- Under copyright law, you're okay to reprint the line. It's too short by itself to be protected. (We've written an article on the subject, as well.)
- Under trademark law, you should be okay (except for using it on entertainment services and related merchandise). No one has registered the phrase, although there have been registrations for the more well-known but never-uttered-on-Dragnet line, "Just the Facts" (made popular by a Dragnet parody.) Oddly enough, the "officially licensed" merchandise uses "Just the Facts" (Go figure!) In any case, avoid using it for entertainment services or you may hear from Jack Webb's estate. BTW, if you plan on using the phrase to sell products or services, it's always wise to search USPTO records, first.
- For right of publicity reasons, we would advise against any attempts at commercially exploiting the phrase in connection with Jack Webb's image or personna. If the estate learns of the use, they'll likely come after you.
Posted by Mr. Q at 6:00 AM Monday, February 13, 2012