I recently received an e-mail asking about the use of logos in both narrative film and documentaries. Not being a lawyer or a well-versed student of copyright law, I had no clue. So, the Sherlock hat came out of the closet, and I began to do some research. Here's what I discovered: From the Saper Law Firm blog: "Trademarks are words or symbols that identify the goods or services of a business in commerce...As a film maker, you have broad free speech rights and will be given some flexibility in displaying trademarks in your movie. However, watch out for scenes that may disparage another company's trademark or in any way imply that the production is affiliated that other company. It is best to ask your attorney." From a Center for Social Media document: "...Fair use should protect documentary filmmakers from being forced to falsify reality. Where a sound or image has been captured incidentally and without prevision, as part of an unstaged scene, it should be permissible to use it, to a reasonable extent, as part of the final version of the film..." And finally, in comic book form comes "Bound by Law", a publication of Duke University: "...to infringe a trademark, you would generally have to use it in a way that confuses viewers..."
Hopefully this whole post is not an infringement of copyright! I'm claiming fair use...If anyone has more information about this subject, send it my way. It's something we producers MUST be aware of before embarking on a project.
Talking to a fellow media professional recently, and they commented that the type of art they prefer to do now is simply for artistic expression rather than for communication. And that got me thinking about what the role of art in our (often) very utilitarian profession is and should be. I guess I default towards art only being a worthwhile investment when it clearly communicates. And yet I'm beginning to feel that there may be value to self-expression that doesn't have as its primary goal communication. Exploring and discoveirng - that's how our craft is honed, and how our creative ideas get fuel to grow. Sculpters learn through practice. Painters wield their brush to bring forth many a picture that no one sees. Writers scribble ideas, musings and thoughts in their personal journals. Can't video artists create just for the sake of learning and personal growth? I'm not saying you won't communicate - art naturally springs from your worldview and philosophy. You might have a very clear message come through your work. I just wonder if maybe sometimes we need to create simply to create, grow and learn. So in that vein, here's a title sequence
from the OFFF 2007 Title opening - yeah, it had a purpose and was created for commercial reasons, but it's a fun and inspiring look at artistic styles and trends. So watch, be inspired, and create!