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David Notowitz
Shooting secretly at a retail business location
on Dec 21, 2010 at 9:27:08 pm

Is there any way I can legally shoot secretly at a business location (watch store, for example), not include any people, and just shoot the products (using my iPhone4 to remain discrete), and use that footage in a commercial to promote a competing watch store?

I guess I'm supposed to get approval from the store owner? Could I get the manager's approval without telling them it's to promote a competitor?

Thank you guys,
David

Notowitz Productions
Inspiring Action™
http://www.Notowitz.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Shooting secretly at a retail business location
on Dec 22, 2010 at 2:06:31 am

You are WAAAAY underestimating the barriers in your way.

"Business location" is ephemeral. It gives us little information as to the legal hurdles.

For example, the following "entities" might have the ability to cause you grief when it comes to securing clean "rights" to use footage in a retail location.

(we'll start small and go big)

Product designs (if in close up.)
Product logos (if visible in the shop)
Store design and decor (as in "Hey, that's obviously a ZALES!"
The store NAME and logo themselves.
The "Property rights" if any, of the building and/or facility owners.
The shopping center's architecture or design elements, if protected.
The shopping center or mall owner's private property rights to limit access and or use of their IP

Those are just a FEW off the top of my head.

I used to do work for major shopping malls in my area and was shocked to learn decades ago that often the MALL Owner - (which is typically a big entity with LOTS of lawyers on retainer!) actually acts like the PARENT to all the stores located there - setting rules, collecting ALL the cash and credit card receipts at the end of the day and essentially making ALL the rules that the mall runs under. The stores (tenants) have EXTREMELY limited rights - which are governed under master agreements between the stores parent company - and the mall operating company. The result is that unless you get into the VERY rare store that is independently owned and operated - the local manager can't even GIVE permission for you to shoot there unless the shopping center or mall approves.

Weird, huh?



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David Notowitz
Re: Shooting secretly at a retail business location
on Dec 22, 2010 at 7:11:41 pm

Bill,
Thank you so much for that thoughtful and interesting response.
I've been shooting commercials for local clients since 1992, with hundreds of my commercials airing every week on local cable stations.

I had a creative idea for a client, and I wanted to find out any legal way to make it happen, and you responded with such respect and clarity.
All the best,
David

Notowitz Productions
Inspiring Action™
http://www.Notowitz.com


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grinner hester
Re: Shooting secretly at a retail business location
on Dec 22, 2010 at 6:05:29 pm

It's easy enough to do but you'll not make any friends this way. Shoot your client's store. Show what THEY have. Going out of your way to get into legal trouble will indeed find you with success in just that.



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Noah Kadner
Re: Shooting secretly at a retail business location
on Dec 23, 2010 at 6:28:33 pm

Yeah I could see building a set to represent a pretend 'Competitor X' to promote your client's differences. But actually sneaking into a real competitor's store without proper permission to promote your client's superiority is specious at best and highly actionable in court at worst. Doesn't matter how creative your concept is- this is just pointless legal jeopardy you're putting yourself and your client into. Figure out another idea. If you've been shooting since '92 I'm sure you can come up with something wiser.

Noah

Unlock the secrets of 24p, HD and Final Cut Studio with Call Box Training. Featuring the Canon 5D Mark II and 7D.


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Cory Petkovsek
Re: Shooting secretly at a retail business location
on Dec 30, 2010 at 8:18:46 am

Ha! If you have to "remain discrete" about it, you already know the answer. Why ask us about it? Give me a break.

--
Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video


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