Question about Copyright Issues for planned video

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by DreamTime, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. DreamTime

    DreamTime TPF Noob!

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    Hello

    I am an amateur photographer, have done a lot of photography over the years, but very little making of videos. As one of my very first ever elaborate video proejcts, I had an idea idea for a short video story, in which I was planning to use purchased toys as the story's characters. I then wondered how copyright issues might relate to this plan. Initially, I had planned to create the video and then post it publicly on YouTube. Now, after reading some basic info on copyrights, I am thinking that since I am using purchased toys in it, which have patents on them, I may not be able to share the film with the general public. I then wondered if it would be okay to post the video on YouTube as "unlisted" and share it only with friends, and/or link to it on my website.

    What are your views on this issue? Has this kind of question come up before? I searched online to try to find answers, but though I find information about using others' photos or writing, I can't find much about using toys. Is there a difference that you can see between commerical and non-commerical use, or would copyright apply to all use in a creative film project like this?


     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Kudos for considering possible legal implications of what you plan to do.

    An online photography forum is however, not a reliable place to seek legal advice.
    However patents, and trademarks, are something different from copyrights.

    Copyright law differs country by country. There is no location info in your profile.

    www.copyright.gov for US copyright law.
    www.uspto.gov for US patent & trademark law.

    In the US there is indeed a difference between commercial and editorial (non-commercial) usage.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  3. DreamTime

    DreamTime TPF Noob!

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    I'm in the USA....
     
  4. DreamTime

    DreamTime TPF Noob!

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    Thanks very much KmH for clarifying that this is a patent, not a copyright issue. That helped a lot when I did a new online search trying to find information. I looked up the links you provided but the information there is dense and it's not easy at all to see how it relates to my situation. However when I did another online search using the term "patents" instead of copyright, I found this, which is a lot more helpful than anything else I found so far:

    The IPKat: Use of iconic toys in videos
     
  5. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You are almost certain to infringe ssomeone's intellectual rights whether that be copyright, patent, trademark or whatever. As KmH said, we are not the best people to ask - you will be better off asking a lawyer in your own locale. It is cheaper to ask before you are in front of a judge, than after.
     
  6. DreamTime

    DreamTime TPF Noob!

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    John Margetts -- thanks I may do that. I wonder if it might be worthwhile trying to contact the companies that made the toys and ask them.

    In the conversation on the previous link, I found -- to my surprise-- that one toymaker company actually encourages people to make videos using their products. I was surprised at the seemingly open-ended invitation, since they don't know what kind of videos might be produced. Anyway I was really glad to find that as this avails me of one opportunity anyhow.

    Playmobil throws down animation gauntlet
     
  7. john.margetts

    john.margetts No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    On the principle that there is no such thing as bad publicity, free publicity is always worth having.
     
  8. DreamTime

    DreamTime TPF Noob!

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    I just called one toymaker company this morning and they said it would be fine for me to use their toys in a noncommercial production. This was a smaller lesser known company. I get the sense that some of the larger companies like Disney are more protective of their products' use.
     
  9. espresso2x

    espresso2x No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Maybe contact Youtube and ask them?



     
  10. vintagesnaps

    vintagesnaps Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I think you're talking about Trademark. A patent would be more for the plans and process used to make a certain type of product; the trademark would be the name and/or logo of the company that manufactures and sells a product.

    I think trademark could fall under intellectual property (IP). I would think you'd probably need written permission/releases signed to use a company's trademark for retail or commercial use. A company could indirectly benefit from publicity by someone's usage of their trademarked product, but that's up to them if they want to allow that; it could be a violation of their registered trademark to use it to make money or profit from that use.

    That article on Playmobil was about a contest/competition held in London and on a site in the UK; laws on IP are probably different than the US (edit - I see now you're located in the US). The company sponsoring a contest and allowing usage of the Playmobil name in videos was just for that competition so wouldn't cover usage like you're talking about.

    From what I understand about copyright regarding photographs, usually if usage is personal there may not be a concern or need for permission (such as selling a print for the buyer's personal use). Similar with editorial (such as newspapers/media outlets), usually releases aren't needed (but may be requested). For retail or commercial use usually releases are needed.

    But even if this is for personal use, if you share a video online, even just to friends and family, I suppose there's a chance someone could share it and accidently or inadvertantly it could go viral and then where does that leave you? I don't know...

    Maybe try researching trademark and IP related to use in videos and short films.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
  11. Dave442

    Dave442 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You pretty much want to get licensing for everything, the toys, the music, etc. I used to do a lot of claymation in 8mm and found most toys just don't give the flexibility for doing animation (probably good that my stop motion clips of Mattel cars racing around are lost in some attic and not up on YouTube).
     
  12. happasmith

    happasmith TPF Noob!

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    Hello, I am not sure this is too much of a problem since there are many Youtubers out there who make thousands of dollars just by reviewing toys.
     

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