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    Copyright Issues with shooting inside a bar?
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    I'm in the stages of pre-production for a web series I've written and there are quite a few scenes in a bar. Finding a location is not the issue, but I notice alot of the bars we've looked at have beer posters, neon brand name lights, and of course all the bottles and signage that is behind the bar itself. I'm assuming you can't show any logos? Or does it matter? It seems like shooting around everything will prove to be a challenge, but I want to do it right. I am taking this web series production as serious as any other feature film production would and I want to make sure my company has all the rights to everything.

    Sidenote: The apartment we are using also has pictures on the wall of just celebrities really (like a cut-out of Eddie Murphy's head, Andy Kaufman, John Lennon) These wouldn't be a problem to take down, but just so I'm clear those would be copyright infringement as well correct?

    Thanks in advance for your feedback.

    Cheers, Jeremy


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    Yes all of the above need to be removed -or- cleared


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    Senior Member FrameFarmMedia's Avatar
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    Yes bar shooting can be tricky as they are so brand heavy visually.

    Some tricks to try:

    -Make labels with simple colour and shape and shoot so they won't be in focus but shapes and colours can be made out so people assume they are branded bottles. Coloured liquids in label less bottles also look good when hit with the some light. I am paranoid and will shoot the non descript fake colour labels in case someone suspects you used real logos as proof. Same I as shoot myself putting up all consent to film location signage just as proof it was there.

    -If you have heavy branded neon and you really want the bar look try and place it just out of frame or edge so the impression is there but the full logo is not visable.

    -Actors palm the labels when they drink bottles or use pint glasses which are unbranded.

    -Approach a local brewery and see if they have any interest in letting you use their product in your webseries. They get advertising and you get the freedom to use some branded signage so it doesn't look devoid of real brands. Lots of great craft brews who probably wouldn't appreciate the exposure if the content is appropriate. Maybe you can actually get some money for the series if they are gung ho. A tap head, Bottles, signage can be places in view with the bigger names just edge of view not fully visable. Make sure you have signed paperwork in case they come back at you though.


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    Senior Member David W. Jones's Avatar
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    Where I am located I have to follow ABC guidelines, so I would also suggest looking into any rules and regulations where you are located concerning showing/consumption of alcoholic beverages, as it would suck if you got sued because your actions lost somebody their liquor license.

    Best answer to all your questions…. Consult a lawyer, not the internet!


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    Senior Member FrameFarmMedia's Avatar
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    In the end always consult the proper channels but forums are a good idea for where to start the discussions and things to look for.

    In Canada I know you can get permits for liquor outside of serving hours for filming just as with private company parties. If its a massive issue just substitute some coloured liquid instead of alcohol but make sure its documented. I don't know what the FCC is like but the CRTC here regulates the portrayal of alcohol (especially in youth programming) but they don't regulate webseries as far as I know.

    Always best to consult all regulatory orgs before proceeding with anything.


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    Chapelgrove Films
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    Not just copyright issues -- registered trademark issues too.

    Remove it, cover it, hide it or shoot around it. That's all you can do.
    David W. Richardson
    Writer/Producer/Director/Editor
    Chapel Grove Films
    Celtic Cross Films
    Bliss Video Productions
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1400903/?ref_=tt_ov_dr


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    Senior Member clang's Avatar
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    If you just needed a few shots, I'd suggest using shallow depth of field to blur out incriminating brand names etc in the background, combined with careful framing. But that's not going to work for a whole web series - your director and DoP will need to use a huge variety of shots, and some of those will almost certainly have brands and labels clearly visible.

    Your best options are to either:
    - get legal clearance to show some real labels/brands/signage. That may work great if you have a friend who owns a local brewery and would love some free publicity, and you don't mind redressing your bar to be mysteriously stocked only with that brewery's product. (I know a local soap opera does this with their fake cafeteria set - non-alcoholic beverages, but the same issue.) A large corporate is less likely to be so helpful - at the very least, their legal department will have a long list of rules to follow, some of which you may find stupidly restrictive.
    - redress the whole bar so that the only labels/brands/signage visible are your own fake labels/brands/signage. (E.g. Duff Beer on The Simpsons.)

    Similar issues re the pictures on the wall of the apartment.


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    Senior Member silyn's Avatar
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    You can also replace labels, pictures, photos, TV and computer screens in post. It's often significantly less expensive doing it in post than in production. Mocka is one of the main tools frequently used to do that even in big multimillion productions. If you have access to Adobe AE, you have Mocka.


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    These things should be checked with a lawyer or some other person actually well aware of the local laws. Covering or redesigning brand names, trademarks is usually good idea and good practice. However, it is NOT absolutely necessary, or required, as some people seem to believe. You definitely can show logos etc, with some exceptions and limitations you should be aware of. Think about it; what if you were shooting a documentary? No-one expects you to avoid incidental logos visible all around in public places. Cars are easily recognizable and have logos all over; no-one expects you to have clearance or make imaginary cars even in big-budget fiction. Generally incidental brandnames in the background should be OK.

    Generally, if your script has nothing to do with "product X", but your character just happens to consume "product X", or hang around in places with "product X" visible, you should be OK. The questions you should ask are: If you take any still frame from your film, could you consider "product X" a subject of that image? Does that image comment "product X" in any way? Could you replace "product X" with anything without significant change of meaning? Does "product X", as a visual element blend in or pop out as significant for the viewer?

    - Things can be a bit more strict with products like tobacco and alcohol products. Usually they can be visible, but if anyone could think of it as endorsement or advertisement, you are in for trouble.
    - Trade mark owners can theoretically cause trouble even when you are acting within the limits of the law. Ie. they can sue you, which you probably don't want, even if you would win.
    - Some distributors or broadcasters may have internal rules more strict than the law.

    There might be other similar considerations, so always consult someone in the know of local laws and practices. Or play it safe and replace everything with imaginary products. You can always take redesigning as an extra opportunity to further define your story, imaginary world and color palette. On the other hand, in some cases using real world, contemporary objects could be the more artistically sensible option.

    EDIT: This, for example seems to be a good read: http://www.bbc.co.uk/filmnetwork/fil...ent-clearances As far as I know, BBC is a public broadcaster and falls in the category of "having internal rules more strict than the law", so following their advice should be on the safe side
    Last edited by mörkö; 11-16-2014 at 06:52 AM.


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    #10
    Chapelgrove Films
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    "Local laws" have nothing to do with it. Copyright and trademark laws are national and international. No local law can circumvent them.

    It's not likely that any company will come back and cause a problem to a small webseries -- unless, of course, it takes off. If that happens, then you'll be VERY sorry you didn't do it right when you had the chance.

    Be a professional. Don't take chances.
    David W. Richardson
    Writer/Producer/Director/Editor
    Chapel Grove Films
    Celtic Cross Films
    Bliss Video Productions
    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1400903/?ref_=tt_ov_dr


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