This is more likely a business question and I have in fact posted this same question within that forum. At the same time DP's must have some general idea of what is and what is not ok to shoot in regards to copy right. So here it goes...
In my previous life as an agency producer I was fairly up to speed on libel and slander issues. I also felt pretty clear on the issues surrounding privacy and publicity. Also with a national network spot budget I would get releases for everything and if needed throw money at people to get them to sign the releases. On my current project with a budget of $700 bucks, yep $700, I'm faced with some issues that I could use some input on.
I'm doing a profile on a community. The community is Kirkland Washington. What is ok and what is not ok to use. For example if I the voice over mentions the great parks may I shoot the park?
If the VO mentions great restaurants, shopping, and nightlife may I shoot wide views of restaurants, shopping areas, and general nightlife images? I would shoot from a public street and I would never imply that any of the locations and/or businesses endorse the group encouraging people to move to the area.
How about water front homes or a particular housing community? May I shoot the sign to the community if I do it from a publican street and make sure we don't imply that the community endorses the video?
How about when the VO mentions the top employers? May I shoot a shot of the Microsoft sign or a shot of the campus from the street?