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The big screen


#1

Hello all,

I recently had a ring used in a hollywood movie and I want to use a
pic of the actor wearing it for promo purposes. I want to put it on
my website and perhaps in a mailer. My husband said I couldn’t just
use the picture, I had to get permission from the studio to use it.

As I’ve hunted around on the web, I’ve seen all sorts of pics taken
from movies and tv shows and I don’t remember seeing one “used with
permission from XYZ studios”.

Should I just use the picture (I’m going to capture it off the DVD
when it comes out) and wait and see if the studio contacts me, or
should I jump through all the hoops to get proper permission?

Thanks!
Amery

Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge
www.amerycarriere.com


#2

Amery -

I’d get permission. Why go to all the time and expense of creating a
promotion if you may have to pull it to comply with an injunction?
The studio undoubtedly has a lot more money and a lot more attorneys
on staff to throw at you than you can afford to find out about.

Why take a chance? I agree that people have grabbed images from Web
sites without attribution, but where it crosses the line is when the
image is used by someone other than the copyright holder for
commercial purposes.

Having said that, I have to add this disclaimer: IANAL - I am not a
lawyer. I am unable to cite applicable law. Asking for permission is
the professional and ethical thing to do, in my opinion.

Linda


#3

If you don’t get proper permission you can get sued very easily.

I have a photographer friend who went through something similar
(recently) with a model who used a picture on a book she wrote
without written permission from him (he owned the rights to the
pictures).

He sued, he won, she paid.

Craig
www.creativecutgems.com


#4

Amery,

Congratulations on having one of your pieces placed in such a highly
visible place.

I am not sure of the laws but I would bet that to capture a photo
off of DVD from a movie and of an actor to use for commercial
purposes would violate all kinds of laws.

I have a photo on my website in my customer comments section of a
Denver Colorado radio personality wearing one of my pieces. I simply
asked for permission to place that photo on my website and I was
given permission.

I am not saying that you will be given permission but it is very
easy to ask first.

Good Luck.
Greg DeMark
If You Like Antique, Vintage or Custom Jewelry
Visit us on the web at:
www.demarkjewelry.com
greg@demarkjewelry.com


#5
My husband said I couldn't just use the picture, I had to get
permission from the studio to use it, or should I jump through all
the hoops to get proper permission? 

By all means, get permission, otherwise your husband will say, “I
told you so.” Perhaps the magazines use the pictures as part of a
review and it’s allowed under “fair usage,” or for a review.

I suggest you try to get permission, or at the very least research
more about allowable (legal) usages.

Elaine

Elaine Luther
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
http://www.CreativeTextureTools.com
Hard to Find Tools for Metal Clay


#6
I recently had a ring used in a hollywood movie and I want to use
a pic of the actor wearing it for promo purposes. I want to put it
on 

News use, educational use, discussion use, commercial use of images
all have many very different permission or not requirements with
commercial use, of course, having the toughest (see my prior post of
the law in the Ecommerce and Repairs thread). The best time to start
the paperwork would have been at the time you sold or loaned the
ring. Now I suspect your best bet is direct contact with the studio.
Call and make every effort to get the contact info for the exact
person who will make the decision(s) or who will be responsible for
shepherding your request through the system. Then follow through and
follow-up as needed. Given that you wish the actor’s likeness as a
primary part of your image you very well may need their explicit
permission too.

Alternatively you could pay an experienced licensing attorney to
give you a written opinion of what you can do without permission
(probably text statements at least) or to seek the permissions. Good
luck.

James E. White
Inventor, Marketer, and Author of “Will It Sell? How to Determine If
Your Invention Is Profitably Marketable (Before Wasting Money on a
Patent)” Info Sites: www.willitsell.com www.inventorhome.com,
www.idearights.com www.taletyano.com www.booksforinventors.com


#7

Hello,

The pictures you saw online that were used without permission were
risky. Whenever you use someone else’s pictures, art, etc without
permission you are taking the risk of being sued. With copyrighted
material, it falls upon the owner of the copyright to defend their
property in court. They assume all costs involved with prosecuting
for copyright infringement. Now it is possible that many artists
cannot afford to take on the expense of hiring an attorney etc. They
could do it, and then get the court costs reimbursed to them from
you if they win the suit, but that is a risk they assume. If you are
dealing with a big studio, or even a moderately sized venture, you
can BET they can afford to prosecute you for infringement and I can
pretty much assure you they WILL. Big studios have stables of
lawyers just waiting to be sicked like guard dogs on anyone who dares
to trespass on their domain. They probably would send you a “cease
and desist” letter first, giving you time to pull the pictures
off-line, but I’m not sure they even have to do that. It simply isn’t
worth the risk in this case. Since you had some involvement with the
movie, however small, you already have a leg up. Find out who you
need to contact to get the legal permission you need. I personally
think you have a perfect right to use pictures of your design on your
website, or to promote your business, but unfortunately, I do not
think you have a LEGAL right. I could be wrong about some or all of
this. I only had one business law class! If you really want to know
what your rights are and what risks you are assuming, contact a
business lawyer to find out. My two cents is free, their’s might cost
you something.

Augest Derenthal
Cry Baby Designs


#8

I am not sure but I think that your husband is correct. Remember the
penalty blurb at the beginning of movies? However, I would think that
their might be a chance that you can get permission from the studio.
Who did you deal with when they took the piece to put in the movie?
Talk to them. good luck.

Dennis


#9

The actors all have agents. Do a search on the actor and how to get
in touch with the agent. Send your request to them by snail mail. Try
your best to get permission. You can also send a request by snail
mail to the studio who produced the photo. If you don’t hear from
anyone, I would go ahead and post the image. Sometimes it is easier
to apologize than get permission, but the ethical thing would be to
try as best as you can. That way you have a paper trail.

I’ll probably get flack for saying this.

Congratulations on the ring in the movie! What movie was it?

-k
Karen Christians
M E T A L W E R X
50 Guinan St.
Waltham, MA 02451
Ph. 781/891-3854 Fax 3857
http://www.metalwerx.com/
Jewelry/Metalarts School & Cooperative Studio


#10

I’m sure there will be other posts to this from people who know more
law than I, but it’s really very simple, in essence. As the maker of
the ring, you own the copyright on it (you no longer need to register
a copyright, only show that you had it first). However, the makers of
the movie hold the copyright on the movie, which includes all the
images of everything IN the movie. The legal answer to your question
is, “No, you cannot use the image without permission.” The answer to
your other question, “Should I do it anyway?”. IF you do, and IF the
studio becomes aware of it, and IF they decide to prosecute, etc…
Most likely it would begin with a “cease and desist letter”, but it
could conceivably cost you into 5 figures, if they were aggressive.
You are (legally) wrong, you see - you have no excuses, and it’s all
there in print. On the other hand, if you’re just a punky little
person (like me), and you’re going to put it on your punky little
website (like mine) and send it to your friends/mailing list, that’s
fairly harmless and obscure. Just be aware…

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#11

Your husband is right Amery. Because of where I live, (Los Angeles/
Malibu area), I sell to a lot of actors, musician, movie, television
and music people. Because of that, my work frequently ends up on film
and television. From past experience, I can assure you that you do
have to get permission, as any images from a film fall under
copywrite laws, even if it is your jewelry that is on the actor. If
the work is on film then get permission in writing from the
production company or the studio. Specify what you wish to use it
for. If it is on an actor outside of a film, unless that actor is a
pal, (and even then ask first), also get it in writing. Not doing
that can end up in nasty legal threats or a lawsuit. Just ask the
people who designed the wedding rings for Brad Pitt and Jennifer
Aniston.

Another example: 20 years ago, my now ex-husband was one of the top
car stereo designers and installers in the country. One of his jobs
was to install a $15,000 stereo system in a mercedes for a certain
aging balding actor, who’s 40 something ex-wife not long ago married
a very cute young pup of 20 something. That actor became really
palsy- walsy with my ex. At the shop every few days, had pictures
taken with my ex, etc. The job was amazing, and some elements of it
were really cool.The actor was beside himself with thanks and
accolades. Later, one of the trade magazines did a write up on the
job. No pictures of the actor, but mentioning his name once.
Threatening letters to my ex began immediately, lawsuits were filed
against the trade mag etc…It wasn’t pretty, and it was settled
out of court, but for a sum…and this wasn’t even a studio.

Don’t do it. Your jewelry is now owned by the studio, or the actor as
is any image of it made by that studio. You might also have some
difficulty obtaining permission to use the images if you are able to
obtain them in the first place. In many cases studios see such use
as unwanted advertising for goods and therefore an unwanted and
unpaid for endorsement of your work by the studio or actor.

I never use the images, even though I do have permission from several
of the actors or musicians. Too sticky, also…perhaps a little
tacky as even the smallest dry cleaner, auto repair shop or deli
around here has signed pics of actors up on their walls.

Just my two cents.

Cheers,

Lisa, (Chickens have been jumping the 6’ fence into the goat pen
every day to get away from the rooster and check out the goat feed.
Goats then chase them around nipping their feathers until I throw
them back over the fence. Pretty funny.) Topanga, CA USA


#12
I suggest you try to get permission, or at the very least research
more about allowable (legal) usages. 

If I may butt in here-- for future reference, it probably makes
sense to negotiate permission up front, when arrangements are made
to use the piece (if possible).

noel


#13

Have to add to Lisa, having also done studio work. If the studio
bought the piece you have no chance of getting permission. The only
chance is at the beginning, if they want to borrow the piece, you
can negotiate for publicity. The bigger the production, the less you
can hope to get. If the piece is really important to you, or a large
production piece already, you might want to hire a lawyer in the
media business.

Good Luck, Dan


#14

Thanks everyone for your input.

I did try and get permission or at least a contact when they
purchased the rings. The stylist at the time said that her job ended
there and she had nothing to do with permissions. She did give me a
contact, but by the time the movie was made that position had
changed.

I actually have a friend that works for the production company and
she is trying to find me the right person. She’s been trying for over
a week now and nobody wants to take that responsibility. Apparently,
there isn’t one certain person in charge of this. And, my friend
even works in the licensing department, so she’s kinda in the right
vein with the studio. She is surprised how much of a pain this is
becoming, and why she can’t find the right person or even someone to
say: “yes, contact so and so, that’s who you need to talk to.” She’s
getting a lot of “hmmm… not sure, but you could try this person”.

At this point, I’m not sure what I’m gonna do. Maybe risk and cease
and desist. Or maybe just send out emails to my current customers
letting them know the news. Kinda keep it on the down low.

The funny thing, I don’t even like the ring! I pulled it from my
line years ago, found a few extras at home and then put them in the
50% off case in the retail jewelry store I was managing at the time.
That’s where they were found!

I guess I was hip way before my time! :wink:

Thanks guys!
-Amery
Amery Carriere Designs
Romantic Jewelry with an Edge
www.amerycarriere.com


#15

The Studio did not hire you to design for them. They came in and
bought your product. You own the design.


#16

Amery,

In the August 2006 Crafts report there is an article entitled
"Hollywood Calling". Metalsmith Sarah Graham is included in the write
up. After a visit to her site I found she has a Press page with celeb
names and photos. You may want to contact her and ask how she handles
this situation. Check out sarahgraham.com.

Congratulations and best of luck!
Pam Farren
Newburyport, MA


#17

I would have no concern about the use of a still picture from
’their’ movie. Nor, would I be reluctant to make a reference to the
name of the movie. I would not bother to ask for permission to use
such a reference in your own advertising. Particularly on the limited
scope which you plan. Given the nature of the internet, I would even
use a very brief ‘clip’ from the movie as a loop on your site, if
that helped show your product. After all, they did not ask for
permission to use ‘your’ work in ‘their’ movie.

What right did they have to use your work of art in a movie? Do you
think you would have the power to cause them to 'cease and desist’
from its publication?

You probably could even include a link to the Internet Movie Data
Base imdb.com page for the movie in order to make it clear that you
are not claiming their movie as part of your work. I might even go so
far as an attempt to have a note added to the movie’s page mentioning
the fact that your work was used in the movie. IMDB may or may not
use the reference you post; but that is their business, not the owner
of the copyright for the movie. Register on the site and attempt to
post a statement in the trivia section of the page stating something
like, “the fire used to burn the witches in the opening sequence was
started with a Zippo lighter zippo.com

An interesting aspect of copyright law is the fact that 'ownership’
of the item does not give the buyer of the item rights relating to
further publication. An easy example is a book. Clearly, the
purchaser of a book has a right to sell it. Nonetheless, the
purchaser does not have the right to reprint it and sell copies in
the same manner that the author has done.

Other examples get more complicated. If you buy an original painting
from an artist, do you feel that you would have the right to make
’prints’ and sell them? Suppose your bought a ‘print.’ Should you
have the right to make other prints? OK, if you bought the print,
should you be able to use it in your movie?

Go for it. The worst that may happen is that they might write to you
in an attempt to intimidate you into dropping the reference from your
site. I doubt they will do that, but you can decide what to do in the
unlikely event that occurs.

Furthermore, asking for permission is simply too much trouble.

Komowkwa


#18
I would not bother to ask for permission to use such a reference in
your own advertising. Particularly on the limited scope which you
plan. Given the nature of the internet, I would even use a very
brief 'clip' from the movie as a loop on your site, if that helped
show your product. After all, they did not ask for permission to
use 'your' work in 'their' movie. 

What a very interesting and confident position. It made me realize
that in making refrerence to the movie, you’re not intending to cause
harm in any way. That’s important to remember. It’s possible that
they may even welcome the further marketing exposure. How could they
slam you for promoting them at their side?


#19
I would not bother to ask for permission to use such a
reference in your own advertising. Particularly on the limited
scope which you plan. Given the nature of the internet, I would
even use .a very brief 'clip' from the movie as a loop on your
site, if that helped show your product. After all, they did not ask
for permission to use 'your' work in 'their' movie. What a very
interesting and confident position. It made me realize that in
making refrerence to the movie, you're not intending to cause harm
in any way. That's important to remember. It's possible that they
may even welcome the further marketing exposure. How could they
slam you for promoting them at their side? 

Point A: When you sold the ring, it became their property. The design
is yours, as far as reproduction, but the actual ring is their
property. You do not buy a movie. Nobody buys a movie, ever. You are
buying the privilege of watching it, or, in other words, you are
paying a one-time unlimited rental fee. This is also the case with
computer software. If you actually read the EULA on either one, you
will find that it is so. Just pause a DVD on the FBI warning and
actually read it.

Point B: Whether one intends to do harm is of no meaning. If you use
some stills of your ring, perhaps you might not have any trouble -
the less identifiable the movie is, the better. If you use a movie
clip in an ad without permission they can, and probably will, come
down on you with a sledghammer. Lao Tse: Never underestimate your
opponent.

http://www.donivanandmaggiora.com


#20
When you sold the ring, it became their property. The design is
yours, as far as reproduction, but the actual ring is their
property. 

Thank you John…

You have expressed the point exactly. As no one appears to be
listening to me on this, (although I do have direct and repeated
experience with the particular subject), perhaps they will listen to
you. If not, I am certain they will have loads of time consumed and
litigation to answer in which to repent.

Best,

Lisa, (20 year old son taking care of the house while I was gone to
SF at a show = 2 days of cleaning…sigh…) Topanga, CA USA