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[BKARTS] Color & copyright
- To: BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU
- Subject: [BKARTS] Color & copyright
- From: Richard Minsky <minsky@MINSKY.COM>
- Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2003 13:11:14 -0400
- Message-id: <3EA577B2.FCC83888@minsky.com>
- Sender: Book_Arts-L <BOOK_ARTS-L@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU>
>they would have the legal right to sue any firm that used the "Pirates
>of the Barbary Coast" name or content for copyright violations since
>they now 'own' the copyright.
Please correct me if in error, but my recollection is that a title can't be
copyrighted. For example, I have done bindings on three completey different
books titled "Holy Terror."
You can protect a color, as in Coke Red, Barbie Pink or John Deere Green,
without any registration of copyright, trademark or patent, through the
doctrine of "trade dress," which has been around for a long time. In 1995
the Supreme Court case of Qualitex Co. v. Jacobson Products Co. ruled that
a single color can be trademarked, adding the additional protections
provided by registration.
Val is correct about the benefits of registration. Copyright exists for the
author at the moment of creation, not of publication. There are, however,
additional benefits of registering with the Copyright Office within 3
months, not only with statutory legal fees, but also statutory damages in
the event of a violation. Filing later only gets you actual awarded damages
based on profits. You MUST register before litigating a copyright of U.S.
origin. You can register an unpublished work. The long version is
Those authors or copyright owners with attorneys (and you don't have to be
a big corporation to have an attorney) may be better off than those
without, though I write my own letters and have successfully pursued pro se
litigation. I may add Minsky in Court to the autobiographical bibliography
The advantages of registration [copied from the Copyright Office
website--for reference and current notices, bookmark:]
Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is
necessary for works of U. S. origin.
If made before or within 5 years of publication, registration will
establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright
and of the facts stated in the certificate.
If registration is made within 3 months after publication of the work or
prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney's fees
will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only
an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration
with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of
infringing copies. For additional information, request Publication No. 563
"How to Protect Your Intellectual Property Right," from: U.S. Customs
Service, P.O. Box 7404, Washington, D.C. 20044. See the U.S. Customs
Service Website at http://www.customs.gov for online publications.
Registration may be made at any time within the life of the copyright.
Unlike the law before 1978, when a work has been registered in unpublished
form, it is not necessary to make another registration when the work
becomes published, although the copyright owner may register the published
edition, if desired.
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