Eek! I was accused of copyright infringement!

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by wildmaven, Sep 27, 2007.

  1. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    I just received an email from a woman in California who says I stole a phrase from her photography site. When I looked at which phrase it was, I knew what had happened. I had been trying to come up with some nice wording for my Pregnancy Portrait section of my website, and had asked on another forum if anyone had any ideas. The phrase I used was one of those ideas, and obviously they had seen it on her site! I feel like such a criminal. As an artist, there's no way I would intentionally steal from someone. In fact, copyright infringement is one of my biggest pet peeves. I explained it to her, but I still feel horrible. :(
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Does she actually have her phrase copyrighted? I doubt it. Actually, I'd bet that she isn't the first person to use it. Type it into Google with quotation marks and see how many hits turn up...without even knowing what it is...I'd bet that quite a few hits turn up.
     
  3. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    I took it out. After a week of being beaten down by ill-mannered people, it was just one more thing I didn't want to deal with. I usually don't let forum type things get to me, but facing the possibility of having to go on chemo-type drugs is taking away my patience and I just want to curl up in a ball and cry. :confused:
     
  4. ~Stella~

    ~Stella~ TPF Noob!

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    Well, you have an automatic copyright on anything you create or write (like a book, photo, film, etc) subject to certain exclusions.

    A common phrase would be one of those exclusions. There are many others, such as a parody, for instance. I happen to have an IP lawyer handy if you need more specifics, Wildmaven, but he's away on business until tomorrow night. Let me know if you have any questions.

    ETA - I didn't see the phrase, but I think it would be fairly difficult to have protected rights to something as short as a pharase, even if it was fairly unusual. Now, she can always get that trademarked liek a jingle or logo, but that isn't automatic - you have to register for it.
     
  5. wildmaven

    wildmaven TPF Noob!

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    Thanks, Stella. Hers had a couple extra words. But I can understand how she feels. I would be angry if I saw my wording, or close to it, on another site, even if they were 1300 miles away. I guess from now on I won't ask for suggestions and think for myself, hee hee. :) Oops. Maybe I shouldn't put her phrase on here. [edited just in case]
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But copyright to a phrase sounds a bit ... unusual to me. I would guess you can use it unless it is trademarked.

    But then again, I am not a law-person.

    Is it such a unique phrase? [edit: ok, saw your post now, that is rather unique and lengthy.]

    Anyway, please do not feel bad about this! :hugs:
     
  7. JHF Photography

    JHF Photography TPF Noob!

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    I don't know, the phrase doesn't (edit: ok, didn't.... I see you've removed it since I started writing this) sound that unique to me. I can't imagine she is the first and only person (other than you - lol) to have something along that line in their advertising.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    You are correct. Phrases and even book titles are not copyrightable unless they are totally unique such as some of the made up McDonald's words.

    skieur
     
  9. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Who would want to use any of those from evil Ronald-fake-Scotsman-McDonald anyway. ;)
     
  10. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I guess it depends on the jurisdiction that you are in...but I think that I heard that names People & Places can't be copyrighted...even if they are made up. JRR Tolkien wasn't happy about that because many of the names in his writings were made up by him...actually, he made up the languages from which the names were derived.
     
  11. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    But they can be trademark-ed .. and then you cannot sell things under your own name anymore if someone else got the trademark registered...

    And yes, 99% of all fantasy authors just copied from him ... that is why I hardly read any of them.
     
  12. Chas

    Chas TPF Noob!

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    Frankly, this person (the OP's accuser) sounds like a complete troll to me. I'm not a lawyer, but you don't have to be one to know that this is utter nonsense.
     

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