Jump to content


Photo

Using Blockbuster in a film

Student film blockbuster copyright logo

  • Please log in to reply
9 replies to this topic

#1 Kenny Williams

Kenny Williams
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Sacramento California

Posted 18 June 2016 - 01:09 PM

I am producing a student short this summer, and it takes place in the late 90's. I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction to see if we can use blockbuster. I've spoken to a few copyright lawyers the ones I can get to call me back, and they said since it is out of business we should be ok but they aren't sure. Does anyone know where I can go or who  can talk to and find out for sure? 


  • 0

#2 Heikki Repo

Heikki Repo
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 423 posts
  • Director
  • Finland

Posted 18 June 2016 - 01:51 PM

I am producing a student short this summer, and it takes place in the late 90's. I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction to see if we can use blockbuster. I've spoken to a few copyright lawyers the ones I can get to call me back, and they said since it is out of business we should be ok but they aren't sure. Does anyone know where I can go or who  can talk to and find out for sure?

 

If you refer to the video rental business I'd be careful. Apparently there are still some franchised stores left in operation around the US: https://en.wikipedia...a.2C_bankruptcy


  • 0

#3 Bill DiPietra

Bill DiPietra
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2339 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 18 June 2016 - 04:00 PM

Clearly, the business is still in operation.  I would start here...

 

http://www.blockbust.../contactus.html


  • 0

#4 Kenny N Suleimanagich

Kenny N Suleimanagich
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 902 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York

Posted 18 June 2016 - 04:33 PM

Since Dish Networks owns them now, you might want to start with their legal department.
  • 0

#5 Bill DiPietra

Bill DiPietra
  • Sustaining Members
  • 2339 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • New York City

Posted 18 June 2016 - 04:38 PM

I am producing a student short this summer, and it takes place in the late 90's. I was wondering if anyone could point me in the direction to see if we can use blockbuster.

 

By the way - will this be a visual reference or a verbal one?  And will this be shown anywhere outside of a classroom?  If not, I really wouldn't bother with all sorts of clearances.


  • 0

#6 Landon D. Parks

Landon D. Parks
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1919 posts
  • Producer
  • West Chester Township, Ohio

Posted 18 June 2016 - 06:43 PM

Very few lawyers will agree in this area. It's basically a 'maybe' situation because it depends on what you intend to USE their image for. Even if it's still an active company and still in use a trademark (which it is), that does not mean that you always have to get permission from them to use it. So much depends on how you use it. If it's just a casual reference like 'we are going to blockbuster', and you don't paint them in a bad light - then this would most certainly be fair use under my understanding of fair use. However, it's a whole other ballgame if your movie takes place entirely within a blockbuster store or uses their branding and trademarks as a central part of the movie.

 

You really need to get with a good IP attorney and explain to them exactly what you intend to use their trademark for. They should then be able to better explain rather you need permission or not.


Edited by Landon D. Parks, 18 June 2016 - 06:43 PM.

  • 0

#7 Macks Fiiod

Macks Fiiod
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1474 posts
  • Director
  • Og from DC, Now in NJ

Posted 18 June 2016 - 10:28 PM

Whatever you do, do not claim "free advertising". That can get your in more trouble than what you started with.


  • 0

#8 Kenny Williams

Kenny Williams
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 23 posts
  • Student
  • Sacramento California

Posted 23 June 2016 - 12:03 PM

 

By the way - will this be a visual reference or a verbal one?  And will this be shown anywhere outside of a classroom?  If not, I really wouldn't bother with all sorts of clearances.

Yes it will be screened in a theater and submitted to festivals, but it is a mention of it a character needs to return a movie to blockbuster and holds up the vhs case with the logo.


  • 0

#9 JD Hartman

JD Hartman
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1783 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Edison, N.J. U.S.A.

Posted 23 June 2016 - 12:23 PM

Is Blockbuster key to the story?  If not, invent the name of a video rental store and paste on the box.


Edited by JD Hartman, 23 June 2016 - 12:24 PM.

  • 1

#10 Landon D. Parks

Landon D. Parks
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1919 posts
  • Producer
  • West Chester Township, Ohio

Posted 23 June 2016 - 01:31 PM

What JD said is your best bet. It doesn't appear that Blockbuster is really essential to your story, and the easiest way to ensure you don't run into any trouble is to avoid using trademarks if at all possible. In some cases if you don't get the correct clearances you won't be able to get E&O. Best to just invent something like most movies do.


  • 0



Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Rig Wheels Passport

Technodolly

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Glidecam

CineLab

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Broadcast Solutions Inc

FJS International, LLC

Paralinx LLC

Willys Widgets

CineTape

New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Visual Products

Metropolis Post

Paralinx LLC

CineLab

Ritter Battery

The Slider

Tai Audio

Technodolly

Aerial Filmworks

FJS International, LLC

Glidecam

rebotnix Technologies

Wooden Camera

Abel Cine

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc