Question about copyright

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Question about copyright

I own a small web development company and frequently work with a design

shop locally. Then 2 years ago, my father started a business LLC where he was a 35% partner. To assist his launch, I traded work with my go to design shop. I built the design shop a website in exchange for a basic brand for my father’s new company. I provided this logo and a new website for my father free of charge. Fast forward and now my father’s partner has ousted him from the company by being a general piece of trash and has run it into the ground and devalued it to the point of incurring $100,000 in bad debt to avoid paying my father a penny in dissolving the LLC. Do I have any legal means to demand that this partner stop using the logo and website that I provided? No documents were ever created stating that ownership of these items changed hands, and no conversation ever happened about who technically owned the mark and site code. Additionally, no copyright or Trademark has ever been applied for by any party. I know its a long shot, but do I have an legal means to pursue?

Asked on May 21, 2018 under Business Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You already gave the LLC the logo and website--you write that you "traded work . . . built the design shop a a website in exchange for a basic brand for my father's new company." Having given it to the LLC, it is LLC's: you have no right to get it back just because the ownership of the LLC has changed (your father being forced out). It does not matter if no one filed for trademark or copyright (they have copyright, by the way: as the creator of new content, you had copyright, but then you gave it to them; you don't need to file for copyright to own it, though filing enhances your rights and protection), just as the lack of other paperwork does not matter, since you can enter into an agreement and/or gift something to someone without a formal agreement. On the facts you describe, the LLC owns these things.


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