Copyright Questions

Hi

 

I am hoping to publish a non fiction scientific book about cinema through this website.  I have two questions about copyright.

 

A) i have made reference to well known films, directors and actors, all in a positive light.  Will there be any issue with regards copyright using their names?

 

B) I would like to use a film still (frozen image) as the cover for the book (The Battleship Potemkin.   Released 1925) will there be any issue with using an image as the cover?

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • I am not a lawyer and this is not advice.

     

    Easy answer first: 2.) Yes, there is a problem. 1925 is after 1923. In general, works published after 1923 are probably under copyright in the US. You will need to seek permissions.

     

    As for question #1... that depends. On the one hand, if you say that someone is listening to the SuperCoolKats album "Make You Think Like Lemonade" you're probably okay. If you cite lyrics, even a few words, you're definitely not okay, and need permissions.

     

    If you say that someone just came from the movie "Space Transgressors III; Dawn of Aggression" you're probably okay. If you recreate an ironic version of the scene where Captain Muffin tells the alien to baffle the transducers, you're definitely not okay.

     

    If you say that someone just came from the movie "Space Transgressors III; Dawn of Aggression," and hated it because of the stupid dialog and really dopey plot, you're almost certainly safe, because that's criticism, a recognized fair usage. But that's not 100% either.

     

    The only safe way to know if you need permissions is to contact the copyright holder and ask for permissions.

  • Hi

     

    So if i take a still from a film made earlier than 1923 i would be ok to use it as a cover?

     

     

     

    Also in response to your second part, an exerpt from the book may read as follows:

     

    ----Martin Scorsese in Goodfellas used this kind of cinematography----     

     

    I would be using his name and film, but in positive way.  I wouldnt be pointing out the bad things in any film.  Any film or person i talk about is in a good manner etc.  So would that be viable to be used?

     

    many thanks for replying

     


  • JackRErnest wrote:

    Hi

     

    So if i take a still from a film made earlier than 1923 i would be ok to use it as a cover?

     

     

     

    Also in response to your second part, an exerpt from the book may read as follows:

     

    ----Martin Scorsese in Goodfellas used this kind of cinematography----     

     

    I would be using his name and film, but in positive way.  I wouldnt be pointing out the bad things in any film.  Any film or person i talk about is in a good manner etc.  So would that be viable to be used?

     

    many thanks for replying

     


    Remember that this is my opinion, I'm not a lawyer, and this is not advice. We're just two guys talking.

     

    I believe that, in the US (laws in the UK and Canada, etc., might vary) an image from before 1923 is most likely -- say 90% -- in the Public Domain. If you reasonably believe that it's in the public domain because it's pre-1923, and you're wrong, you can claim "innocent Infringement" which means that you'll stop using it and try to fix it.

     

    But your best bet is to ask, "Is this image in the public domain?"

     

    The cited reference to Scorsese sounds like a fair usage -- you are stating a publicly-known fact, and you're doing it in the context of what might be called criticism, so you're probably safe on that kind of reference.

     

    Again, I'm not a lawyer.


  • Skoob_Ym wrote:

    JackRErnest wrote:

    Hi

     

    So if i take a still from a film made earlier than 1923 i would be ok to use it as a cover?

     

     

     

    Also in response to your second part, an exerpt from the book may read as follows:

     

    ----Martin Scorsese in Goodfellas used this kind of cinematography----     

     

    I would be using his name and film, but in positive way.  I wouldnt be pointing out the bad things in any film.  Any film or person i talk about is in a good manner etc.  So would that be viable to be used?

     

    many thanks for replying

     


    Remember that this is my opinion, I'm not a lawyer, and this is not advice. We're just two guys talking.

     

    I believe that, in the US (laws in the UK and Canada, etc., might vary) an image from before 1923 is most likely -- say 90% -- in the Public Domain. If you reasonably believe that it's in the public domain because it's pre-1923, and you're wrong, you can claim "innocent Infringement" which means that you'll stop using it and try to fix it.

     

    But your best bet is to ask, "Is this image in the public domain?"

     

    The cited reference to Scorsese sounds like a fair usage -- you are stating a publicly-known fact, and you're doing it in the context of what might be called criticism, so you're probably safe on that kind of reference.

     

    Again, I'm not a lawyer.


    Hi

     

    I checked the film The Battleship Potemkin and according to archive.org it is on the public domaina (see link)

     

    https://archive.org/details/PhantasmagoriaTheater-BattleshipPotemkin1925396

     

    Would it be acceptable now to use a still (image) from it as the cover?

     

     

    With regards the other issue, like you say i think it is fair usage and also i will be speaking positively on the films and directors.

     

    many thanks for replying


  • JackRErnest wrote:

    Hi

     

    I am hoping to publish a non fiction scientific book about cinema through this website.  I have two questions about copyright.

     

    A) i have made reference to well known films, directors and actors, all in a positive light.  Will there be any issue with regards copyright using their names?

     

    You can discuss anyone or anything you like---even in negative terms---so long as what you write is not libelous. Think of it this way: Do the book and film reviewers writing for the New Yorker or the New York Times have to get permission from authors and directors before discussing their books and films? Do they have to get permission before criticizing a work or saying there is something wrong with it? The answer, of course, is no. In fact, legitimate criticism is protected.

    (FYI: Names and titles are not subject to copyright in any case)

     

    B) I would like to use a film still (frozen image) as the cover for the book (The Battleship Potemkin.   Released 1925) will there be any issue with using an image as the cover?

     

    In the US, anything published between 1922 and 1977 without a copyright notice is in the public domain. Anything published between 1923 and 1963 that was published with a notice but the copyright was not renewed is in the public domain. Anything published between 1923 and 1963 in which the copyright was renewed is not in the public domain.

     

    In any case, Battleship Potemkin is in the public domain in Russia according to article 6 of Law No. 231-FZ of the Russian Federation of December 18, 2006; the Implementation Act for Book IV of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

     

     

     

     


     


  • JackRErnest wrote:

     

    A) i have made reference to well known films, directors and actors, all in a positive light.  Will there be any issue with regards copyright using their names? 


    No. This is the definition of Fair Use. It is always fair use to discuss things in a critical light.

  • If in doubt then ask those concerned. If still in doubt, ask a copyright infringement lawyer (at about $150 an hour).

     

    This is off IMDb's site >>

     

     

    Copyright

    All content included on this site in or made available through any IMDb Service, such as text, graphics, logos, button icons, images, audio clips, video clips, digital downloads, data compilations, and software, is the property of IMDb or its content suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws. The compilation of all content included in or made available through any IMDb Service is the exclusive property of IMDb and protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. All software used in any IMDb Service is the property of IMDb or its software suppliers and protected by United States and international copyright laws.

     

    I cannot find anywhere where IMDb say how they got permission or even if they have. Perhaps the above is the only disclaimer needed?

     

    They do also have this though >>

     

    Copyright Complaints

    IMDb respects the intellectual property of others. If you believe that your work has been copied in a way that constitutes copyright infringement, please follow our Notice and Procedure for Making Claims of Copyright Infringement.

  • Fair use applies specifically to quoting brief passages from a work in a review or scholarly publication. Names and titles cannot be copyrighted, so unless you are quoting dialog or other material that might be protected, copyright isn't really an issue here.

    You do not need to get anyone's permission to mention their name or the title of a film in a review, critique or discussion. You would only need to get permission if you were to publish more than a few lines of dialog. However, as I point out below, there is no legal definition of what constitutes quoting too much. A line or two of dialog is certainly permissible, but it's a grey area where the line is drawn.

    I might add that publishing a disclaimer does not exempt one from copyright violation. Even the U.S. Copyright Office does not define what constitutes a "brief" passage, though the implication is only a line or two. The USCO recommends getting permission whenever there is any doubt.
  • Hi

     

    many thanks to those who replied.    

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