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Buying rights to talk?


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#1 Evan Cox

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 06:11 PM

Do I need to buy the rights for something if I am only planning on talking about it in my movie? For instance, in, "Clerks.," Dante and Randal have a conversation about, "Return of the Jedi." Do you suppose that they had to pay in order to use the name and plot points of that movie? Does this question make any sense? hmmm. Please help if you know what I'm saying.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 07:09 PM

Do I need to buy the rights for something if I am only planning on talking about it in my movie? For instance, in, "Clerks.," Dante and Randal have a conversation about, "Return of the Jedi." Do you suppose that they had to pay in order to use the name and plot points of that movie? Does this question make any sense? hmmm. Please help if you know what I'm saying.


Generally, no since you aren't stealing someone else's (copyrighted) creative work for your own profit. If you quote something copyrighted directly though and it's not famous enough to come under that term I can't remember (fair use? public domain? public record?) then you need permission from the owners, for example, if you quote a copyrighted poem.

However, if you reference a public remark like former President George Bush saying "Read my lips" then it's OK. Talking about a cultural phenomenon like "Star Wars" sort of falls under than category, like making a joke about a public figure like Paris Hilton.

"Clerks" cost $27,000 to make so I doubt they paid for anything.

Another example would be the opening of "The Player" where they talk about "Touch of Evil" and "The Graduate". Or any Tarantino script with a billion pop culture references.
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#3 Evan Cox

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Posted 14 January 2007 - 10:40 PM

Another example would be the opening of "The Player" where they talk about "Touch of Evil" and "The Graduate". Or any Tarantino script with a billion pop culture references.


Exactly, so . . . I can generally use pop culture references . . . I think . . . even specific movies . . . I think. I'll probably add "something" to my screenplay. I won't tell you what, 'cause it's going to be awesome and blow your mind!




yeah.


More help if you've got it.
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#4 David Sweetman

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Posted 15 January 2007 - 12:05 AM

And as long as it's satire, you're in the clear. That's why Mad Magazine stays in business.
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#5 David Venhaus

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Posted 18 January 2007 - 09:57 AM

Fair use for comment and/or criticism is also legally valid. Think of how many critics there are in newspapers and on TV, etc, which regularly talk about films and other types of copyrighted works.
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#6 Mitch Beaudry

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Posted 03 April 2007 - 11:53 AM

Actually, the best place I've heard this discussed is actually on the directors commentary for Donnie Darko: Director's cut. Richard Kelly and Kevin Smith talk about how in the scene where Donnie references to Christina Applegate, it was originally for Alyssa Milano but her people wouldn't let him do it. They talk about this process where they have to submit all the references to pop culture to somebody (I'm guessing a lawyer) who then approves/disapproves the specific references. That could just be when you're referencing people though.

Then again, I think this is more of a grey topic than a strict black and white like the torn poster Sam Raimi/Wes Craven exchange.

Good luck!

Oh, in regards to: Fair use for comment and/or criticism is also legally valid. Think of how many critics there are in newspapers and on TV, etc, which regularly talk about films and other types of copyrighted works. All forms of "news media" are exempt from copyright laws all together, so their rules don't apply to fiction.

Edited by Mitch Beaudry, 03 April 2007 - 11:55 AM.

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