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Alex Reese
Alex Reese, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 3106
Experience:  Experienced in intellectual property law
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I designed a logo national muscle car club and had the

Customer Question

I designed a logo for a national muscle car club and had the logo art Federally Registrated by the U.S. copyright Office at the time of first publication, July 2013. The gentleman who managed the website and oversaw the day to day operations of the organization later that year Registered the logo as a Trademark to protect a variety of merchandise he planned on selling on the site, which I knew nothing about. Through membership application dues, decals, apparel and other merchandise he has depositied well over $25,000 into an account he operates for the club. Doesn't my Copyright Registration proving I am the creator and owner of the logo take precedent over his trade mark and shouldn't he owe me a share of the profits form these sales.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
hello. if he used your copyrighted work (logo) without permission then that would be a copyright infringement. you can demand that he cease to use it and take a license (and potentially may for past use)....but if he does not comply then you will need to have an attorney send him a formal letter on your behalf that threatens legal action if he does not comply.
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
the issue of who owns the copyright depends on your employment arrangement. the default rule is that the creator/author owns the work unless it is specifically a "work for hire" arrangement or if its agreed that the employer owns the copyright (e.g. as in a typical employment agreement)
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
He is acting like an as now that he knows I have this Copyright and is threatening me legally, but HE doesn't have the edge in this, I do, correct?Also, I do not wish to shut down the group as there are over 2200 members around the country. I only want a portion of the proceeds he has been making for 24 months. How do I go about doing that?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No... The online car club was resurrected by him, me and 2 others. In the beginning I received a portion of each membership fee to compensate me for the art. When he took it over a couple of months later, that ceased and then he began all this merchandise selling and has never offered me anything. The other 2 guys were tired of his rudeness and became uninvolved in the whole thing so it's just been him. Now he is contacting folks around the country and telling them I am going to shut down the club because of legal action concerning the logo/brand.
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
yes, if there was no agreement that he would own the copyright then by default you would own it....thats the general rule so the edge is on your side. you simply negotiate it and if necessary flex your legal right
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That means I have to shell out a lot of money to hire a lawyer to handle this, correct?
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
well not necessarily, you can negotiate the issue on your own, but if you feel you have hit a dead end and need an attorney then it could get expensive if there is a litigation, but things may be resolved once the attorney sends him a letter
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
well a normal human with a normal mental health history would work with me to come to an agreement, but this ain't him. Doesn't the fact that he has the club set up as a "nonprofit" as far as the IRS goes, yet there is no charity that receives any proceeds from the membership dues or any of the merchandise he sells online, make his situation dire if I were to report this to the IRS? Don't want to open up a giant can of worms here but would that be leverage I could use also?
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
i see. that is a separate issue that is outside my field, but generally "non-profit" just means that profits are reinvested into the business, but again that is outside my expertise.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I understand.., thanks for the help.
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
even he will realize that its cheaper to pay you some small amount than potentially face a lawsuit
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
and you can offer to sell him the copyright for a reasonable sum if you/he likes. best of luck!
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
You would think, but he is insane and a control freak and has already set out to make me the bad guy in certain circles so he can be the "victi" and me the "bad guy". I am keeping all the written correspondence we exchanged today and what he is sending out to people whose business this is none of...
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks again!
Expert:  Alex Reese replied 2 years ago.
you're welcome, and please Rate me so I get credit

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