Fair Use & Copyright Law
in Film & Media
This page is only and specifically related to the arts and entertainment community with respects to the fair use doctrine. Kelly Insurance Group is not a team of attorneys, rather we are a group of entertainment insurance agents that encounter this question each and every time we quote and bind a media errors and omissions policy.
Fortunately there are many circumstances that can be free and clear of any legal culpability due to the implementation of Section 107 of the Copyright Act. Presently, you are able to use, without license, the encyclopedia of copyright protected material in special circumstances. One of the key features of Section 7 is based upon the manner in which the material, or protected property, is used.
An Example of a Problematic Situation:
Let’s pretend you used a leading soft drink manufacturer as a brand in your feature film. During the climax of the movie, the protagonist decides to use the respective brand’s material in a way that degrades the nature of the brand. Just to make things interesting let us imagine the same protagonist using the can of soft drink as a weapon or means to injure or hurt someone or something. Such an example would be in stark contrast to what is acceptable under Section 7 of the Copyright Act. In this case you would be ripe for a lawsuit or civil complaint from the brand you disparaged, that’s all but guaranteed. Be smart, hire an attorney that can help you navigate some of these waters up front.