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    Copyright items inside your script
    #1
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    Hello all, hope everyone is well. I am writing a script for the first time to be submitted to a film fest. How does having copyrighted items work inside your script. Am i allowed to write XYZ was drinking coke or eating Chex Mix? Or do i have to make up names myself?Thanks in advance.


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    Senior Member Cary Knoop's Avatar
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    I suspect you mean using trademarked names or phrases.
    Here is some info:
    https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclope...rademarks.html

    "Coke" is trademarked for clothing only.
    Last edited by Cary Knoop; 04-01-2020 at 03:42 PM.


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    Senior Member HKB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by theillestmc12 View Post
    Hello all, hope everyone is well. I am writing a script for the first time to be submitted to a film fest. How does having copyrighted items work inside your script. Am i allowed to write XYZ was drinking coke or eating Chex Mix? Or do i have to make up names myself?Thanks in advance.
    I'm curious, why would you consider using specific brand names?


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    #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by theillestmc12 View Post
    ... How does having copyrighted items work inside your script. Am i allowed to write XYZ was drinking coke or eating Chex Mix? ...
    Film festivals et. al. all want to be risk free. So no one wants anything to do with a film that has any questionable material in it. If you don't have the express written consent of the copyright, trademark, IP, trade dress, or brand owner, don't use it. The same goes for any artwork or other media (TV) that may be in the background. You also need permission for the locations you shoot. Basically, if you don't own it you need permission to use it. That's for a feature film/short.

    If you are making a documentary, educational, critique, or technical film, then 'fair use' may come in to play.
    Last edited by Paul F; 04-01-2020 at 10:52 PM.


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    #5
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    Thank you all for the response. I was hoping to use "Piano Man" in the scrip by Billy Joel but thank you guys for the input. I guess i will keep it neutral.


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    #6
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    There's plenty of composers out there that can make some excellent music for you and are likely in your local area.


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    #7
    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    Nothing to stop you using Piano Man, but it will just cost you.


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    Senior Member Cary Knoop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paulears View Post
    Nothing to stop you using Piano Man, but it will just cost you.
    Well, I thought that technically the copyright holder may refuse at any price if it is used in a published film script (and it is not a parody or some other fair use exception).
    The only thing I think that cannot be refused is an audio-only (i.e. unsynchronized) published cover of the song, the royalty percentage is standard in this case.

    But I am open to be corrected.
    Last edited by Cary Knoop; 04-03-2020 at 01:51 PM.


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    #9
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    Here's some information from the experts. Submit a request and see what happens. If nothing else, you learned something. It may be cheaper than you think. There's some notes about films targeted to film festivals having special rates. https://www.ascap.com/help/career-de...usic-For-Films
    Last edited by Paul F; 04-03-2020 at 02:03 PM.


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    #10
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    Technically speaking, no one will sue if Hannibal Lecter eats a Big Mac with his Chianti. A previously published/produced musical number, however, is likely to be a no-no. Rick Beato says that there are some notorious blockers (most have own Vevo channels) that will force you to re-edit your clip for even daring to play their tunes or make YouTube ban it outright.


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