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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 117372
Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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I saw an illustration that I liked on the internet. I want

Customer Question

I saw an illustration that I liked on the internet. I want to use it as the cover for a board game I am creating to sell. Can I use the picture if I change it up a little or would it still be copyright infringement?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
See the image attached for more explanation.
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
You cannot use this image as it is copyrighted. If you "change it up a bit" but any part of it is still recognizable, then it would still be infringement under what copyright law calls "derivative use" meaning you cannot take the work and make alterations to it and claim a new work without written consent from the owner of the original copyright (this is an often misunderstood concept with people thinking they can change "20%" or something like that and not be in violation). Your version is way too identical and merely changing the eyes would be considered derivative use I am afraid. So you would need consent from the copyright owner in writing to do that.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I want to create a company called Tornado Studios that makes games but there is one that already exists that does the exact same thing. Can I still make my company and call it Tornado Studios?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
No, you would be infringing on their trademarked name. So if you use their name that they are already using, they can sue to stop you since your use of their name creates a likelihood of confusion and also takes away from their company's goodwill.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
What if they have no trademark on the name. For example, I am creating a company called Tornado Studios that makes games. My website will be tornadostudios.org but there is another site called Tornado Studios with a website- www.tornadostudios.com that also makes games. The thing is there is no trademark filed for Tornado Studios. Can I still create the company?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
It does not matter if they registered their trademark or not, they have what is called a "common law trademark" from using the name in commerce before you. So they still have common law trademark rights.