copyright, domains, patent, trade secret
Ownership is more than just owning something.
When I was an army officer, we assigned drivers to particular vehicles. Why? Drivers take pride in their vehicles and maintain them better when they take “ownership”. It was enough to assign the vehicle to the driver. Downtime was reduced.
Ownership is a mindset.
If you truly OWN your iP, others will respect it more. So, take the time to own your iP.
It doesn’t take that much time or money. Just make sure the agreements necessary to transfer rights in iP to your company are available and used.
Either independently develop or license from a reliable source all of the images and other works of authorship that you use personally and in your businesses. If you do this, then you won’t infringe anyone’s copyright.
There is a legal way to use copyrighted works in the US without getting a license. It’s called “fair use” and is a limited defense against copyright infringement for use of a copyrighted work for a specific purpose. There are 4 factors to consider:
- the purpose and character of your use of the copyrighted work;
- the nature of the copyrighted work, itself;
- the amount and substantiality of the portion taken (used); and
- the effect of the use upon the potential market for the copyrighted work.
You’d like to know that your use is “fair use” BEFORE being sued. But this is a difficult analysis, even for an intellectual property attorney.
Typically, a legal opinion for a relatively easy analysis would cost $10,000. So, “fair use” is not for everyone.
Also, fair use is merely an affirmative defense to copyright infringement. So, relying on fair use basically admits infringement. If you’re analysis is wrong, it’s going to cost you.
So, it’s better to own or license works.
The purpose of copyright law is to give a incentive to the creative arts. The term of copyright exclusivity has increased over time, but there are still many works that are no longer protected by copyright.
These classics are in the public domain.
However, the version that most of us find familiar may not closely resemble the classic telling of the fable.
Copyright protects the the expression and not the idea. So, a new retelling of a classic fable is protected by copyright.
So long as your telling of the classic fable starts from the classic fable and is independently develops how you retell the story, you’re OK.
Of course, it would be wise to avoid similarities with any Disney version.
And asking for a copyright clearance search and opinion from a lawyer that specializes in copyright law would be a good idea if you plan to make significant money from your retelling.