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Taking Care of Business
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Old September 7th, 2007, 11:11 AM   #1
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Business Logos on Screen

I'm not sure if this has been covered before, but I recently wrapped shooting on a short film. Afterwards, I realized that we caught a dumpster in one of our shots with a local waste disposal company logo fairly prominently displayed.

I imagine that if I were to call them and if they were to give me verbal permission to go ahead and keep it in there, this would not be enough legally.

Should I have them sign something? If so, what should it be?

Thank you.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 03:55 PM   #2
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**IANAL, TINLA**

Honestly, the only way that I would proceed is with something in writing. I wouldn't think that you would need something as detailed as a model release, but something from them giving you express permission to use their logo on a piece of their equipment (the dumpster). This is just an adaptation to a basic model release. It is probably way over the top, but it would cover you:
Quote:
[John Doe's Waste Company] hereby gives to [your company] unrestricted right, authority and permission to use, re-use, publish and republish video, photographic portraits, pictures or images of equipment and related company names, logos, and images which may be included intact or in part, composite or distorted in character or form, without restriction as to changes or transformations in conjunction with real or fictitious names, or reproduction hereof in color or otherwise, made through any and all media now or hereafter known for illustration, art, promotion, advertising, trade, or any other purpose whatsoever with no further payment, relief, or compensation than agreed upon in the terms herewith stated. In return, [your company] agrees to use same in good faith and good taste.
Instead of "equipment and related..." you could specifically say "a dumpster with [John Doe's Waste Co] name and logo."
Hope this helps, at least maybe a starting point.
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Old September 10th, 2007, 08:38 PM   #3
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What about just blurring the logo out... seems to be the current popular approach!
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Old September 10th, 2007, 11:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
What about just blurring the logo out... seems to be the current popular approach!
Heheh... That could work. Or, in the event that you're not going for the popular look, you could always bring those frames into a compositing program a la After Effects and paint/mask the logo out.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 11:02 AM   #5
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Unfortunately, I cannot give legal advice to non-clients (which is everyone on dvinfo.net). If you do a search on "trademark" and my name you'll find extensive discussion about this from which you can draw your own conclusions. I will say, however, that the discussion in this thread is not accurate -- I'd recommend doing the search or, better still, contacting an intellectual property lawyer for advice. This isn't a particularly difficult question, but it is fact-specific, i.e. the lawyer would need to know the exact usage made of the film, the shot in which the logo appears, the context in which it appears, etc.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
What about just blurring the logo out... seems to be the current popular approach!
The best thing about the very short-lived FOX sitcom "Anchorwoman" (cancelled after 1 episode!) was the running gag of blurring a couple of things at random in every shot, things that made no sense what so ever to blur (like burring the dates in a wall calendar behind a character's desk while leaving some advertising on the calendar in the clear). One of the funniest sight gags was an outdoor shot where a billboard advertising the news team of the TV station where "Anchorwoman" worked was visible in the background and one of the male reporters face was blurred while the rest of the news team was shown in clear.

Too bad they cancelled it - first episode was so-so but it had promise and I think if given a month it would have grown some legs.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 04:04 PM   #7
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I guess I'm a little fuzzy on the whole concept of blurring specific objects or logos out. Is it really serving a purpose and is it really necessary? The only thing that kind of makes sense to me is the thought process of "Oh, we don't have permission to show that can of Coke or that guy's Jack Daniels T-shirt, so we better blur it out lest we get sued out of our pants."

But in my mind, that only goes so far- especially in the world of documentaries on say, the Discovery Channel. I've seen several instances where some guy's shirt/ ball cap/ canned beverage was blurred out in one shot, only to be mostly visible in the next. Anyone paying close attention would be able to see and readily identify some or all of the blurred items in question. So if I can tell (and most likely a ton of other people as well) that the guy is wearing a t-shirt with a famous beer brewer logo on it, what's the point in blurring it out at all?

I can understand the trouble for a fictitious film about a depraved mass murderer who only gets the urge to kill after enjoying a refreshing Vanilla Coke. But why go through the trouble for a documentary where Joe and Jan keep cans of Coke next to their work post at the Widget scrubbing mill? Or why blur out the Jack Daniels T-shirt on Nick, the gruff but fun independent truck driver who spends his winters hauling equipment out to some outpost in the arctic? Is it because Jack Daniels has a problem with regular people buying merchandise they market to, uhhh.. regular people? Or is it because they won't get royalties for us viewers seeing the T-shirt? This same T-shirt that I can see on someone out in public!

To me it makes sense that something like a documentary should fall under fair use, but I must be wrong. If I wasn't, there wouldn't be blurred out Coke cans all over the screen.
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Old September 13th, 2007, 05:48 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn McCalip View Post
I guess I'm a little fuzzy on the whole concept of blurring specific objects or logos out. Is it really serving a purpose and is it really necessary? The only thing that kind of makes sense to me is the thought process of "Oh, we don't have permission to show that can of Coke or that guy's Jack Daniels T-shirt, so we better blur it out lest we get sued out of our pants."

But in my mind, that only goes so far- especially in the world of documentaries on say, the Discovery Channel. I've seen several instances where some guy's shirt/ ball cap/ canned beverage was blurred out in one shot, only to be mostly visible in the next. Anyone paying close attention would be able to see and readily identify some or all of the blurred items in question. So if I can tell (and most likely a ton of other people as well) that the guy is wearing a t-shirt with a famous beer brewer logo on it, what's the point in blurring it out at all?

I can understand the trouble for a fictitious film about a depraved mass murderer who only gets the urge to kill after enjoying a refreshing Vanilla Coke. But why go through the trouble for a documentary where Joe and Jan keep cans of Coke next to their work post at the Widget scrubbing mill? Or why blur out the Jack Daniels T-shirt on Nick, the gruff but fun independent truck driver who spends his winters hauling equipment out to some outpost in the arctic? Is it because Jack Daniels has a problem with regular people buying merchandise they market to, uhhh.. regular people? Or is it because they won't get royalties for us viewers seeing the T-shirt? This same T-shirt that I can see on someone out in public!

To me it makes sense that something like a documentary should fall under fair use, but I must be wrong. If I wasn't, there wouldn't be blurred out Coke cans all over the screen.
All I can suggest is that you do the search that I recommended to the OP. All your questions will be answered. ;)
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Old September 14th, 2007, 07:06 AM   #9
 
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For what it's worth...

I've noticed on the Discovery Channel the show "Cash Cab" does not bother to blur out any logos. As the cab travels about Manhattan you can see major coporate logos, trademarks, and tradenames through the windows. They also appear in shots from cameras mounted on the cab's roof and in shots taken from camera operators on the ground. I'm talking about Coca-Cola, Sony, The Gap, McDonalds, CitiBank... you name it, it's probably been shown.

This showing of logos doesn't appear to be slowing them down any.
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