have said, the one with the bigger lawyer wins. And since searching to see if a word has been trademarked much easier, and it's so easy to change the name you were planning, everyone just follows that route; just like Nickelodeon changed Avatar to The Last Airbender instead of antagonizing Fox and unnecessarily delaying the release of both films.

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So basically whatever you do whatever you use there is always a person that will find something against someone who will sue you and most likely win because he will bribe the judges and lawyers against you and you wont be able to do anything unless you are a milionaire with 5 000 000 $ and you bribe your own lawyers.

 

what ashamed world we live in...

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But I cannot register nor use the word Delta in anything that is related to airplanes and transport; even though the world "Delta" is a generic term.

 

Well you can register it.  It is entirely up to Delta airlines and their lawyers to stop you.  If they don't notice you could slip through the radar for quite a while.  There are no automatic trademark police.

 

 

and he sued everyone who used the word edge in either the game's title

 

Not just games but movies, books, songs, magazines, websites and comic book characters all paid Landell for the licence to use the word Edge.  The current licence page on the website only shows a few examples but if you use the wayback machine and look at an older version there are tons of licensees listed.

 

 

will sue you and most likely win because he will bribe the judges and lawyers against you and you wont be able to do anything unless you are a milionaire with 5 000 000 $ and you bribe your own lawyers

 

Not entirely.  Laws are written using very complicated language and are designed to cover all kinds of different edge-cases.  Unfortunately because of the language used it needs experts (judges and lawyers to interpret it).  All the lawyers do is explain to the judge their interpretation of the law and the judge decides based on their arguments what he thinks is the most correct interpretation.  There is nothing underhanded such as bribery going on here.  

 

Is it unfair that somebody with more money can afford a better lawyer?  Well thats just life.  People with money can afford better cars, houses, yachts, food, education etc..  Rich people always have an advantage over less rich people thats just the way things work.

 

 

This doesn't mean that you need to go to court though.  Just make sure you do everything properly.  If you want to use a name don't just use it.  Visit an IP lawyer first and they will do the research  and be able to give you you a definitive answer Yes or No you can use this name.  This is usually a straight up one off fee.  I'm not sure how much but I'd guess around $150 - $500.  This won't 100% guarantee that nobody will sue you ever but, it does guarantee (in fact the lawyer will have insurance to cover this) that any of the millions of chancers who can send you letters trying to make a claim are covered.

 

 

 

Of course what you need to do is don't try to get legal advice from a games forum where nobody is actually a lawyer as a lot of the answers we give you could just be 100% bullshit.  There are legal forums and a few very good Reddits  around that do actually have lawyers as members who are willing to give some guideline advice but, the only way you can make sure you are covered is see an IP lawyer or become an IP lawyer.

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