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Old September 15th, 2012, 11:27 AM   #1
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is it generally OK to use the exterior of a commercial store with the store name?

i'm doing some editing on a project. I have a wide exterior of a woman entering a JC Penny where the store sign is prominent. Will I have copyright problems using this? If i want to get this on PBS, will there be a problem where it looks like I'm trying to advertise the store? I didnt and the store didn't pay me (heck, they only gave me oral permission to shoot inside if I only shot my subject and nothing else) but i could see how it might look otherwise. I really want to use this establishing shot, but I dont know if I'll have a problem. Thoughts?
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Old September 15th, 2012, 12:30 PM   #2
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Re: is it generally OK to use the exterior of a commercial store with the store name?

If all your shots were external and were shot from public property, i.e. not from a mall car park but from a public highway, then I don't see what any person or commercial outfit can do about it. The problem that you may have is that your 'establishing' shot links the interior footage to J C Penney explicitly, and they have already indicated that they didn't want the company to be linked to the movie.
Similarly, PBS may take a view that you are clearly showing that J C Penney is the store in question so there could be a conflict of interest in what they would want as a truly product-neutral programme.
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Old June 30th, 2014, 07:38 PM   #3
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Re: is it generally OK to use the exterior of a commercial store with the store name?

My first thought is that I'm inclined to agree with Steve. However, as I understand it, the legal concerns are a quagmire, what with trademarks and all.
While no one wants to hear it, (but deep down inside they really know it), I would think your best bet would be to hire the services of an attorney well-versed in such matters.
If JCP feels they/their brand are "slighted" or misrepresented in any way, do you really want to risk facing such a large company in court?

I recently shot and edited an academic presentation with PPoint slides (provided by the professor) interspersed throughout. I spent numerous hours vetting the slide content as being in the public domain before publishing the piece even though I was assured the research assistant had already done so. While he was aware of the importance of that, I wanted - and needed - proof for myself in order to list the items correctly in the credits, as I was not provided with the source of the slide content.
I didn't want to risk tainting either/both my reputation in the business and his academic rep.

In the end I was confident all the slide content was credited appropriately and he was very happy with the final cut.

Good luck with the project.
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Old July 19th, 2014, 10:30 PM   #4
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Re: is it generally OK to use the exterior of a commercial store with the store name?

*zombie thread*

Steve is both right, and very very wrong.

You can, legally, shoot video of anything you can see from a public place, without repercussion.

Until you publish that video.

If it's for news use, you're totally in the clear.

If it's for a program that isn't news, which it sounds like it isn't, then you need releases from the companies to use their image/trademark.

And PBS won't touch it anyway.
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