Questions tagged [intellectual-property]

For questions concerning the ownership of ideas, designs and creative work. Specific IP tags include copyright, trademark, and patents.

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Can you be accused of hotlinking/copyright violation if you use an iframe?

Can you be accused of hotlinking or copyright infringement if you use an iframe (web element) of another website? Can you be sued for this if the website doesn't prevent iframe using and doesn't ...
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5 votes
1 answer
837 views

How legal is offering abandonware for download?

A quick background to my project (it's essential to the question, as you'll see later): My project offers a multiplayer server platform for server listings for a game (Crysis Wars), allowing players ...
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8 votes
2 answers
2k views

How can "factual" intellectual property be protected?

As noted in this answer: Facts and information cannot be copyrighted. Just because a work is copyrighted, doesn't mean every part of that work is copyrighted, and factual information conveyed ...
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12 votes
1 answer
666 views

Trade restrictions on open source software

Apparently the US has put Huawei on a trade blacklist that prevents US companies to trade with Huawei. With hardware and proprietary software it is straightforward how this can be executed (don't make ...
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17 votes
1 answer
1k views

What is the value in adding an email confidentiality notice?

The company I work for adds a disclaimer on the bottom of each email. I was wondering if it had any value. I'll list part of it below: CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail message is for the sole ...
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11 votes
1 answer
1k views

Does copyrighted code protect intellectual property rights on novel algorithms it implements?

Imagine you have come up with a novel algorithm to solve a problem, and have implemented it in, e.g., javascript, and have put its src, along with an appropriate copyright, on a publicly available ...
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16 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can I name a real company after a fictional company found in a book?

Can I name my company after a fictional company (of the same type) found in a book?
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8 votes
1 answer
737 views

Can Google legally host images for its search results without permission?

Google crawls websites, and downloads the images to their servers along with the related metadata. These images are then presented to the user when searching Google for related images. If the owner ...
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1 vote
2 answers
36k views

Can I make YouTube videos where I read parts of a book aloud

I'm learning languages and in my opinion, one way to improve my skills is to read books aloud. Making it a habit would help me with my vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, etc. I also think there ...
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6 votes
3 answers
608 views

Can you keep illegal information?

This answer to the question Can numbers be illegal? makes a good argument, and AFAIK it comports with the law. It follows other answers in observing that any piece of information can be encoded by ...
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23 votes
3 answers
30k views

Is downloading YouTube videos legal?

I've always been under the assumption that doing such was illegal. I don't see any difference between downloading music from YouTube and downloading music from The Pirate Bay. Apparently, there is ...
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12 votes
2 answers
1k views

Who owns the code when my employer wants something similar to my existing open source project?

I have a similar situation to this question. My employer hired me knowing that I work on some open source projects, but for a long time, showed no interest in my open source projects. Now they want ...
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9 votes
5 answers
13k views

Why are private game servers illegal?

Over on Arqade we were discussing a question which was asking about private servers for a game called World of Warcraft. The discussion was about if using and/or hosting a private server is illegal ...
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6 votes
1 answer
195 views

Is it legal to republish lyrics?

Can a lyrics web site be legal, assuming there are no special agreements with the artists? Is publishing song lyrics considered "fair use?"
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4 votes
2 answers
191 views

Can a provider of content restrict use of the content when they have no intellectual property rights to it?

In this question I asked whether someone who recovers an old, noncopyrighted work via technical processes can claim copyright on the result. The answer suggested that they could not, but that they ...
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1 vote
2 answers
119 views

Work for hire as a contractor without payment, can you withhold IP?

Context: Canadian law; contract work; software IP If a contractor signs a work for hire agreement at the outset of a project and agrees that all work done for a company is the company's IP, can the ...
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21 votes
3 answers
1k views

Is there a legal reason why fictional shows use imitation brand names?

Often, when I watch TV shows, I'll see or hear about an imitation of a real brand name. As an example, here is a parody of Walmart from The Simpsons The store in the picture is unambiguously ...
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5 votes
2 answers
401 views

Copyright status of restored works

Suppose some kind of work was created long enough ago that the work itself has entered the public domain. But suppose the work has been "lost" so that it's not available anymore. Now suppose someone ...
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3 votes
1 answer
309 views

Discrepancy between robots.txt and TOS

This question made me think of a situation: Alice asks Bob to crawl web site realestate.example.com and return results of the regular expression "Price:([0-9]*).*Size:([0-9]*)" Bob points a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
256 views

Are tweets or Instagram posts copyrighted?

There are accounts on Twitter and Instagram that make money by posting sponsored content. Let's say another account does the same thing, but it just copies the tweets/posts from the more popular ...
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2 votes
3 answers
2k views

Is scraping real estate data illegal in anyway?

So a relative of mine works in the real estate business and she wants me to write a Python script that scrapes property prices and lot size from a website, calculate price per sqft, and email her the ...
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2 votes
2 answers
796 views

Republishing in old book, what are ones rights and obligations?

I have an old book on shelf, published in, and copyright date of 1913 (US). Looking over a copyright law page on the subject, I am thinking the copyright has expired but am not 100% sure. What kind ...
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2 votes
4 answers
4k views

Is Streaming Copyrighted Content Illegal in the UK

Obviously, it is illegal in most countries to download films, games, music etc without paying for them. However, there are a growing number of people who argue that streaming is not illegal as, they ...
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1 vote
2 answers
109 views

In the US, is it possible to protect a business idea?

Provided the idea is new and meaningfully different from any other existing business. Is there a way to prevent others from profiting off that idea?
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1 vote
3 answers
221 views

Which year to put in copyright notice when mixing old content?

I'm from India and I know that copyright rules may vary from country to country, however, I hope that this question is much general and could be answered based on a general convention. I'm writing a ...
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0 votes
1 answer
359 views

Is it legal to keep or make a digital copy of a physical book I bought?

If we assume the book is copyrighted or a specific book that is not free of charge, it is commercial, can I make or download a digital copy of a book that I bought? I didn't buy the copyright and we ...
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-1 votes
3 answers
395 views

How can one open a profitable MMORPG private server (server emulator) legally?

Background The MMORPG in question has a Korean developer and a German publisher. It is pretty old, but is still live and running by the publisher. The game appears to be dying and has a very low ...
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44 votes
4 answers
14k views

Can UPS really trademark the color brown?

So, today as I received an email from UPS, I read the disclaimer at the end and it said: © 2016 United Parcel Service of America, Inc. UPS, the UPS brandmark, and the color brown are trademarks of ...
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22 votes
6 answers
5k views

Prove my work is not a trade secret violation

I have recently developed a medical software application. One of my previous employers X (from 4 years ago) sells a similar application. (You can see where this is going.) X is now alleging that I ...
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1 vote
2 answers
2k views

Who can claim copyrights on Machine Learning models?

Consider the following: person A owns a lot of data person B develops an algorithm that can be trained on this kind of data to produce a ML model that can make statistical predictions person C ...
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32 votes
6 answers
12k views

If my electronic devices are searched, can a police officer use my ideas?

On my phone, I have many different ideas for startups, books, and other creative endeavours. Most of them are probably (or certainly) worthless, but a few have some potential. As I understand it, ...
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12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Can you be bound to an unsigned contract even though services are rendered informally?

So you are working on a project to build a SaaS (Software as a Service). You prepare a technical contract and have it reviewed by intellectual property lawyers and it passes their approval. You ...
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11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Can pricing be copyrighted?

Say a service is offered with pricing for 1 hour, 2 hours ... 12 hours. Assume there is some sort of custom calculation used to determine discounts after the first hour (e.g. if the first hour is $100,...
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7 votes
1 answer
552 views

Do faculty own the copyright to course materials they create even if their contract or university IP policy specify otherwise?

An answer on Academia.SE claims that in general, any lectures, slides, textbooks, or scholarly articles you [as faculty] write belong to you and not your school, and this is true regardless of ...
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7 votes
2 answers
408 views

Hacking devices to unlock features: Legal or not?

There are 2 models of multimeter, A and B. Physically they are absolutely identical, yet model B has some functions unlocked, that are locked in model A. B costs about $400 more than A. If one tampers ...
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6 votes
4 answers
2k views

Copyright infringement question, photography of public art

Near Las Vegas is an outdoor earth art piece called Seven Magic Mountains. I have taken many photos there, the one above I took, well its a frame from a movie from my drone. I am out a few weeks ago ...
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5 votes
2 answers
305 views

Is it legal to unlock artificially limited hardware yourself?

Some companies sell hardware that is limited by some means, so that they can charge for upgrades. For example some Tesla cars have batteries with some capacity unavailable to the user unless they pay ...
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4 votes
1 answer
2k views

Use of Microsoft Trademark in Product Name

I am developing Add-Ins that extend Microsoft Office applications with additional functionality. As such, I am looking for product names to advertise these Add-Ins. Here's a very crude example of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
4k views

Is Van Gogh's Starry Night in the public domain?

The image I am talking about is here: The Wikimedia page indicates that: This work is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the ...
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8 votes
1 answer
948 views

Big corporation in the UK, Intellectual Property and a Contract

I've recently been offered a job at a large technology corporation based in the UK. I've yet to sign the contract but I found something in it which concerns me. Intellectual property, ideas and ...
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6 votes
5 answers
952 views

General Foundation for Understanding IP Law?

This seems to be a recurring problem, both on this site and elsewhere, and including my own questions. Lots of specific-detail-type problems that may seem like that's all they are on their own, but ...
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  • 197
4 votes
1 answer
234 views

Can I produce or write my own recipe book based on what my action in cooking using other's recipe book or online?

I have done my research but the stack exchange provides no further answer that I needed. My research is as follows: A StackExchange user comments Selection and ordering of the recipes could be a "...
4 votes
4 answers
27k views

To what extent can a person use Wizards of the Coast's D&D monster information?

I am creating some software that, at the moment, uses parts of the same format of summarizing creatures as the published works of Wizards of the Coast. Specifically the 2nd edition of Advanced ...
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3 votes
2 answers
2k views

What does "reasonable" mean?

I have seen the phrase 'reasonable conditions' used quite often in legal texts, and I always get nervous, as I don't know how to interpret it. Imagine a Confidentiality and Assignment Agreement with ...
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2 votes
1 answer
3k views

Is taking notes copyright infringement?

If I'm taking notes on a book I'm studying would I technically be infringing copyright if I didn't properly cite the source on the piece of paper the notes are on? I got curious because I was watching ...
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  • 337
2 votes
2 answers
290 views

Copyright Law for Logo Design that Incorporates a Royalty Free Vector Design [closed]

I am designing a logo for a for profit company. This logo design consists of letters that represent the name of the company but also incorporate a silhouette of a city skyline merged with these ...
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1 vote
1 answer
63 views

Is there a “standard template” NDA contract that covers a majority of businesses requiring protection of proprietary information?

The following paragraph stood out as unusual for an NDA that a friend was asked to sign: “Terms and Termination. This Agreement shall terminate two (2) year(s) after the Effective Date. The ...
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0 votes
3 answers
11k views

Is it illegal to remove a watermark?

Inspired by this poorly worded question on graphicdesign.stackexchange: I want to remove a text watermark Is illegal to remove watermarks? Off the top of my head I can think of 3 possible legitimate ...
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0 votes
1 answer
212 views

Would someone actually sue me for attributing them?

Imagine my goal were to openly copy copyrighted work in a perfectly legal way. Sometimes people go to court to debate whether someone copied part of a work or made it from scratch. We'll assume I copy ...
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0 votes
3 answers
330 views

Can I copyright all creative works created hereafter by doing this?

This question is inspired by the TED talk Copyrighting all the melodies to avoid accidental infringement and its Lobsters thread. Basically, the story is that Damien Riehl and Noah Rubin put every ...
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