I am an independent film maker about to begin production on a movie short I plan to submit to film festivals. In the film there are several flashback scenes back to 1977. To help date the flashback scenes I would like to incorporate some media from 1977. Specifically, the June 1977 issue of Sports Illustrated with Mark Fidrich on the cover, a movie poster from the movie "A Star is Born" featuring Barbra Striesand and Kris Kristofferson and a copt of the December issue of "The Hockey News". Am I violating copyright law by doing so?
that type of use should be fine
it is not a reproduction or copy of the work, it is essentially a reference to it
and it would also be covered by fair use given the nature and context of the use
I sometimes see on TV shows images of corporate logos or pictures of actual people (the poster has both Kristofferson and Streisand on it) blurred out. I have always assumed it was to avoid copyright conflict. This items will only be on screen for a few seconds and I haven't had a good explanation of "fair use" on line. Could you explain?
corporate logos are different as they relate to trademark law....copyright law is concerned with "copying" of copyrighted materials
Generally, when the showing of a trademark or copyrighted poster in a film is minimal and incidental and, therefore, does not advance the plot or any particular scene, there is no infringement.
so you would have an "indcidnetal use" or "de minimumus use" defense
The main reason some folks blur out trademarks in some audiovisual works is because in those blurred-out situations the mark appears prominently where something unseemly is happening [and so by blurring the filmmaker ensures that the mark is not associated with that unpleasant event -- which may, or may not, be actionable under trademark law]. Minimizing business risk is the motivation for blurring much more so than legal analysis. Another main reason is that the filmmaker may have sold product placement rights in the movie to another brand and is contractually obligated to blur out all other brands. However, before you publicly release your movie it would be a good idea to have it reviewed by an IP attorney to check if you have not overstepped your artistic license in using other’s intellectual property.
does that answer your question? please don't forget to click ACCEPT, you can still follow up afterwards
Would an actor wearing a Detroit Tigers cap be an issue?
subject to what I wrote above, it depends on the nature and extent of the usage
these are not by an means clear cut issues with yes or no answers...and many will disagree, but basically if the use is minimal/incidental you should be okay
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).