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Old October 1st, 2008, 10:44 AM   #1
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Making films under an assumed name?

I was wondering if it is technically legal to make your own films under an assumed "company" name - such as XYZ Productions - without actually having registered the name or "company". Also this is just low-profile enthusiasts stuff, for the most part nothing serious that will likely get looked at by the general public. Thanks!
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Old October 1st, 2008, 02:21 PM   #2
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It's only "low profile" until the owner of the trademark/copyright gets wind of it, then it's an expensive lawsuit if they are nasty, or the recovery and destruction of all your "product" to cease and desist the infringement... if they are amenable to your pleas of "innocence".

Do a trademark/copyright search and find a unique name/identity, it's the right thing to do, just in case your "enthusiast" niche turns into something bigger - you'll be happier in the long run...

That'd be my $.08, adjusted for inflation and $700B bailout...
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 09:49 AM   #3
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...that and filling for an Assumed Business Name (in the states it is called a "DBA, Doing Business As") these are cheap. $30. Then you can practically do anything a company can do (of course there is lots of other paperwork to be able to collect sales tas, have employees, etc etc).

$30 is pretty cheap insurance.
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Old October 2nd, 2008, 11:50 AM   #4
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I think you misunderstood the question - they're not asking if they can make a film under an *existing* company's name (i.e. "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer") but rather under a made-up company name.

The real answer depends on your state and locale. In some areas, there are fines for failure to register a fictitious name. In other areas, registration is only required if you actually sell a product. In others, no registration is ever required (as long as you're operating as a sole proprietor or general partnership.)

Since you are in China and/or Canada, all bets are off - you need to ask someone from your own country.

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that and filling for an Assumed Business Name (in the states it is called a "DBA, Doing Business As") these are cheap. $30.
Maybe for you, but it cost much more for me. I think it was $250 or more. Again, it depends on your location.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 09:58 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies guys. As I said, this is purely enthusiast/hobbyist stuff, none of which will be sold or likely to be seen by any people other than friends. Also, this would be under a fictitious, non-existing name.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 10:41 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Davis View Post
I think you misunderstood the question - they're not asking if they can make a film under an *existing* company's name (i.e. "Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer") but rather under a made-up company name.
I think you misunderstood the answer - how do you *know* your made-up name doesn't already exist? That's what Dave Blackhurst was getting at. Spending the money on a trademark / copyright search is the only way to be certain that you're not infringing someone else's copyright. No matter what alias you come up with, there's always the chance that somebody else might have thought of it first, and registered it. That's the point here.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 11:51 AM   #7
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Assuming the name has not been taken, would this be OK then?
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 01:24 PM   #8
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Like I said, you're in China and/or Canada, so it may be different... But if you're just messing around and making a fun video with friends, then you're not conducting business. I would see that as no different than a YMCA basketball team calling themselves the "Anytown Warriors". They don't need to register the name.
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Old October 3rd, 2008, 01:29 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
Spending the money on a trademark / copyright search
Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)
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Old October 6th, 2008, 08:54 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hurd View Post
I think you misunderstood the answer - how do you *know* your made-up name doesn't already exist? That's what Dave Blackhurst was getting at. Spending the money on a trademark / copyright search is the only way to be certain that you're not infringing someone else's copyright. No matter what alias you come up with, there's always the chance that somebody else might have thought of it first, and registered it. That's the point here.
And even if it isn't already registered, someone else may start trading under that name and register it before you do, and then who knows who should be credited with what.
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