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socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 38879
Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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I recently published a book called Rudolph's Accident thru

Customer Question

I recently published a book called Rudolph's Accident thru Page Publishing. I received a call from Jonathan Flom of Character Art LLC with a cease and desist request stating I was violating a Franchise holding. He bought and owns the rights to the 1964 Rudolph movie and all corresponding characters and licensing rights. Rudolph was a story that was published in 1939. My book was based on the original story line and none of my characters look like his. I halted all publications with the publishing company and he wants me to sign a document stating I will not publish further. He states if I do he will sue and he will own rights to the book. I have about 5,000 invested in producing this book and several weeks have passed since I asked my publisher to stop it. Does he have the right to do that, according to the website he has he bought the rights to the Rudolph Movie and its character line up in 1999. Does he really have the power to stop me publishing this story. I think he has cost me both time and money and has not followed thru with any document to sign.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 8 months ago.


The principal issue here is whether or not the person who purchased the rights to the 1964 movie, also purchased the rights to the 1939 story. The secondary issue is whether or not the 1939 story has entered the public domain, due to an expired copyright.

By example, if the story's copyright was originally published with a copyright notice (probably true), but not renewed, then the copyright has expired -- which means that you can do whatever you want with the story line (though not with the movie characters -- which based upon your facts, is not at issue).

If I were representing you, I would probably ask the person claiming copyright infringement to show proof that the original copyright was licensed from the 1939 published and/or author, and that the copyright was renewed before it expired ( circa. 1967).

I hope I've answered your question. Please let me know if you require further clarification. And, please provide a positive feedback rating for my answer (click 3, 4 or 5 stars) -- otherwise, I receive nothing for my efforts in your behalf.

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