How do I confirm a copyright exists?

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Cobby
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How do I confirm a copyright exists?

Post by Cobby » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:45 pm

Hello,

I thought I had this all sorted but a day after trading I am being hassled by somone in another country telling me im breaking the law.

Hers a brief summery of the situation.

back in the late 1970's a company created a product, this company went bust in the early 1980's.

The product in questions and all material relating to it was sold to another company which continued to market it witht he same name.

after a few years, this company to ceased trading and nothing happend till early 2000's when a US company purchased the material/products/rights and whatever and re-launched the product.

Now, The first company had a UK registered tradmark of the brand name.

The second company, whilst using that name i do not believe re-registered the trademark/logo.

The current US company has a US registered trademark of the brand name and their own, new logo.

I have placed an application for a UK and EU trademark of that name and the original log and there appears to be no conflicts, I also own a UK limted company that consistes of just the brand name.

The issue is, they are saying that they own the copyright to the product(s) i am manufacturing and these rights were handed down to them from previous companies.

My problem is, do i take there word for it? I openly admit i did not create these products and i am creating new ones from the originals, if the originals were never registered - is there a problem. Please bare in mind also that the US company is not actually making the products that im selling, they are selling another part of the range of products.

I realise that i may need professional advice, just want guidence on a bit first...

Is everything ever made in theory copyrighted, or do specific registrations have to be made, for example if i made a plastic jelly mold in the shape of a rabbit, could nobody else create this exactly the same?

A little guidence please, anyone!

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:09 am

Copyright will automatically apply to all work that is subject to copyright and will exist for typically the life of the creator plus 70 years.

For details of what copyright is and how it applies I would start with the links to information from http://copyrightaid.co.uk/copyright_information/

Copyright tends not to apply to products themselves, but rather the artwork/design etc. But it really depemds on what the product is. It is probably a good idea to take this matter to a solicitor for a proper appraisal.

Cobby
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Post by Cobby » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:56 am

Thank you for your reply. The point I am trying to establish is, is a copyright only in existence if it is registered somhow/somewhere. For example, If i design somthing and then just leave it on my desk, in ten years time when somone designs the same thing OR copies mine exactly,

Do i have copyright or a claim of any kind?

Thanks,

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CopyrightAid
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Post by CopyrightAid » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:33 pm

Copyright legislation states that copyright exists from the point that the work is 'first fixed in a tangible form' (i.e. written down). You do not have to register anywhere for copyright to exist - copyright is an automatic right.

Having said that, many people do register their work. *The main reason for this is that it ensures that they have evidence of their claim - it avoids the 'your word against theirs' problem.

You should not confuse copyright - an automatic right, with copyright registration - a means of establishing additional evidence. Copyright will exist without registration, it is just that registration may make it easier to prove your claim if disputed.

(*there are some additional conditions for US copyright owners - but I won't bore you with that here... )

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Post by Cobby » Thu Mar 26, 2009 7:47 am

Thanks for that, thats what i was trying to find out, and unfortunatly not what i wanted to hear as there is no dispute that i did not create the original work, i was simply hoping that as the work is not registered and nobody else is producing it that i had the right to copy/use it.

Thanks for your guidence.

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