• I do believe that, in commercial copyrighting, it [phrase, or subject] would have to be under use. Therefore, if it is not in use, it wouldn't be under copyright in the first place (with some notable exceptions). I think that's how it works. So the answer to your question would be yes, because they would have to be using it. If, however, an idea is patented... that is a different story. A patent does run out after time, though.
  • First of all, who is going to know? The only time a copyright infringement is enforced is if someone else is making money on your dime. If I had a patent, I paid for that patent. I need to know you are stealing before I can do something about it, and how would I? So it is up to the person whose patent is being infringed upon. Lawsuits are very expensive, so its a matter of common sense here. You certainly can sue someone, but would you.
  • You can't make money from someone elses copyrighted material. For instance, if you put the Nike swoosh on a bunch of T-shirts and tried to sell the T-shirts, Nike would procure all your profits. They wouldn't even have to take you to court. Now, if you put the Nike swoosh on your own T-shirt and didn't try to sell it...they wouldn't care cause that's just more advertising for them. Which brings me to another point. A $5 T-shirt with nothing on it costs $25 with the Nike swoosh. You are now giving them a 400% profit PLUS now advertising for them. If you ask me people who buy just for the label are suckers.

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