Ask Dr. Copyright

08Nov 2018
Question on a Keyboard

Dear Doc: I know that Mickey Mouse is still enjoying copyright protection because of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, and that once copyrights expire, characters become “public domain”. How can you explain some of the direct knockoffs I have seen at the Halloween stores, like “A-Lad-In A Costume?” Signed, Perplexed Papa Dear PP […]

18Oct 2018
Question on a Keyboard

Dear Doc: Barry Pincus sang, “I write the songs” back in 1975. (You probably know Barry as Manilow. But Bruce Johnston (of Beach Boys fame) actually wrote “I Write the Songs”, and it was first recorded by The Captain and Tennille (who were more famous for “Muskrat Love” which, it seems, was a favorite of […]

19Apr 2018
Question on a Keyboard

 Dear Doc: I’ve always heard that Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’till it’s over.”  I’ve also heard (not to engage in body-image shaming) that, “It’s not over ’till the fat lady sings.” Now I hear that the copyright case between Oracle and Google, which I read was over (Oracle lost) is not over at […]

01Feb 2018
Question on a Keyboard

Dear Doc: I hear that although a monkey can’t own a copyright, a cat can be both a copyright and a trademark, and is worth a whole lot of money. What gives? Judges don’t like monkeys, but love kitties? What kind of law is that? Signed, Confused Cat Lover Dear CCL: Like anything in the […]

11Jan 2018

  Dear Doc:   Last I heard, “Slants”, a term some Asians apparently find offensive was deemed to be a registrable trademark by the United States Supreme Court because they think that free speech under the First Amendment protects all sorts of offensive speech (but not the giant Ten Commandments that was put up at […]