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Is this legal?

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Kyle Troxell
Is this legal?
on Apr 23, 2008 at 2:29:02 am

I once heard someone say something like this:
"Did you know America ranks the lowest in education but the highest in drug use? We need to start the war on education. If it's anywhere near as successful as our war on drugs, in no time we'll all be hooked on phonics. "
Now, if I were to put this line in a movie, would it be legal to have an actor say it because of the "hooked on phonics park"?

Also, if you say an actor's name, live or dead, is that legal? I always wondered about that because Tarantino mentioned Pam Grier in Reservior Dogs and she had no idea she was mentioned until two of her friends saw a screening of it.

Thank you.


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Gursimran Dhillon
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 23, 2008 at 3:55:23 am

Thats a tough one, i would really ask a lawyer about that, for the most part i know there have been tons of shows which mention celebereties names as reference i'm sure you can do that, because names aren't copyrighted and i'm sure there are more than one person named Tom Cruise if he really wants to take someone to court for using his name, i don't think he can win, cause you can always say it was another Tom Cruise.
Copyright Name can't do it.
Hope it helps but still ask a lawyer.

Dillon


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Mark Suszko
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 23, 2008 at 2:27:17 pm

If the law was that strict, Ned Holness, AKA Carlos Mencia, would be doing hard time by now.

You need to review the details of Fair Use, as well as to consult a real lawyer. If your question is; can you use brand names like "Hooked On Phonics" in dialogue for your film, the answer is "it depends". Context is everything.

George Carlin can say that line in a comedy routine and get away with it as Fair Use. A straight documentary may have a harder time legally, saying the same thing, but OTOH may be able to get away with showing a cleared clip of Carlin saying it. THAT's confusing!:-)

There was a case in a recent theatrical movie where a sub-plot was that the bad guys were illegally tearing down rain forest land, and Caterpillar sued the film because the construction equipment in the shot showed their brand name. I think it may have been a remake of "George of the Jungle".

I believe the judge threw out Cat's claim in that case, partly because the movie was not about Caterpillar being a mean company destroying the rainforest, the equipment was just background props used in a few minutes of a fictional movie, and they were not the focus of the movie. Some people confuse product placement deals with other image rights issues. Unless you know why a logo in a shot has been blurred-out, you should not try to guess why, you could very well guess wrong. I don't profess to be an authority on this, even an expert can have a hard time with it because it is such a murky area of the law. You really need a lawyer's opinion on it.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 23, 2008 at 3:01:11 pm

a couple of other examples - watch most MTV reality shows, they blur out logos on peoples' hats and tshirts. Watch the news and very little except offending anatomy is blurred out. Have you noticed that the genitals on ancient statues and in classical paintings is being blurred out - this is absurd in my opinion.

In the NBC show Heroes, a character sticks her hand in the garbage disposal, mangling her fingers, only to magically heal. Apparently the Insinkerator company forced NBC to digitally remove their logo from the scene - not sure if this is true, but companies generally do not want their products or names used in a negative way.

I agree with the others, talk to a lawyer - better to be safe than sorry.

Mike


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Mark Suszko
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 23, 2008 at 4:36:37 pm

Even crazier than that, in some promotional pictures of pro wrestlers I've seen lately, the bare-chested men in their wrestling garb have their nipples airbrushed out.

The MEN!

What is wrong with people today?!?!


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Mike Cohen
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 23, 2008 at 5:21:29 pm

It's all Janet Jackson's fault. Before the wardrobe malfunction incident you could watch a documentary about art and actually see the art. Today any nudity, even the Venus de Milo, has the potential to offend someone. If the FCC gets one letter from some offended person, the broadcaster may face steep fines.
Last year people actually complained to the FCC about Saving Private Ryan, despite a disclaimer before and during the broadcast that is contains language and violence.
What is the broadcast world coming to?
Oh yeah, we now have the internet, which thus far has remained somewhat censor free...give it time however.


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Hamish Boyd
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 24, 2008 at 3:21:58 am

Sorry bit off topic to original point..but just to counter....

The hyper sensitivity towards nudity is very much an American thing. It is not a world most of us in the west live in. For us, the news story isn't about, say, a breast being exposed, its how Americans tie themselves in knots over it. The Janet incident was hilarious to watch from afar.
The expression that is used constantly
"Only in America..."

Seriously, Venus de Milo is being blurred out????
Oh man thats funny...

I suppose it comes from everyone taking each other to court and suing the pants of each other. Which gets back to the original point... see a lawyer.



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Nick Griffin
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 25, 2008 at 10:52:38 am

[Hamish Boyd] "The expression that is used constantly
"Only in America...""


Please don't assume that this kind of stupidity is all that widespread in the US -- at least the parts of the US where most of the people I know live and work. That said, some of the more serious nut jobs gained power in the wake of Clinton/Lewinsky. In the early days of the current administration it got so stupid that John Ashcroft, Bush's first Attorney General, had drapery put up to cover the naked breasts of Greco-Roman statuary in the foyer of the Department of Justice. Sure made me proud to be an American.

But it will change. There's an expression about politics and social culture that goes: "the pendulum never stops in the middle.



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Terence Curren
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 24, 2008 at 3:49:58 am

[Mike Cohen] "a couple of other examples - watch most MTV reality shows, they blur out logos on peoples' hats and tshirts. "

In the case of MTV, they need to get clearance of the logo from the manufacturer. In the case of ABC, they blur ALL logos as they don't want to step on any of their paid advertisers.



Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca


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grinner hester
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 24, 2008 at 1:19:34 am

you can mention (but not slander) stage names with no release or permission. You cannot use copyrighted phrases or registered names without written use. You can look these up online though. I know the "lets get ready to ruble" dude likes to surf for people who steal his quote and sues em.




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Jeremy Doyle
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 24, 2008 at 2:53:40 pm

Re: Is this legal?
by grinner hester (grinner) on Apr 23, 2008 at 8:19:34 pm

you can mention (but not slander) stage names with no release or permission. You cannot use copyrighted phrases or registered names without written use. You can look these up online though. I know the "lets get ready to ruble" dude likes to surf for people who steal his quote and sues em.


ruble? Way to avoid being sued.



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grinner hester
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 24, 2008 at 4:28:59 pm

;)
fine lines are fun to dance on.



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Mike Cohen
Re: Is this legal?
on Apr 27, 2008 at 10:31:57 pm

Obscuring the private parts of statues is a bit absurd. The ultra prudes in question do not seem to understand the intent of the artist. Janet Jackson's intent was to cause controversy and indirectly to titillate 13 year old boys. The intent of greco-roman artists was to depict life and/or deities in the form of sculpture. Failure to discern a difference and to publicly demonstrate such ignorance is an embarrassment.
Not trying to be political, just calling upon supposedly forgotten learnings from communication theory classes gone by!
Mike


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