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Pro2k5
08-23-2009, 03:18 PM
I'm preparing to submit a script for web series to be copyrighted. I name-drop a lot in the script, mentioning some video-game titles, song titles, etc. Can I still submit the script for a copyright?

I don't intend on selling the script or anything like that. It's just a web series that I'm looking to produce.

Pro2k5
08-29-2009, 09:52 AM
Gee, I guess I'll have to rephrase my post:

I have written a script that features the titles of several video games (Halo 3, Gears of War 2), cable channels (ESPN, G4, etc), as well as several song titles and the artists (Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, etc).

Would I still be able to copyright this script?

ComicBent
08-29-2009, 10:21 AM
Yes.

Copyright has nothing to do with whether you have mentioned the names of other copyrighted or trademarked materials.

Copyright is easy to understand. However, as with anything in law, complicated situations can arise. The basic problem with copyright, though, is that the US Congress keeps changing the law to protect Hollywood.

You might want to check out Wikipedia. I believe I once read a very thorough article on copyright there.

DavidK
08-29-2009, 04:48 PM
Yes. What CB said, using real names, brands, trademarks etc. does not affect whether or not your work is copyrightable. However, if you get that far, it gives the studio/producer legal department the task of ensuring those names can safely be used in context, no defamation, breach of privacy, etc.

Robot17
08-29-2009, 05:51 PM
Yes.

However, as with anything in law, complicated situations can arise.

Right. So complicated in fact its usually not worth doing. To use an extreme example to illustrate the point:

I go buy a van. I take it to the paint shop and have it painted brown. They add a crest and the intitials UPS. I then go and deliver packages - but I'm not making any money! Honest! And UPS isn't incurring any of the cost of business.

Except they are. I'm using their intellectual property, brand identity and so on which dilutes the value of their business and business opportunities and in so doing forces them spend money to protect their rights in court (if they don't it may become difficult for them to claim those rights).

It sounds like you're intending to publish or broadcast (in essence) the use of their property (trademarks) which could lead to problems for you and force you to change your material after the fact.

I'm not an attorney or anything (my experience is in usage in the broadcast realm) but I'd be real careful about it and try to find a different way.

Bot

Buzz2074
09-02-2009, 01:45 AM
Right. So complicated in fact its usually not worth doing. To use an extreme example to illustrate the point:

I go buy a van. I take it to the paint shop and have it painted brown. They add a crest and the intitials UPS...
Bot


So you're the one who delivered my camera all broken.

Buzz2074
09-02-2009, 01:51 AM
Seriously though, Pro2...

Brand names come up in dialogue. Ironically enough, the issue of studios forcing writers to put stuff in dialogue as product placement was a tertiary issue during the strike.

But if you're at all concerned with what Robot rightly says, then generalize or fictionalize.

Two hitmen in a car chat about fast food in Belgium... probably not a problem to mention a Big Mac and McD's.

Guy walks into a burger joint and shoots off a gun because he's having a bad day (Falling Down) or guys rub boogers in customer's food (Waiting)... you better make up your own non-trademarked burger joint.

Opinion is protected speech too. "I hate DickMonald's" not actionable. "DickMonald's uses rat turds" - actionable.

Droz
09-03-2009, 09:24 AM
Pro- google 'Fair Use.' It may help you understand the legalities.