Coasting Along on the Hard Work of Others

ATTORNEY SCOTT COMMENTARY / scott@copyrightLA.com:

The coaster game is a rugged one, and competitors are not above borrowing artwork that it thinks will lead to an advantage in obtaining more of that sweet, sweet, drink placement dough. Below appears to be one example of a company going a bit too far. From a legal perspective, it is important to remember that short phrases are often not protectable by copyright, and the same goes for basic shapes. But, the creative selection and arrangement of otherwise unprotectable elements can lead to copyright protection. Compare the works at issue here (click to enlarge):

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