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#1 Martin Yernazian

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 03:12 AM

I'm Directing this documentary Art Officially Favored, about a Berkeley street musician Michael Malsey.
Now Mr Masley is driving me crazy because he keeps bringing logos to the picture, and I'm not talking things that he has no remedy on showing (like the logo of his VW camper)
no, Mr Masley brings a shirt for his main interview, with a huge logo, he goes and plays his great music on the street with a flashing M medallion, ( yeah cute you think) before I know it I see that is the Motorola logo

The funny think is I have try as I director, as a friend, as a brother, to explain him that you need permission to show those logos, no matter what.


well his mentality is that he bought those items he has the right to show them in a movie about his life..... isn't cute .... I'm this close to drop the project, yes 3 years of my life down the drain


in you nice and great english... please what explanation you will give to this guy.....


please Help

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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 10:29 AM

It sounds like he is pretty gung-ho about having this doc made. You should explain it in terms of endangering the film and it not being seen by anybody and wasting a lot of money.
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#3 Mark Bonnington

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Posted 19 June 2007 - 11:41 PM

I'm Directing this documentary Art Officially Favored, about a Berkeley street musician Michael Malsey.
Now Mr Masley is driving me crazy because he keeps bringing logos to the picture, and I'm not talking things that he has no remedy on showing (like the logo of his VW camper)
no, Mr Masley brings a shirt for his main interview, with a huge logo, he goes and plays his great music on the street with a flashing M medallion, ( yeah cute you think) before I know it I see that is the Motorola logo

The funny think is I have try as I director, as a friend, as a brother, to explain him that you need permission to show those logos, no matter what.
well his mentality is that he bought those items he has the right to show them in a movie about his life..... isn't cute .... I'm this close to drop the project, yes 3 years of my life down the drain
in you nice and great english... please what explanation you will give to this guy.....
please Help

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You don't need permission to use trademarked logos in your movies. Trademarks are only protected when it comes to packaging and selling things. People give up their freedom of expression out of fear and ignorance... don't put up with it, fight to create whatever art you want, with whatever content you want to put in it.
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#4 Lana Loukota

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 03:11 PM

So, wait, wait, are you saying legally a person doesn't need permission to show a registered TM in a movie? Like I could have a character wear a 'coca-cola' t-shirt, and legally couldn't be sued by the company????
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#5 Michael Collier

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Posted 20 June 2007 - 08:28 PM

Well movies and docs are two different things. A movie isn't covered by fair use rules. Fair use means if its there in public its fair game. If your shooting a doc on the parkstrip, and a band is playing on the parkstrip, you can use their music in your video (as long as its the live recording, not one played off a CD) the issue is weather its legit or not. If its there shoot it. If you have the right to be there then you have the right to shoot anything you can see, including logos.

keep in mind this is a guidline to my understanding of fair use. Consult a lawyer but I think its correct. (please also note that yesterday I almost got arrested by two MP's for shooting, on public land mind you, because they said I had my camera pointed towards the base (if it was, it was unmarked as such). so just because you have the right doesn't mean people won't try and hasel you)
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#6 Gordon Highland

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Posted 21 June 2007 - 01:49 PM

I almost got arrested by two MP's for shooting, on public land mind you, because they said I had my camera pointed towards the base (if it was, it was unmarked as such). so just because you have the right doesn't mean people won't try and hasel you)

Yeah, as I've gotten older I've become more conservative in an "I'd rather be alive and wrong than dead and right" sort of way. But if companies are so worried about damaging their trademark, they should uh, stop putting their giant logo on every effing surface of the planet.

Legally, though, even if you don't feel you're "passing judgment" on a trademarked logo in a frame, it's still a good idea to avoid it, because the company may see it otherwise. Maybe you're not literally suggesting that Hitler endorsed Coca-Cola, but cleaning off his coffee table before you shoot him there would be the better plan. Take Chris's advice and explain its importance to your subject.
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#7 Lana Loukota

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Posted 29 June 2007 - 11:14 PM

Well movies and docs are two different things. A movie isn't covered by fair use rules. Fair use means if its there in public its fair game.



Oh, okay, that makes sense. Thanks!
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#8 Mark Bonnington

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Posted 01 July 2007 - 04:58 PM

I'm not a lawyer, so don't take this as legal advice, but it's what I've picked up from various sources over the years...

Trademarks are used as packaging identifiers when selling a product, so that buyers know they're getting a product from a certain company. Trademarks have absolutely no power of copyright, you can reproduce them at will, you just can't use them on the packaging of a product you are selling. If you have a trademarked item in your movie, regardless if you've made a documentary or feature film, since it is not on the packaging of the movie then you can legally show that trademark without permission from the trademark owner. For an informal reference to using Trademarks, see this link... http://en.wikipedia...._trademark_law)

You do need permission to show copyrighted artwork or music in your film, but only if you can't classify the copyrighted material as being used in a way that fits "fair use". There are supposedly four aspects that are looked at to figure whether an item falls under "fair use"... (gotten from the following source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use)

1) Purpose and character
The use in question helps fulfill the intention of copyright law to stimulate creativity for the enrichment of the general public.

2) Nature of the copied work
Facts and ideas are separate from copyright. Copyrights are invalid if they withhold the release of facts and general ideas.

3) Amount and substantiality
The amount copied should not exceed the basic amount needed for the intended use, nor should it contain the "heart" of the copyrighted material if lesser content can be shown in its place. The "heart" of the material is completely subjective, but generally it can be considered the key information that gives value to the copyrighted work.

4) Effect upon work's value
The effect that the allegedly infringing use has had on the copyright owner's ability to exploit his original work. The key issues are whether the use in question acts as a direct market substitute for the original work, and/or whether potential market harm might exist beyond that of direct substitution. Courts recognize that certain kinds of market harm do not oppose fair use, such as when a parody or negative review impairs the market of the original work. Copyright considerations may not shield a work against adverse criticism.

So there you have it, the big four items to consider in whether you can claim fair use for copyrighted items. Item 2 is a straight-shot for fair use permission, and is the reason why documentaries are nearly untouchable. But as you can see from items 1, 3, and 4, nonfiction films can also use copyrighted material under the fair use rules. Item 1, the impetus for using copyrighted materials, is definitely on the side of making feature films, since movies are a form of stimulated creativity and cannot be fully realized without referencing the world around us as well as the copyrighted items within that world. Item 3 is satisfied as long as the copyrighted item does not show up for longer than the movie requires, and the copyrighted item is only exposed in a superficial way. Item 4 is satisfied because the inclusion of copyrighted material is frequently a boost to that product's sales rather than impacting sales negatively. If a movie sheds light on a product in such a way that it causes negative impact to product sales, then the inclusion of the copyrighted material in the movie can be considered to have been placed in the movie in such a way as to represent the movie maker's criticism to the copyrighted work.

Keep in mind that no matter what the law says, the final decision falls to human judges as to whether to enforce the laws or not. Especially in the U.S., lawmakers frequently ignore the laws and pass judgments based entirely on their own thoughts and feelings, or pass judgments in favor of wealthy corporations with the hopes that the corporations might give them financial kickbacks.

Again... I'm not a lawyer, so instead of taking my ramblings seriously you should go talk to a real lawyer for advice.

Edited by Mark Bonnington, 01 July 2007 - 05:01 PM.

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#9 Rob van Gelder

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 03:12 AM

I recall discussions between producers and art directors on set, when shooting outside in front of well known or famous buildings.
There seems to be some sort of copyright on that with the architects so when you shoot a commercial of documentary in front of it, you should ask permission........
Now this is in the Netherlands, not sure if this makes sense anywhere else.
Using the images for yourself is never a problem, that problem appears the moment the movie or doc starts to make money of becomes well known, THEN suddenly all kinds of claims creep out of the woodwork.
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#10 Mark Bonnington

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Posted 02 July 2007 - 12:37 PM

I recall discussions between producers and art directors on set, when shooting outside in front of well known or famous buildings.
There seems to be some sort of copyright on that with the architects so when you shoot a commercial of documentary in front of it, you should ask permission........
Now this is in the Netherlands, not sure if this makes sense anywhere else.
Using the images for yourself is never a problem, that problem appears the moment the movie or doc starts to make money of becomes well known, THEN suddenly all kinds of claims creep out of the woodwork.

I've heard of some buildings in the U.S. that have the same thing, mostly in New York, but I don't know if that sort of copyright would hold water by the time it got to court. Maybe if you built an identical building somewhere, then you might have copyright problems... but a 2-d representation of a 3-d object?

I've always heard Europeans have less strict laws about filming in public places, like they can film people without permission in public spaces, but I've never heard about the specifics and I don't know if it applies to every EU country or just a couple. Plus the laws change all the time based on the general sentiment of the people. In the U.S., anything (except people) can be filmed without permission as long as you're standing on public property or your own property. I think even people can be filmed without permission as long as it's for a documentary. Permission is needed when you're physically standing on private property (that includes mall parking lots and places that aren't always obvious as being private). And of course, once again, even though the law says it's ok to film private buildings from public places doesn't mean the judge isn't some sort of Nazi psycho who thinks 'people should have privacy even in public' or some stupid bit of logic like that, subsequently giving victory to the rich building owner.

It all comes back to your personality and level of risk you want to take. I'm rebellious and I don't care about the risks of filming copyrighted material... it helps that I'm poor with very little to lose, it gives me the edge to do what I think is right instead of what's legal. You, on the other hand, might be a conscientious supporter of your country's laws or you might have a timid nature and be fearful of any sort of legal action... in which case you'd want to get permission or find somewhere else to shoot.

If it's just an issue of not knowing the laws of your country, do a search through the Internet and start poking around the legal books in your area. Don't just accept popular opinion about permissions, as it's usually not based on the real laws but instead is formed from hyper-conservative guesswork.
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#11 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 03:05 PM

Seems to me in this case if the "artist" is wearing or seen with a logo it seems to me to be free advertising for that company, ie unconcious "product placement". As long as the subject isn't clearly slandering those companies IMHO it should be OK.
The building copyright is another thing. For example, here in Paris there is a whole bureaucratic structure just for rights on the Eiffel Tower.
In Europe there are all kinds of fiddly laws about filming in public places but in general if you have 5 or less people in the crew, NO tripods, lights or reflectors, no pyrotechnics, firearms or anything that could harm the tranquility of the general public you are OK. Just don't try to film or photograph civil servants especially police.
People could sue you if they were recognizable in the film.
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