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Will Blackton

Will Blackton

Blackton Law PLLC
  • Intellectual Property, Construction Law, Estate Planning...
  • North Carolina
Claimed Lawyer ProfileQ&A

I am a Raleigh-based attorney who focuses on the legal needs of photographers, artists, and graphic designers. Specifically, I assist creative individuals in protecting their portfolios through copyright registration and pursuing copyright infringement claims. My practice also focuses on drafting wills and trusts that effectively protect creative and digital assets.

Practice Areas
  • Intellectual Property
  • Construction Law
  • Estate Planning
  • Business Law
Additional Practice Area
  • Copyright
  • Free Consultation
  • Credit Cards Accepted
  • Contingent Fees
Jurisdictions Admitted to Practice
North Carolina
4th Circuit
  • English: Spoken, Written
Professional Experience
Attorney, owner
Blackton Law PLLC
- Current
Law Clerk
U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Professional Associations
State Bar of North Carolina
Websites & Blogs
Legal Answers
198 Questions Answered

Q. Can I create a website that features playlists with artists' music and make money off advertisements?
A: If you mean creating playlists which include the associated music files, you cannot legally do what you asked about. If you mean merely posting the names of songs and artists in an orchestrated order as a text file on a website, there wouldn't be an issue under copyright law in this scenario, names and short phrases are not subject to copyright protection. It's unlikely that you would open yourself up to liability for trademark infringement, but it's possible depending on the nature and circumstances of your usage.
Q. I need the 1984 N.C.FAIR SENTENCING ACT n.c. GEN. STAT. & 15A-1340.4(1983) N.C. GEN. STAT.& 14-1.1(1981)
A: For N.C. Gen Stat. 15A-1340.4 (1983): Go to the NC Gen. Statutes on the State's General Assembly website: Find the modern 15A-1340.4, which has been repealed: It was repealed by Session Laws 1993, c. 538, s. 14 (as stated in the previous link). Browse the N.C. General Assembly Session Laws at: Find the appropriate bill in the 1993 Session: Repeat as needed until you locate the 1983 version of the law. Or, go to your local law school library and ask a reference librarian to assist you.
Q. What kind of lawyer do I need?
A: You can't effectively evict someone verbally in North Carolina. You should contact a lawyer who specializes in landlord-tenant and eviction issues. Search through the find a lawyer directory on this website or contact the NC Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service: to find the appropriate attorney.
Q. If real estate is owned by several heirs but only one has assumed tax payments, can the property be deeded to him/her?
A: It can be deeded with the written consent of the other interest owners. A stranger can pay your property taxes. Paying property tax is totally separate and apart from the ownership rights associated with real property. That is, paying the taxes gives you no greater interest in the real property.
Q. Laws that protect intellectual material.
A: Generally, websites contain their own terms of service, determining the rights you grant to the website when you post content. HARO is no different, according to their terms of service ( 5.4. You hereby grant HARO a worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully-paid license to use, copy, perform, or revise any User Content, including but not limited to any press query to be distributed via the Service. This means HARO can do whatever it wants with your content, without regard to any additional restrictions you seek to impose upon its use. This includes editing it and reposting it, with or without backlinks. To my recollection, this is similar to the terms imposed upon Attorneys using this JUSTIA Ask a Lawyer Board. I can request that someone who wants to repost this answer should link to my blog at (shameless plug), but they're under no obligation to do so.
Q. How do I get my fake ID charge expunged from my record?
A: Your school may provide legal assistance to students. I notice that you're in Winston Salem; check if Wake Forest School of Law has a pro bono program or legal clinic that can help you, where you can receive assistance from a law student under the supervision of a licensed attorney. For example, Wake Forest School of Law does have an expungement clinic: However, if you have a pending court date, you shouldn't be looking for assistance with expungement. You should be seeking active legal representation. Expungement is the process of clearing convictions which are already on your record.
Q. Is it legal if I make users of my application pay annual sign up fees if the content they upload is copyrighted?
A: Without commenting on the legality of the conduct you've proposed, you should designate a DMCA takedown agent for your app with the U.S. Copyright Office. The registration is available online here:;jsessionid=BAFE67FE7AB3DAE7C2C8878B0B84397B
Q. Who is responsible for paying the attorney fees, and surveying
A: Whomever the parties agree is responsible. Generally, each party pays for their own attorney fees, however almost everything is up for negotiation. It's more important that each party agree who is responsible for these fees and adjust their offers accordingly than who is actually responsible for paying these fees.
Q. If you were to commission (pay) an artist to draw an imaginary character you made, who would hold the rights to it?
A: **If you were to commission (pay) an artist to draw an imaginary character you made, who would hold the rights to it? I assume the artist is not your employee in responding to this question. Absent an express written "work for hire" agreement, the artist would retain their copyright interest in the work. How did you buy this work from the artist? Many eCommerce sites for digital goods, like FiveRR, do transfer ownership rights through their terms of service. The U.S. Copyright Office circular on "work for hire" arrangements can be found here: **My extended question is since you paid the artist to draw your imaginary character you made, would it then be legal to remove the artists' logo if they added it? In short, if you don't own the image, you generally can't modify and redistribute it. Many factors will depend on whether it's permissible for you to do so; you'll have to consult with an attorney to review the specifics about your intended usage to get a better answer. **Also would it make a difference if you paid them to draw a character they made up rather than the one you made up? Arguably you could be deemed a co-author if you made up the character, and would therefore have an equal and undivided interest with the artist. Generally, courts have disfavored granting co-author status and the associated rights to those whose contributions are minimal or abstract. You would have a stronger claim that you're a co-author if, for example, you outlined the character and a colorist colored the character. **Thanks! You're welcome!
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Contact & Map
PO Box 10469
Raleigh, NC 27605
Telephone: (919) 636-5979