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How far can commercial copyright go?

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Stephen Pickering
How far can commercial copyright go?
on Dec 19, 2013 at 7:39:09 pm

I know, I know, A copyright-lawyer is going to give the best answer, but can you give me your thoughts?

I did a commercial for a local grocery store for a competition. After we submitted the entry there were a few people competitors who cried "foul" that we ripped off C V S Pharmacy spots. I hadn't seen those spots until they brought them to my attention. They really are quite different but share the idea of "this is MY store/pharmacy," which is nothing new to marketing.

I would like to pitch some more ideas to the store, but I'm wondering if I should change from "My name is ____ and this is my ____" to "My name is _____ and I shop _____" just to be sure it's different enough from C V S?

Here are the two spots, the first is mine and the second is the pharmacy's:

Am I over thinking this?



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Mark Suszko
Re: How far can commercial copyright go?
on Dec 19, 2013 at 9:48:37 pm

It's different enough that you're safe. The CVS spot puts the customer's name literally over their own, your tag doesn't do that, she only says the tag. CVS could check prior art and see that Chevy did a campaign like this some time back as well. it's NOT that unique idea. Try a google search on "This is MY.."

Not a lawyer, but my understanding is you can't own an idea, only a specific "expression" of the idea. IMO your "expression" of the idea is different enough to be "safe".

We always say this in these discussions, though: you may indeed be right. You may indeed have a legal defense. But do you have the patience, the time, and the money to fight the other guy in court over it? I'm guessing CVS has a bigger in-house staff of lawyers than you do.

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