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Intellectual property is the area of law which governs use of the designs, inventions, and works of
individuals, such as copyrights, patents, and trademarks. Common questions center on protection of
designs, logos, music compositions, and software, and we've dealt with them all.
Intellectual property falls into two broad categories we call licensed and public domain.
Licensed intellectual property includes works which cannot be used freely; you cannot use an image
copyrighted by an artist, for example, unless you obtain a license for such use. For those of you copying art
from the web, you may be violating the Copyright Act. Think no one will notice when you "broadcast" (play)
music or videos in that club or restaurant? Think again: two groups, ASCAP and BMI, will hunt and pester
you until they receive an appropriate license fee, often referred to as a royalty payment.
"Public domain" refers to a category of works which are "owned by the public." When a work falls into this
category, it is yours to use without the requirement of a license (typically). There may be concerns if you
plan to change or alter the work, such as adding images to a known work of art; these "droit moral" and
"droit" artist" concerns should not be overlooked.
At Schuster & Associates, we successfully represented artists in their challenges against the Corel
Corporation (for use of copyrighted images in clip-art), authors in litigation for unlicensed use of original
screenplays, garment designers to obtain trademarks, and musicians and music publishers for a variety of
intellectual property concerns. We also litigate trade secret and copyright infringement cases for one of the
nation's best-known game designers and serve that company as corporate counsel.
We are routinely asked to provide intellectual property counsel to individuals and businesses. We are hoping
you will consider us for your intellectual property needs and encourage you to call or send us a note.