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Do you know what the fair use concept is?

Most of us have probably heard that the reproduction of any copyrighted work is unlawful. Additionally, many individuals have likely come across the signs posted alongside photocopiers that highlight how anyone who violates copyright laws may be subject to significant fines. However, artists of all kind should know that there are some instances in which an individual can use copyrighted material without permission and not face penalties for doing so.

Individuals are allowed to utilize certain pieces of copyrighted work in a limited capacity under the concept of fair use. In fact, anyone can generally sample a copyrighted piece provided that they intend to use it in a limited and transformative way. Many legal scholars have interpreted that an individual is generally allowed to criticize, parody, or comment about a work without first seeking permission from the copyright owner.

Fair use is a valid defense against claims of copyright infringement. Thus, if someone’s use of your copyrighted work qualifies as fair use, you won’t be able to sue them for copyright infringement.

Typically, fair use falls into one of two categories; commentary and criticism, or parody. For example, a student writing a book review for an assignment is often classified as fair use. It is generally acceptable for the student to quote lines or even some paragraphs of the book to support the position that they are taking in the report they’re writing.

When someone is doing a parody of another’s work, they’re usually allowed to sample a very liberal amount of that person’s work to ridicule, imitate or make fun of what they’ve written.

It can understandably be disheartening when you feel that someone has stolen or utilized your intellectual property without your expressed consent. You may be eager to sue the apparent violator for copyright infringement. However, you shouldn’t rush to file a lawsuit. The individual who used your work may have done so lawfully under the concept of fair use. An experienced intellectual property attorney can review how your material was used and advise you whether it warrants filing a copyright infringement lawsuit in California.

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I came to Tommy for help reviewing a licensing agreement I had secured with a well-known manufacturer. Tommy made sure I understood all the details in the contract and he negotiated with the company to improve my side of the deal. I mentioned to Tommy at my first consultation that we were looking to expand throughout the US and were investing a lot of money to make a big entrance into the market. I did not think I would have my store open so soon but Tommy also has connections with the local area and realtors to help me secure the location for my first store in the Los Angeles area. Tommy works a lot with the local businesses and he understands how to transition from the Asian market to US market. Within 8 months my store was open for business and fully operating. I must recommend Tommy to any business owners looking for help with contracts and improving their side of the deal. Tommy has the knowledge and experience to make sure there is a smooth process to open for business here, and make sure that your company is set up for success.


I think Tommy and his team by far considered the best people to work with in my 16 business years. Beside quick responses to all my inquiries, they also done things right and providing very professional solutions. I’m highly recommending Tommy and his firm to all business owners.

Calvin C.

I have been working on my Utility Patent for almost 4 years. I have hired and fired two very reputable IP firms because with all their expertise and reputation for being some of the top firms in IP Law, I felt a lack of connection and care in my product, time and financial investment. Then I found Tommy and his team. Tommy does not waste time. He and his team are professional and extremely thorough. After 4 years, I finally found a legal team that I felt spent the time to really understand the components of my utility patent. Tommy also very mindful of cost and how and where my money would be better spent. I really feel I am in great hands with Tommy and his team. They have been patient with my revisions. And most importantly, they made me feel that they fully understood the importance this patent is to me. It has been a great and comforting pleasure working with Tommy.


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