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Marco Leavitt

Taping over logos

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Hi,

 

Do you know if the decision not to require it was based on the content of the movie, or is it a general policy of that distributor?

 

Phil

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Hi,

 

By the way, I'm a woman, not a guy; it's a French first name.

You need an E/O insurance ONLY when your distributor requires it, which in the case I mentioned early, it was Warner Brothers. You most always need it for TV deals. My last film for example, Ghost of the Needle, didn't require E/O insurance for the video release because the distributor said so. It really depends on the distributor you have. A lot of times with indies, distributors upfront the cost of insurance for the filmmaker if it's really needed.

 

Laurence

Well, if your making the film for Warner Bros, then yeah I can see them wanting every kind of insurance known to man... It is a little different when your selling a a film to a distributer than making one for them...

 

I see no need for E&O insureance as long as you make sure everyone in your cast/crew has sign a release, and unless your making some huge shot in Times square, attempt to get all the releases you can from companies that have items in your film. On a smaller film, this is usually no problem becuase there is very little money for wide shots showing Times Square... More less have so many items in the film that you need to break your back to get clearances...

 

My advice for anyone in dealing in this problem is this: Know what youll need in pre-production as much as possible. If you need someone to drink a can of pop, ask coke, if they say no ask pepsi if they say no make your own damn label and through on the can. BUT: very few companies are not willing to allow there product to be featured in a film, unless of course it's making the product look bad, which most film makers are not tryng to do... Who can say no to free advertising?

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What would have happened if your friends where shooting a scene in Times Square New York, a place packed with hundreds of corporate logos.  There's bound to be a few in every wide shot shooting there.

 

Yet there are hundreds of films with scenes shot in Times Square, am I to believe that in every case the filmmakers get a release from all the business owners and corporate entities?

 

Of course this is a separate issue from the internal policies of an insurance company providing E&O insurance, they can make up any rules they want to qualify for their product.

 

Over all it's part of our litigous world, and paranoia over law suits.

 

R,

 

We now have two separate issues on the table. Logos that fit on an actors wardrobe, and logos that appear in the background of a scene.

 

Apparently, I am not allowed to place the Staples Center in the background of a Movie I may make without their permission, even if I am not standing on their property. I don't agree with this and don't know this to be true, but I think that's the way it is in Los Angeles.

 

As for logo's on an actors wardrobe, I wouldn't do it. Sponsors have morals clauses written into contracts of talent whom they are paying money to, to represent their product, why would they let you have it for free AND put their company name in jeopardy should the talent in your movie turn out to have a social vice either in real life or in your movie that is unnacceptable to the company represented on the actors wardrobe?

 

Further more, what if the logo'd actor in your movie improperly performs their task while wearing a UPS uniform? Showing a task being performed INCORRECTLY by your actor can hurt the reputation of the company that is associated with the actors character.

 

Not being allowed to film the Staples Center in the background without permission irks me, but not being able to use a company logo on an actors wardrobe or on a product they are using is completely understandable to me. Look at it this way, apparently you CAN USE any product you want in your movie, you just cannot show the corporate logo or name, that is an incredibly generous compromise if you ask me.

 

It it's true that I cannot have the Staples Center framed in the background of a shot or two when I filming something else, then....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

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It is a little different when your selling a a film to a distributer than making one for them...

 

This would make an excellent new topic. It is different, yet I doubt there is agreement as to how it is different.

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You guys keep confusing "getting sued" with "getting sued and winning".

 

Anyone can sue you for anything, whether or not they have a chance in hell of winning.

Winning that lawsuit is still going to cost you tons of money, time and headache, so it is well worth going through the extra trouble to NOT GET SUED.

 

And you're completely ignoring the fact that IF a distributor is interested in buying your film, you can be damn sure they're going to be looking at the odds of lawsuits from content of your film, whether you think it's important or not.

 

MP

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E&O insurance... eventually your show will have to have it if it goes into wide release (i.e Blockbuster/Kmart/whatever) - you do not have to pay for it prior to being picked up by a distributor, but once picked up it will be paid for out of first profits anyway.

 

logos and trademarks... and earlier post echoed the legal advice I've been given so I won't repeat those - but I will add that there definitely are times where even if something is legal, whoever ends up distributing your movie doesn't like something (like a samsung logo if Sony wants to distribute the movie) and will request that it is removed. It may come out of first profits. I will also add that audio - even the start up sound of a computer or a interface noise is not okay to use without permission ever.

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"It it's true that I cannot have the Staples Center framed in the background of a shot or two when I filming something else, then....grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. "

 

Go ahead and have the Staples Center in the BG of a shot there is nothing they can do about it.

 

If there was the entire stock footage industry would be in for a major head ache.

 

The courts have already tried a similar case to this which I have posted before in the forum, it's Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame v. Charles Gentile. Look it up on Google.

 

Basically the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame tried to sue a photographer named Charles Gentile for taking a picture of the museum and selling it as a poster. The museum claimed they owned the "rights" to the exterior of the building and that only they could sell pictures of it. It went to court and the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame LOST, repeat LOST.

 

Building exteriors shot from public property have no protection. The Gentile case is one of three that have affirmed this.

 

Again, I point out that if building owners can sue people for shooting exteriors of their buildings, then how can you ever have a street scene or aerial shot of a city in your movie?

 

Come on, producers don't get releases for every building that appears in an aerial shot of a city, that would be hundreds of releases. Staples may think they are big and powerful but they don't own the air.

 

For me personally I will continue to shoot buildings and corporate logos as freely as I like. I have a number of strong legal precedents on my side, there are NONE going the other way. And I'm not a paranoid cinematographer like many on this forum.

 

If some one files a suit against me I say bring it on I'm ready, I'll defend myself vigourously and any company that tries to come after me will find me to be an incredibly tough opponent. I say this as one who has successfully sued two major corporations and defeated the IRS twice when I was living in the USA.

 

Giant corporations may think they have a lot of legal power because they can impose the doctrine of "chill" on a smaller power. But, when the smaller power shows that he will fight like hell and make himself a major pain in the ass, you'd be amazed and how fast the bigger power just throws in the towel.

 

Any company can send you a nasty legal letter in the mail, actually getting a judgement against you in court is an entirely different matter.

 

Bring it on you corporate bastards I'm ready for you!!! :D

 

R,

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but I will add that there definitely are times where even if something is legal, whoever ends up distributing your movie doesn't like something (like a samsung logo if Sony wants to distribute the movie) and will request that it is removed. 

 

I knew I forgot something. Coke might not want to distribute a movie showing someone drinking Pepsi.

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Hi,

 

Do you know if the decision not to require it was based on the content of the movie, or is it a general policy of that distributor?

 

Phil

 

The decision was based on the distributor's policy.

 

Laurence

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Well, if your making the film for Warner Bros, then yeah I can see them wanting every kind of insurance known to man... It is a little different when your selling a a film to a distributer than making one for them...

 

Landon,

 

I never said they made it for a distributor. They made an indie film, they shopped the movie around to many distributors, and at the end, they made a deal with a distributor.

 

Laurence

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