View Full Version : Copyright Issues ?!?

09-22-2005, 07:37 AM
Hi, im just wondering about copyright issues for students and also for eventual showreels.... information ive been gettin from ppl is really sketchy and usually contradicts each other. :question:

for example, if i had an animation about a room scene, and the camera was going to pan round the room, as it does, i would have models of DVD's (lion King, Matrix ect..) and also toys like say, a figure of a terminator and also maybe a tenage mutante ninja turtle......some1 said to me that i cant do this because its copyright and those arent my characters to include in my scene....

But on the other hand, ive read in countless magazines and also downloaded lots of showreels and nearly 6/10 showreels have some sorta reference to star wars or a fav game character, ive even seen showreels that have landed ppl jobs that include clips where they have used character like Solid Snake, Zelda and many others......

I dont see the difference between the 2 types and i was just wonderingif some1 could clear up the whole copyright issuefor student short films and also showreels, im sure im not the only 1 on the forum who would like to get some info from ppl who have been there and done it :help:

Cheers in advance :lwicon:

09-22-2005, 09:16 AM
As I understand it (and I'm no lawyer) you would be infringing copyright if you included these kind of characters. You would be risking prosecution (especially if you used any Disney characters!)

However you're right, lot's of people do break copyright law and get away with it!

09-22-2005, 05:13 PM
DV Magazine had a really good article on this in the November 2004 issue entitled "All Clear? A producer's guide to intellectual property clearances" by Thomas A. Crowell, Esq.. If you can find a copy of the magazine, I'd recommend reading it. Here's some excerpts which seem relevant, but I am not a lawyer nor an expert, so definitely try to find a copy and read it for yourself.

One of the side-bars entitled "Intellectual Property Law" indicates that "Three branches of IP law are especially important when clearing film or video elements", and gives explanations of Copyright Law (copying someone else's created work), Trademark Law (unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark), and Right of Publicity (unauthorized use of someone's likeness, voice, name, etc.).

The Trademark Law seems to be what you're primarily talking about. The article talks mostly about "trademark tarnishment", or implied endorsement by the owners of the trademark. Here's a paragraph that seems relevant:

"In addition to rights of publicity, onscreen IP should also be cleared. All it takes is one suddenly inspired art director to use an uncleared Nagel print on the wall of the hero's apartment or the Coca-Cola logo on the mirror the drug-addicted villain uses to cut his cocaine. Unless the producer has the permission of all of the respective copyright and trademark owners, photography can lead to infringement."


"Copyrighted materials appear everywhere: posters, sculptures, product labels, makeup designs, even the tinny music playing over the radio held by an extra. All of these should be cleared for use."

On the other hand, here's the "Fair Use" side-bar, in total:

"A certain portion of any copyrighted work may be taken without permission under the fair use exception. Typical examples of fair use include using a portion of a copyrighted work for criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research.

"Even though your project may fall into one of these categories (e.g., news reporting), you still don't have a blanket license to appropriate copyrighted works with impunity. What is considered fair use is not always clear. Only a court can make the final decision that an unauthorized use of copyrighted material is fair use.

"Courts will give weight to the following four factors in determining fair use: 'the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of the commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes; the nature of the copyrighted work; the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.' Title 17, United States Code, Section 107."

As I said, these are just a few excerpts from the article, and I'd recommend reading the entire thing yourself.


09-22-2005, 05:24 PM
"Here's some excerpts when seem relevant..."

He quoted, without expressed written consent from the author. :angel:


09-22-2005, 05:46 PM
Fair use! Fair use! :)


09-22-2005, 05:54 PM
LOL, you may be right, however as stated under the fair use, he was educating and did not make a profit.
Besides he mentioned the source of the material which is required when quoting someone elses material.

09-22-2005, 06:02 PM
Send me some money and I'll type in more of it.



09-22-2005, 06:07 PM
Fair use! Fair use! :)


I know, I know. I just thought it was funny using someone's copyrighted material to discuss the use of copyrighted material. No harm, no foul. :agree:

jbcaro :thumbsup: