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I make t-shirts and want to know if I can use quotes from…

I make t-shirts and...

I make t-shirts and want to know if I can use quotes from Joseph Pilates on t-shirts I sell.

Lawyer's Assistant: What written documentation do you have?

I want to use quotes from his publication “Return to Life”

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?

No I have not and no

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Answered in 5 minutes by:
3/26/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 10,210
Experience: Licensed to practice before state and federal court
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Customer reply replied 26 days ago
Okay

Thanks for your patience. I don't think that using something from Pilates is going to be a good idea. In your case, the other party's estate will probably claim that you are infringing on their trademark because you are using a slogan attributable to him. It's also possible that if you're using excerpts from a book that you would be violating the copyright owned by his estate as well.

Proving it is a different case. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has laid out some elements that you can run through with your own lawyer to determine whether you are going to respond to a trademark lawsuit. Here are the general elements:

1. The other party has to prove they have a valid, protectable trademark and that they own that trademark;

2. The other party must prove that your mark is similar and you used it without the consent of the other party in a manner that is likely to cause confusion among ordinary consumers as to the source, sponsorship, affiliation, or approval of the goods.

So, it's a factual argument they would have to make. but if you're lifting it straight from a book, it could be a trademark issue.

When it comes to copyright, Title 17 of the U.S. Code protects a wide variety of original works including photographs, writings, sound recordings, motion pictures, and even architectural works. There are some exceptions such as fair use, but if a person reproduces a copyright without any one of those fair use exceptions or without owning the copyright, then a court is likely to determine they are infringing on the copyright.

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My recommendation is to either pay for the permission to use the quotes or use different ones altogether to avoid any lawsuits.

Did you have any other questions for me today that I could help you with?

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Customer reply replied 26 days ago
How would I find the estate to get permission?

That's the hard part. You may need to contact the publisher to see who they contacted. Many times it's family members. It'll take some research to be honest; however, it will save you a ton of legal paperwork and having to defend yourself. This way, if you get the licensing to do this, you could really make a fortune.

What other questions did you have for me today that I can help you out with:-)?

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Customer reply replied 26 days ago
Okay Thank you is this something I could hire a trademark attorney to do?

You're welcome and absolutely. It doesn't even have to be a TM attorney, but because it's a nuanced field, it'd be a good idea.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

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