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Old 08-05-2012, 09:50 PM
 
12,973 posts, read 12,134,962 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greatday View Post
As I previously stated, the AZ REALTORS forms are copyrighted and that copyright was recently upheld by the courts.
I don't believe you.

Source?
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Old 08-05-2012, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Pinal County, Arizona
25,107 posts, read 34,357,433 times
Reputation: 4893
Quote:
Originally Posted by lvoc View Post
I don't believe you.

Source?
You don't believe what? The the forms are copyrighted? Or the courts have upheld the copyright?
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 12,670,408 times
Reputation: 3809
Quote:
Originally Posted by lvoc View Post
I don't believe you.

Source?
Check out this page to see what AAR says to would-be copyright violators:

Copyrights on Forms to be Enforced


Here is a snippet:

Quote:
II. AAR Forms Are Protected by Copyright

The AAR forms are original works, protected by federal copyright laws. After developing an original form, AAR registers the form, and deposits a copy of its form with the Register of Copyrights in Washington, D.C. AAR affixes a copyright notice, the year of publication, and the name of the copyright owner (AAR), which informs people that the form is protected by copyright....

... In some cases, where it would be too costly to prove actual damages, statutory damages from $200 to $100,000 are available. The court may also require the copyright infringer to pay the copyright holder's attorneys' fees and costs. Injunctive relief, both temporary and permanent, prohibiting the copyright infringer from further copying of the work may also be imposed by the court. Finally, copyright law imposes criminal liability for willful or fraudulent infringement...
One more snippet:

Quote:
...Copyrighted forms provided by AAR are made available as a member benefit via zipForm® to AAR members only. AAR members are authorized to use the forms solely for their transactions...
Want to use AAR's forms? It's Easy -- Join AAR and pay the dues.

If this isn't sufficient information, then I suggest consulting with an attorney prior to using a copyrighted document without express written consent.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:20 AM
 
1,722 posts, read 2,269,093 times
Reputation: 3414
I am also HIGHLY skeptical of any form being granted copyright protection. By definition copyright does not cover "ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed"

I think a case could be made about copyrightability of forms, but I think a very strong fair use defense can be mounted. Even if some podunk court in Arizona upheld the copyright, it does not really matter until a court of appeals has addressed it, and the supreme court has either reviewed it, or denied cert.

I would be interested to read the opinion from the court in Arizona where the copyright was upheld. I am betting it was a small guy against the Arizona Association of Realtors....ie - big money and big lobby vs unfunded independent person..
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:22 AM
 
1,722 posts, read 2,269,093 times
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Just b/c the Arizona Association of Realtors says something is copyrighted and enforceable, does not make it so....lots of people print things just like that, that do not hold any legal water.
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
31,590 posts, read 55,295,005 times
Reputation: 30145
"Fair use?"

Doubtful defense unless the use was a parody, criticism, or other assessment. To steal the forms and use them in transaction without proper access and authorization would not qualify as "fair use."

http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
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Old 08-06-2012, 08:57 AM
 
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 12,670,408 times
Reputation: 3809
Quote:
Originally Posted by marksmu View Post
I am also HIGHLY skeptical of any form being granted copyright protection. By definition copyright does not cover "ideas and information themselves, only the form or manner in which they are expressed"

I think a case could be made about copyrightability of forms, but I think a very strong fair use defense can be mounted. Even if some podunk court in Arizona upheld the copyright, it does not really matter until a court of appeals has addressed it, and the supreme court has either reviewed it, or denied cert...

If I'm not mistaken, on another post you stated that you are an attorney. If you are, then would you not agree that that contracts are not about ideas and information, but rather are very specific in their form and manner of expression?

As you know, it takes many hours to develop a contract, and to draft the specific language so as to be as certain as possible that the meaning intended is the meaning expressed and are in compliance with the laws applicable to Arizona Real Estate, or other state where a contract is being drafted.

I doubt that Fair Use could be used as a successful defense. In general, fair use is copying of copyrighted material for a limited purpose, such as to make comment, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Section 107 of the copyright law sets out four factors to be considered when determining whether or not a particular use is fair.
Quote:
  • The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
  • The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work
In my layperson opinion, Fair Use as a defense would fail in all four factors.

It sounds like you are telling the public that it is ok to violate copyright laws and risk being sued and fined for thousands of dollars.
  • Is that really the advice you would give a client?
  • And what cause of action would that client have against you if you provided that advice, and s/he got sued and lost?
And by the way, please define "podunk" court in Arizona. That sounds to me like a derogatory and unprofessional remark if it's coming from an attorney.

Quote:
by Marksmu:.....I would be interested to read the opinion from the court in Arizona where the copyright was upheld. I am betting it was a small guy against the Arizona Association of Realtors....ie - big money and big lobby vs unfunded independent person..
If you're an attorney then you have quick access to all case law. How about finding some and posting them. And it doesn't have to be limited to Arizona. Copyright law is not a local law.

So you're saying that a court would uphold a copyright law based on who the plaintiff is, and not what the law says
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:25 AM
 
1,722 posts, read 2,269,093 times
Reputation: 3414
I am an attorney, but I work primarily in contracts, real estate, and Labor Law....I have done only some intellectual property law, and all of that is in patents, not copyrights.

Podunk, was not intended to be derogatory - rather it is just my reference to a low level court that made the decision....any decision that has not been appealed to final adjudication is not considered final. Just b/c one person lost their case does not mean that it is now the law of the land. Its precedent, but its not the law of the land. Anyone is welcome to try their hand at defeating it.

Copyright law may or may not affect forms. Personally I think a very strong case can be made that a form and its contents and of themselves are not copyrightable....Copyright law certainly does not protect the function of the form....The content of the form is nothing more than compliance with the wording of a state statute. The Texas forms mirror, almost word for word, the statute....so I know with certainty that portions of the forms may be copied word for word.

Im not saying with authority I am correct, but I am saying if someone were to retain me after being sued for using the form (an ultra petty act of a real estate association strong arming people into using their clients), I would put the time in to come to a concise opinion. The forms themselves may fail simply based on the fact that the Texas Association of Realtors utilized too much of the statutes to be considered an independent creation. Its issues like that the need to be litigated....just having an association say that the form is copyrighted and I cant use it - does NOT mean that it is true....It just puts you on notice.
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
31,590 posts, read 55,295,005 times
Reputation: 30145
Quote:
Originally Posted by marksmu View Post
I am an attorney, but I work primarily in contracts, real estate, and Labor Law....I have done only some intellectual property law, and all of that is in patents, not copyrights.

Podunk, was not intended to be derogatory - rather it is just my reference to a low level court that made the decision....any decision that has not been appealed to final adjudication is not considered final. Just b/c one person lost their case does not mean that it is now the law of the land. Its precedent, but its not the law of the land. Anyone is welcome to try their hand at defeating it.

Copyright law may or may not affect forms. Personally I think a very strong case can be made that a form and its contents and of themselves are not copyrightable....Copyright law certainly does not protect the function of the form....The content of the form is nothing more than compliance with the wording of a state statute. The Texas forms mirror, almost word for word, the statute....so I know with certainty that portions of the forms may be copied word for word.

Im not saying with authority I am correct, but I am saying if someone were to retain me after being sued for using the form (an ultra petty act of a real estate association strong arming people into using their clients), I would put the time in to come to a concise opinion. The forms themselves may fail simply based on the fact that the Texas Association of Realtors utilized too much of the statutes to be considered an independent creation. Its issues like that the need to be litigated....just having an association say that the form is copyrighted and I cant use it - does NOT mean that it is true....It just puts you on notice.
Just fooling around with GOOG:
Case Summaries — Columbia Copyright Advisory Office

Of course.....
Forms and Documents — Columbia Copyright Advisory Office
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Old 08-06-2012, 10:44 AM
 
Location: Gilbert - Val Vista Lakes
6,069 posts, read 12,670,408 times
Reputation: 3809
On Richard Keyt's web site there is a lot of information about copyright law, including some internet copyright myths.

Copyright Law Information & Articles

Before listening to anonymous forum posters who think it's ok to use copyrighted material, it may be best to pay a few dollars and get a written opinion from an attorney who understands copyright law.

If that attorney issues a written opinion that it's ok to use a contract that is copyrighted, and you follow that advice then get sued, you may have a case against that attorney for malpractice.
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