Raleigh-based attorney who focuses on the legal needs of entrepreneurs, artists, developers, and builders. From business formation; financing; operation; fixing online templates and DIY legal work; on-boarding partners and key employees; resolving disputes between companies and exiting partners and key employees; to succession and estate planning needs, Blackton Law will provide prompt and responsive service.
Industry experience with:
Artist/design firms, including:
- interior designers,
- stage designers,
- web designers;
Commercial real estate;
Hospitality businesses, including:
Residential real estate for investment/profit;
Software developers; and
- Business Law
- Intellectual Property
- Estate Planning
- Free Consultation
- Credit Cards Accepted
- Contingent Fees
- North Carolina
- 4th Circuit
- English: Spoken, Written
- Attorney, owner
- Blackton Law PLLC
- - Current
- Law Clerk
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
- University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
- State Bar of North Carolina
- Q. Trademark / copyright question - little help needed.
- A: Attorneys on the Justia Ask a Lawyer board are generally restricted to providing general information about the law. Attorneys cannot provide specific legal advice without raising a host of potential ethical and malpractice issues, which is why you're unlikely to receive the answer you want. The most helpful response you're likely to receive here is, "you need to formally engage an attorney." It would make sense to look at which state's law governs that contract you're contemplating, then contact a few attorneys with experience in copyright and trademark law who are licensed in that state.
- Q. What can I do about my landlord placing the house that I'm currently living in online for rent without my knowledge
- A: That is going to depend on what your lease agreement says about this situation.
- Q. Home builder wants to give us 100k to pay off our current home to be able to purchase his new home.
- A: It's possible that this is not a scam; ensure you have your own attorney review all of the documents associated with the transaction.
- Q. What if a person filed an Limited liability company with the name of the business will they still need to file for DBA?
- A: A business should file a certificate of assumed name or d/b/a if the business is using a name /other/ than the name it has registered with the N.C. Secretary of State in organizing its LLC.
- Q. How do I start a Sole Proprietary Business in NC selling hand made goods?
- A: A sole proprietorship is a business owned by one person, which has little legal significance separate from its owner and usually requires no governmental filing except a fictitious-business-name statement, which discloses the name under which the business will be conducted and the owner's name and address. In North Carolina, this is known as a "certificate of assumed name" and must be filed with the register of deeds in the county or counties where the business operates. Although the sole proprietorship is probably the most prevalent form of small business in the U.S., it is often a poor choice because the owner has unlimited liability for the losses of the business, thereby putting all of the owner's personal assets at risk. Protecting personal assets is a major reason many people form corporations or LLCs with the Secretary of State. What liabilities are associated with starting a business? Many people think of slip and falls on the business premises or consumer goods causing personal injury to those who buy them, but there are many other types of risk associated with starting a commercial venture. A hand-made Darth Vader puppet, for example, may not carry a high risk of causing personal injury to consumers, but Disney could sue the maker for infringement of its intellectual property. If Disney sues a LLC, for example, they are likely limited to the assets of the LLC for payment and may not collect directly from the members if the LLC's assets are insufficient to pay debts/liabilities. Contact a NC-based attorney familiar with business formation and choice of entity issues for more information or assistance with organizing the appropriate business entity. Many attorneys, myself included, offer free consultations. Regardless of what type of business entity you determine is best for your situation, you should maintain a separate bank account for your business and avoid mixing your personal funds with that of your business; keep a separate set of books, apart from your personal financial records; and make clear in all contracts with others that they are dealing with a business, by signing them as [YOUR BUSINESS'S NAME], by [your personal name].
- Q. Is it legal for people to sell car manuals (from the car mfg.) on ebay, no one ever answers this question
- A: You haven't provided very many details regarding your situation: are you reproducing these car manuals? Are you interested in reselling physical copies you purchased from the car manufacturer? Research the "first sale doctrine" which may provide some insight into your question.
- Q. What is the usual fee or percentage given to the person who's intellectual property I'll be teaching?
- A: It depends! What are you coaching? From what language are you translating and to which language? That's an atypical piece of the puzzle. What type of IP are you using? How will you be reselling the IP? The answers to those questions and more will determine what's an appropriate payment. You'll have to contact an attorney directly to describe the specifics of your situation to get a better answer.
- Q. Can I copyright screenplay of my conceived story?
- A: Who owns the screenplay? It depends. Is the student an employee or independent contractor? Any copyrightable work created by an employee acting within the scope of his or her employment is a “work made for hire.” The parties do not need to address works made for hire in their employment agreement, negotiations, or any other written agreement. If it’s an employee-employer relationship, and there is no written agreement to the contrary, the default is that the employer owns the copyright to the employee's creative works produced in the scope of their employment. However, any copyrightable work created by an independent contractor for the employer who hired them, is not a “work for hire” without an express written agreement. So, if someone is considered an independent contractor, and there is no written agreement assigning you ownership, the default is that the independent contractor owns the copyright interest. Is the student considered a coauthor? Many valuable copyrighted works result from creative collaborations. U.S. copyright law allows for two or more parties to own the copyright in a work as joint authors. Section 101 of 17 U.S.C. (U.S. copyright law) defines a “joint work” as “a work prepared by two or more authors with the intention that their contributions be merged into inseparable or interdependent parts of a unitary whole.” The authors do not need to work together at the same time, but they must intend, at the time of contributing to the work, that they work be merged with another author’s into a unitary whole. For example, Jonathan has an idea for a screenplay about a resource-depleted Earth in the near future. His brother, Christopher, wants to write a screenplay where a good looking everyman is sent into space to save Earth, but encounters wormholes and black holes. Jonathan and Christopher both begin writing a single screenplay together which incorporates both ideas; they are coauthoring a joint work. If joint authorship is disputed in a lawsuit, the court will look to (1) the nature of each person’s contribution and (2) whether each collaborator had the requisite intent to create a joint work. In looking at the nature of the contribution, a court might look to the degree of creativity in the contribution and whether the author contributed only abstract ideas or and actual copyrightable expression of the work. In examining the coauthor’s requisite intent to create a joint work, the coauthors don’t necessarily need to intend to share credit for the work or to share any of the legal rights of authorship; they must intend to combine their contributions into a single work. Each of joint owner in a copyright has the right to fully exploit the work, even without the consent of the other owners. But, they must account for the profits of that exploitation by splitting them equally among all of the joint owners. Equal ownership is presumed under the law, even where the authors' respective contributions are unequal. Going back to our example, Jonathan cannot deprive Christopher of his ability to exploit the work, without Christopher’s permission. So, a coauthor’s exploitation right only applies to nonexclusive licenses. One joint owner cannot assign the exclusive license (that is prohibit anyone else from doing anything with the work) without the consent of all copyright owners. What should you do? Directly contact an attorney with intellectual property experience to find out more information. In the future, ensure that is a well-drafted written agreement in place before exchanging money or ideas for projects involving intellectual property.
- Q. Uncle died left no will. Has 2 living siblings but we are heirs thru our deceased dad what are our rights.
- A: North Carolina's Intestate Succession Act (describing how an estate is divided if someone doesn't have a will) is available at: https://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByChapter/Chapter_29.pdf