View Full Version : trademark infringement


devhaven
04-10-2009, 11:33 AM
Would hanging band posters and them being shown on screen be okay?

Also, would saying a bands name be a problem?

What if the words New Kids on the Block were featured prominently on an item of clothing? I'm just not too sure if that kind of stuff is public domain and you are allowed to show it. It is beneficial to the movie.

Any help is great.

Thanks

directorik
04-10-2009, 12:14 PM
This is one of those dreaded; "It depends." answers.

For DVD and theatrical release in most cases you will need
to clear everything. For a short to be shown on YouTube
there is no need to clear each item. Some festivals are not
too concerned about these items - some are.

devhaven
04-10-2009, 01:09 PM
Better be safe than sorry, I guess. I'd like this to have as much potential as possible. Thanks for the reply.

indietalk
04-10-2009, 01:12 PM
Talk to an entertainment lawyer familiar with these issues, not a trademark layer. Some of these issues, like mentioning the name of a film, may not be set in stone, so it may be one of those "release it and see what happens" situations. Some people sue over anything. It doesn't mean they'll win.

sonnyboo
04-10-2009, 04:35 PM
Would hanging band posters and them being shown on screen be okay?

Also, would saying a bands name be a problem?

What if the words New Kids on the Block were featured prominently on an item of clothing? I'm just not too sure if that kind of stuff is public domain and you are allowed to show it. It is beneficial to the movie.

Any help is great.

Thanks

POSTERS - not really okay. Most Band's logos and posters are formally TRADEMARKED which is much different than a COPYRIGHT , and if they aren't one, they are the other - neither of which is legally good for you. They have all the rights and you are violating them by using it in a film and presenting it without their permission.

SAYING THE BAND NAME - You are somewhat safe to a certain extent. Legally speaking anyone can sue anyone else for anything. Whether or not the case gets thrown out is the question. If you say "NKTOB are pedophiles", they can sue you for defamation of character and you can claim PARODY LAWS. It's a legitimate lawsuit where the results will vary based on jury and judge, but there is no blanket 100% bullet proof exemption to CIVIL lawsuits.

ITEM OF CLOTHING - If you make the clothes yourself and do not violate a TRADEMARKED logo, then you are in the same scenario as saying the band's name.

With any of these, if you want to secure distribution on television or sold on DVD in any stores, you will have a much more expensive E&O (Errors and Omissions) Insurance policy, in these scenarios probably more expensive than the entire budget of the film. If this is a short film for the web or a movie with no name stars that has no hope of a significant distribution deal, then have at it.

As stated, speak to an attorney as these laws have different interpretations and even preferences state to state. I am not an attorney, but I play one on TV.

indietalk
04-10-2009, 04:40 PM
I know when most people hear "talk to an attorney" they never do, but if you are serious about this film, and using TMs, etc., you must. Believe it or not, you can clear most of this up in one sitting with an attorney. You may be able to get some sort of a package deal, which would be, everything needed legally when releasing your film and clearing TMs, etc., instead of paying hourly, or by document. Look around.