I'm a photographer / designer and it's been my dream to start up a small business making instructional videos, for example how to use photoshop, create stunning graphics in illustrator and some others in cd/dvd format — also writing similar content in pdf ebook format to be sold online or from my website. I know it's vague but what legal matters or issues I need to be aware of? For instance if I make a video about photoshop, there are things like adobe's logo, font issues and other copyright that might be associated to the project. Correct me but I can't just use the dvd logo and sell my product since that is a copyrighted image, and it goes on and on.
1 Answer from Attorneys
Content that you create — a script, photos or video that you take — are, for the most part, fine for you to use. However, if, within the visual images you take you see any company content — logos, help screens, menus, etc. — you can count on getting haled into federal court for a copyright and/or trademark infringement lawsuit. These companies make their $billions solely on their intellectual property, and they guard it jealously; your use would infringe that intellectual property.
All is not lost. To realize your dream, you must approach the companies and take out a license to use their trademarks and content in your images BEFORE you begin shooting. This will require a complete description of your planned use (storyboard it), and you'll have to fork over some cash to them up front and perhaps some money based on sales of your video. This, though, is WAY less expensive than is a copyright and/or trademark infringement lawsuit.
Feel free to call my office at 518-371-4599 if you would like to work with an attorney with experience in intellectual property license negotiations.
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