Monday, November 12, 2012

Can I Make a Dave Matthews Band Quiz?

Dear Rich: I am in the process of creating a Dave Matthews band quiz. It has questions from all aspects of the bands background, songs, and albums…etc. Would there be any copyright issues by creating these questions? Also, if down the line we were to charge a fee to download ‘more questions’ on this app, would that get into a sticky copyright area? Wow, the Dear Rich Staff feels old! We remember a time when you could listen to pop music without getting tested. Personally, we like the idea and we're in favor of anything that will put off dealing with life's big issues!
Right, you had a question. You can probably get away with your trivia app assuming you can make it past the app store gatekeepers (at the Apple Store and Google) and nobody from the DMB, the band's management, the band's publishing company, or the band's record label sees your app and cares enough to challenge. If the app is challenged, most likely you'll have a problem. First, the app store where it is located can terminate availability based upon its own analysis or a DMCA complaint (we've got a legal guide for app makers that explains this route), and second, the copyright owner (the band, label, publisher, etc.) could sue for copyright infringement or possibly trademark infringement. We base this conclusion on three previous cases involving trivia books (we wrote about them in this entry). We're not saying you might not eventually prevail but we would think twice before investing considerable time in commercializing this venture.

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