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Avatar of Dylan Jones
Dylan Jones on June 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm

What are ways around copyright? Not music but name brands etc? I am working on a Short Film, a lot of the scenes are in the city, If I am correct about copyright i can’t show any names of businesses, company names, brands etc? If I am am wrong about copyright please correct me. How do I get around these obstacles?

Avatar of J.J. Petty
J.J. Petty on June 18, 2012 at 9:04 am

One trick you can try to pull would be to get shots where – if you can – the background is blurred. Not 100% sure that that’s the safest way to go about it, but it is a way.

Sticky situation…

Avatar of Phlume
Phlume on August 26, 2012 at 12:03 am

Hey Dylan-

It’s been a while since my copyright law class in college… but I looked through my multimedia law book as well as scoured the internet a bit and found that in fact you CAN use these products/logo in your movie as long as you follow a few simple rules of thumb.

Make sure it falls under fair use:
If you have a few logos or trademarks in the scene and it is used in generalities to dress your set (your in a room and a soda can is on the dinner table) then you fall under fair use. Often times we as viewers/consumers misinterpret the reasoning behind the obfuscation of logos in sitcoms or what not. The “fake” labels you see on an obvious Pepsi can may be because Pepsi refused to pay the said sitcom for the product placement, or the actor drinking the Pepsi actually has a advertising contract with coca cola or one of it’s subsidiaries. Rarely is the product faked or hidden for fear of lawsuit for NOT paying to use the logo… its usually the reverse. Why show it in a huge film if they aren’t going to pay for the embedded marketing?

Make sure you aren’t using poor taste :
When associating the product to the scene, be sure that you don’t do so disparagingly. I bet the Fiskars company would be pretty upset if you showed a killer selecting specifically their sheers to chop fingers off of victims over say a pair of Felco’s or Coronas.

In general use your brain and trust your gut…If you think for a second someone may be pissed… use your post skills to clean it up and loose it. If you think it is in passing and isn’t relevant to the action/script/scene specifically… go ahead and just let it be.
Use your best judgement .

(BTW, The book I used, though it is a bit dated, is found here:

These were some of the better sites that corroborated a lot of what my book said:

Good luck!

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