View Full Version : Copyrighted costumes?

02-26-2010, 11:18 AM
We are filming a scene tomorrow that is supposed to have a sequence where you see someone wearing a generic halloween latex mask for about 3 seconds. It has no bearing on the story, and is nothing more than a basic prop. I know the mask is made by some company, somewhere but there is nothing written on it to note who that is. I got it several years ago, and it used to be fairly common in halloween shops years ago. The mask has been since discontinued. I didn't know what the copyright laws would be for showing something like that. I'm not even sure who to ask to get permission from.

02-26-2010, 12:41 PM
Generally, copyright on props, costume and prosthetics are sold to be used - and I can only remember just one case where the conditions of sale prohibited professional use. I can only speak for UK use here, but I buy and source all sorts of props and costumes for professional on-stage use. A number of these performances are recorded and either broadcast or sold on DVD. We buy costumes from specialist stage clothing outlets, local chain stores and commission one-offs. They are sold without restriction. We're quite happy buying masks from mail order suppliers and using them with no issue at all. If the products are sold without any specific restriction, then they've been sold to be used - and that's what you're doing. It is different if the item itself is a specific, well-known branded item. So I'd be wary of buying a Mickey Mouse mask from a Disney store and using that, but generic items without a specific manufacturer branding obvious to the audience are trouble free, from my own experience. A large part of what we do is actually using perhaps two or three separate items, cutting and modifying them into a new piece. We do this without the issue of rights even being considered.

In many cases, when suppliers realise their items are going to be on display publicly, they either reduce the price, or even give them away - thinking that if people see their obvious products, they might then buy them for themselves. I doubt this applies to masks, but the possibility might be there?

02-26-2010, 01:20 PM
I don't think we will have issues, its just something I wanted to be mindful of. Like you said if it was some sort of licensed character then it would def. be a problem, but its just a generic mask.

03-10-2010, 03:10 PM
I think it depends on if it's a mask of something noticable (Michael Meyers).