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Are Portions of a Painting Covered Under the Original Copyright? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe Friday 2/3/12

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On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Charles: Hey Joe; I have one painting that you helped me copyright thanks,are all images even closeups of portions of the originial covered under the originial copyright or do I need a new copyright for each blowup. Does that make sence?

Joe Escalante: Any unauthorized copying of even a portion of your work would constitute an infringement, so you are covered by your original registration. If they copy one of your close ups, it doesn’t matter that the close up you made wasn’t registered. They’ve copied a portion of the original protected work. Good luck!

Nancy: My mother is in a nursing home and I have a durable power of attorney. She needs funds. My question is can I sell her property? Her SocialSecurity goes straight to the home and she still owes $42,000 on her property, so we really need the funds. Thank you for this service.

Joe Escalante: It’s hard to say exactly since I haven’t seen it, but a power of attorney, drafted properly, should give you the power to legally buy and sell assets on her behalf.

Geri: If my mom has bought property paid in full for over a year…and the paper work has been destroyed…how can she get it in her name. She neglected to file the deed when she got it. She is 89 and wants to get it all straightened out for her heirs. Thanks you for your advice. GOD bless you.

Joe Escalante: She needs to go to the county registrar and file a claim of title. Tell them the story. They will have a process to perfect the title in your mom’s name if no one else is claiming it and if she has been paying the taxes on it. Bring the tax documents.

Steve: We have good friends that received a dog from there Son, who had gotten it from a former employer who breeds the dogs for commercial sale. The understanding the Son had with Him was to let Him breed the dog when it was time and keep the pups, a situation arrose where the Son could not keep the dog so He gave it to His parents. They have fallen in love with the dog and is considered part of the family, they want it only as a pet and not to breed it. There was no contract signed by anyone only verbal agreement. What should they do legally??? They love the dog and do not want to give it up now for a long period of time for it to be bred and have pups.

Joe Escalante: It’s a bit messy but it seems to me that when the dog was given to the parents, the son did not retain any rights (unless there is evidence to the contrary). That being the case, the breeder would have to go after the son if it feels it has suffered damages by his broken promise. A promise is generally not enforceable by law. Only a contract is enforceable. A contract must contain a “quid pro quo.” In this case, unless your son received something of value, in exchange for the promise, there’s no quid pro quo.
It’s possible that there was a deal like, “I’m gonna give you this here puppy, and you gonna raise it, then you gonna give me breedin’ rights, fair n’ square.”
That might be an enforceable deal, but again, the breeder only has a case against the son, not against you.

Patricia: I bought a manufactured home kind of old. payed for it myself payed lot rent for one year and also payed for home insurance for 1 year husband payed nothing. bought in july2011 husband left in Oct 2011 can he take from me since he paid nothing for it i also have a 17 year old still in school not his child on Jan 29 we were married 10 years. but he still has filed no papers can i protect myself and the only home i have. I live in Virgina.

Joe Escalante: If the title of the property is in your name only, by these facts, it would be pretty hard for your husband to take it from you during a divorce. However, if the title is in his name as well, you are going to eventually have to make some kind of deal with him.

Margarita: If going through divorce and selling the couples property, being one of them a Real Estate agent and taking care of the listing, does he or she is obligated to split the real estate commission 50/50 with the spouse?

Joe Escalante: Probably, but it may depend on whether the couple was legally separated and for how long. This sounds like a lawyer is going to be needed to fight this one out. And that lawyer will probably eat up the commission so it may be a wash.

Venessa: My tenants in colorado have one year lease+ every month they have new excuse for being late on the rent. I served em 3 day notice in dec, jan + feb. They always come through but its @ 11:59 pm. Before the deadline! Then they complain about carpet, dishwasher, washing machine,…even the fact that they pay $5 more rent than their friends below! What else can I do?

Joe Escalante: If they honor the terms of the lease, you can’t get rid of them for just complaining. That’s what tenants do.

Gilbert: good morning Joe last month i plead no contest on a ticket my question can i ask the court for a new hearing for the amount of the ticket to be lowered now on my discovery after my hearing i found out the city of Los Angeles is some what at fault of me getting that ticket.

Joe Escalante: Yes. Go back to the court and ask to have the plea vacated so you can enter a new plea. Go soon, because if you wait too long it will be considered unfair because at your trial the cop will need to have memory of the incident.

Steve: I am looking for best sources of advice and up-to-the-minute information on legalities and concerns regarding live webcasts for the entertainment industry. I have heard a lot of conflicting opinions about rights management, digital content, broadcast vs. webcast, etc. Any suggestions?

Joe Escalante: Unless you’re making porn, you can submit specific questions to my radio show and they will be answered in depth on the air. The show is all entertainment legal issues and intellectual property. It’s on in 20 minutes, but there are two each week. See for details. You can submit your question there in the contact section. Stream the show live today at

Judy: We have too many medical bills and on a fixed income and can’t pay them. what do we do?

Joe Escalante: Sounds like a question for a bankruptcy attorney. Click the link below and find out what works for you.

LegalZoom: Here’s the link, Judy:

David: Joe: You were nice enough to answer my question on Tuesday, about the legality of YouTube videos of TV and movies uploaded in connection with a book. You said to check out “Fair Use” (believe me, I have — there are no easy or universally-agreed-on answers) and that the studios may have the videos taken down. But I have no problem with the videos being taken down — my real question is whether it’s likely I would be sued.

Of course anyone can be sued for anything but I’m trying to figure out the likelihood. There are millions of similar clips all over YouTube and the net — the question in this case, I feel, is whether it makes a difference that mine wouldn’t be simply uploaded by someone, but by someone in connection with a commercial enterprise (a book).

Any idea?

Joe Escalante: I don’t think the commercial nature of your enterprise is that much of a factor. It may increase the damages somewhat but they are going to go after statutory, not actual, damages most likely if they decide to get you. It is very unlikely you would be sued, you would just be forced to take down the videos. The problem is that if you get too many take down notices, you get your entire account deleted and you might have some really rare and irreplaceable lol cat videos on there. Call my show.

Carol: Hi Joe! Will be starting a non profit corp shortly and I’m wondering if a board member can also be a $ contributor? Thank you :)

Joe Escalante: Yes. I was a board member of a non-profit once and they were constantly haranguing me for money.

Denise: if i was a land lord, & i have renters, but it is a month to month, can i evicted them for being hoarders, and me getting their mail for being late on a water, sewage or any other bill????

Joe Escalante: You can get rid of them for any reason on a month to month lease. Well, not any reason. Like if you don’t like white people and you got rid of them for that, you’d be in trouble. Do not mention the hoarding because they might be able to trump up some discrimination claim concerning diseases recognized by reality television. Just give them 30 days notice and rent that thing to some neat freaks, if you known what I mean.

Linda: Hi Joe, What can I do about a bank that manges my Trust, but doesn’t inform me on anything they do.I have a house for sale in NV and I can not have any contact with the RE agent this bank hired! But my trusts pay for agent services.Now I found out, not through the bank, but the house was taken off the market..It’s not a BANK OWNED house, nor a foreclosure. Bank tells me I can’t have contact!! This is only one of many problems I have with them.

Joe Escalante: You can petition the court to remove the trustee on whatever theory you believe is appropriate, e.g., misappropriation of funds, imprudent investments, non-responsiveness, etc. That will get their attention.

Steve: Joe, getting ready to copyright stuff, are there limitations on size and formats?

Joe Escalante: There are certain limitations in connection with filing. You should read the FAQ section at the web site for the copyright office. If it’s still unclear, call my show or submit your question to in the contact section.

Michael: Hi Legal Zoom. When it comes to copyrighting video game the software copyright is pretty straight forward. However, what about the artwork? Does each frame of an animation need to be copyrighted or would a sprite sheet (all frames of animation appearing on one image with possible rotation of the images) be sufficient to copyright and protect your IP? Thanks Legal Zoom!

Joe Escalante: I haven’t been involved directly with copyrighting a video game, but think about a movie. You don’t need to copyright each frame, they are all included in the copyright for the film as a whole. There’s no practical alternative. A copyright of a collection of drawings will protect all the drawings in the collection. A collection of songs is protected the same way. I think you’re going to be OK with the sprite sheet.

John: Hi Joe, how much do I gotta come up with to trademark our logo and artworks for our new company?

Joe Escalante: Government filing fee is $325. Legalzoom’s prices add 169 to 189 on top of that, which is a deal. I would charge you $300 per hour plus filing fees and I would get rich.

LegalZoom: Here’s a link to the pricing detail, John:

LegalZoom: That’s a wrap for Free Joe Friday. Have a safe Super Bowl weekend and come join us again next week for more free legal advice!

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February 7th, 2012 at 12:06 pm