Any Legal Experts?

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18 Replies - 1759 Views - Last Post: 10 December 2013 - 09:36 AM

#1 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:06 PM

Are there any super legal experts here, really regarding copyrights and IP? I've got an idea, and I don't think it would infringe anything, but I'm not sure for certain. I'm going to be doing my own research, but I won't know the ins-and-outs, really. If there is anyone that knows alot about that, think you could shoot me a PM or email or Skype or osmething and help me out? if not, point me in a direction? (Preferably for free, I don't have much funding)
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#2 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:18 PM

If it's useful, someone will claim that you're infringing. That's the nature of IP.
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#3 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:24 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 09 December 2013 - 07:18 PM, said:

If it's useful, someone will claim that you're infringing. That's the nature of IP.


So what do you advise? Just do it and be prepared to fight the battles and have clear evidence I'm not infringing?
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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:26 PM

I would call a lawyer, and shill out some cash for their time. Leeching free advice on the legal issues from folk on the internet, and not in your area/country, is just a bad idea.
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#5 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:35 PM

I was about to say, before modi beat me to it, that it would be irresponsible of me to give you legal advice. There are a number of resources that you can use to evaluate your exposure, but if you think this might be a money-maker, you should start thinking about it as a potential money-maker. That means serious professional advice, not "this guy on the internet said...".

If you're not sure about what your exposure would be, you might be able to find some advice by other means. Lawyers do a certain amount of pro bono work - this is a professional obligation - and sometimes this comes in the form of legal clinics and consultancies. You might be able to find such a clinic and get some guidance that way.

There are also a number of companies and groups dedicated to facilitating startups. They often have meetups and events for would-be entrepreneurs. Attend one of those events and mingle, and do some talking.
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#6 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:36 PM

View Postmodi123_1, on 09 December 2013 - 07:26 PM, said:

I would call a lawyer, and shill out some cash for their time. Leeching free advice on the legal issues from folk on the internet, and not in your area/country, is just a bad idea.


Yeah, I see the point. Just problem is I'm 16, fully devoted to school and most money I get has to go to things like gas and whatnot. But i'll save up and try to get in contact with a lawyer. There's a bunch in my town, maybe they'll be cheap. Thanks.
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#7 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 07:48 PM

View Postjon.kiparsky, on 09 December 2013 - 07:35 PM, said:

I was about to say, before modi beat me to it, that it would be irresponsible of me to give you legal advice. There are a number of resources that you can use to evaluate your exposure, but if you think this might be a money-maker, you should start thinking about it as a potential money-maker. That means serious professional advice, not "this guy on the internet said...".

If you're not sure about what your exposure would be, you might be able to find some advice by other means. Lawyers do a certain amount of pro bono work - this is a professional obligation - and sometimes this comes in the form of legal clinics and consultancies. You might be able to find such a clinic and get some guidance that way.

There are also a number of companies and groups dedicated to facilitating startups. They often have meetups and events for would-be entrepreneurs. Attend one of those events and mingle, and do some talking.


oh, thanks. I had no idea about the clinics. I'll probably start looking for one around my town because of so many lawyers (Why, I have no idea. We have like 15 different law firms in a small town in Georgia. Go figure)
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#8 astonecipher  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 08:39 PM

Best I can offer aside from what has been stated, send your complete idea notarized to yourself by registered mail. It at least does set a timestamp.
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#9 jon.kiparsky  Icon User is online

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 08:50 PM

View Postastonecipher, on 09 December 2013 - 10:39 PM, said:

Best I can offer aside from what has been stated, send your complete idea notarized to yourself by registered mail. It at least does set a timestamp.


Unfortunately, the USPS accepts unsealed envelopes. If you want to establish that an envelope was sealed with certain contents on a certain date, talk to a notary public. Witnessing the existence of documents is pretty much their gig, and they can probably help you figure out how best to achieve that goal.

And unlike a lawyer, talking to a notary is pretty cheap.
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#10 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 09 December 2013 - 08:57 PM

View PostXaos, on 09 December 2013 - 09:06 PM, said:

Are there any super legal experts here, really regarding copyrights and IP?

Copyright protects the owners right of distribution, & little else.

View PostXaos, on 09 December 2013 - 09:06 PM, said:

If there is anyone that knows alot about that, think you could shoot me a PM or email or Skype or osmething and help me out?

NO! Do not ask for private help. The questions that you are asking are incredibly helpful to all developers. The purpose of Dream In Code is to share coding questions & answers with a coding community.

Also this question gets asked like once ever three / four months. You can search & find where it's been gone over, extensively. See how convenient that is? We share information for those that do their own research? & you're trying to make it all private so you can keep it to yourself...
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#11 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 10 December 2013 - 03:42 AM

NO! Do not ask for private help. The questions that you are asking are incredibly helpful to all developers. The purpose of Dream In Code is to share coding questions & answers with a coding community.

Also this question gets asked like once ever three / four months. You can search & find where it's been gone over, extensively. See how convenient that is? We share information for those that do their own research? & you're trying to make it all private so you can keep it to yourself...
[/quote]

Sorry about that, won't happen again. ill get more specific. what does a website actually have legal grounds over? Say I make a website like Facebook. Do they have rights over design, functionality, etc.? or if I implement a "like" button then is that the line? basically where is the normal "line" for websites' IP claims?

By the way, thanks for the notary advice. There's a notary in my school that I have a good relationship with, I'm sure she can help me out.
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#12 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 10 December 2013 - 07:43 AM

Could they own the patent on something like a like button or other things? Sure they could, if they filed for the patent. You can patent a lot of things in your design that have functional application.

Thing is facebook actually doesn't own the patent on the like button. Another company does, and they actually attempted to sue facebook over it.

http://www.law360.co...ike-button-suit

An inventor (person or company) has legal grounds to patent any invention they make. The invention must be sent to have the patent approved by the government (this is the US, though getting a patent is down in similar ways in most countries). It's then up to the patent owner to protect their invention when someone infringes, usually by suing the person who infringed.
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#13 no2pencil  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:19 AM

The 'like' button is not copyright, it's trademark. Totally different playing field.

You copyright something you want to sell or distribute. This gives you as the manufacturer, producer, whatever of your product authorization of how it is distributed. In software for example, if people pirate your software, you can sue them because they were not given distribution authorization of your product. You control how it is sold & traded.

Trademark is methodology, thought process, steps, intellectual property, logos. That kind of thing.

Copyrights are (from my experience) less than $100, & usually don't hold up worth a crap in court if someone reverse engendered your product. Trademarks are 100% something else.
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#14 Xaos  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:28 AM

View Postno2pencil, on 10 December 2013 - 08:19 AM, said:

The 'like' button is not copyright, it's trademark. Totally different playing field.

You copyright something you want to sell or distribute. This gives you as the manufacturer, producer, whatever of your product authorization of how it is distributed. In software for example, if people pirate your software, you can sue them because they were not given distribution authorization of your product. You control how it is sold & traded.

Trademark is methodology, thought process, steps, intellectual property, logos. That kind of thing.

Copyrights are (from my experience) less than $100, & usually don't hold up worth a crap in court if someone reverse engendered your product. Trademarks are 100% something else.

Oh okay, guess I'm dealing moreso with trade marks. I'll look into that too.
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#15 lordofduct  Icon User is offline

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Re: Any Legal Experts?

Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:04 AM

The like button isn't a trademark either.

It's an invention, they would have a patent on that. Hence the company in the link I supplied that is attempting to sue Facebook on "patent infringement". (edit: noticing that the link I have is to a site that requires a subscription... though the google link I hit for it had the full article. Weird. Here's another: http://www.nydailyne...ticle-1.1264524 )



Copyright - protection on intellectual property protecting your right to copies of that work. For instance: music, books, movies, etc. These are things that are duplicated and sold.

Patent - protection on an idea or invention. It generally has a function, and is a working system or part of a working system. This can be applied to digital services and how your service functions. I say "generally has a function" because people like Apple have patents on the SHAPE of their fucking phone... which I guess, kind of has a function? ehhh... it was held up in court.

Trademark - this is more with branding. The "Coca-Cola" emblem is a trademark. "SEGA" is a trademark. It's a name or image that represents your company or trade presence. As it pertains to intellectual property it is in the sense of a likeness or the sort. For instance there is a trademark on the Star Wars universe of characters, if I wanted to produce a product with any likenesses from Star Wars then I'd need permission on grounds of trademark.


A trademark could be issued on the appearance of the like button on facebook (the blue thumbs-up), that's about it. And I don't believe they have a trademark on that, but don't hold me to it. This works as a trademark because when you see the blue thumbs up you think to yourself "oh... facebook!". It's a recognizable image of the company.

Note not having a registered trademark on something doesn't immediately give you right to use it. There is implied trademark, and if you were to hijack said implied trademark and intentually harm the company who has the implied trademark, you can be held for libel. Example if I used the blue thumbs up in a way to convince people that facebook sponsored something horrible like "dog fighting" (yes I'm referencing a heineken incident actually) which subsequently caused fb stock to drop... you can be in trouble, even if the trademark wasn't registered. Facebook would just have to prove in the courts that the implied trademark is strong enough that the general population easily could make that mistake.

This post has been edited by lordofduct: 10 December 2013 - 09:19 AM

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