Do I really have to blur out every coke can?
August 20, 2009 9:02 AM   Subscribe

What are the rules regarding logos captured incidentally in documentary?

I'm working on a documentary webseries with a corporate sponsor, and was curious what the rules are regarding other corporate logos. Obviously we are clear to use our sponsor's logo wherever it appears, and we're going to blur out competitors' logos (not so much on our sponsors request, more because these are alcohol products shown being used by underage people and we don't want any potential issues).

So that's clear, but what about other logos, like clothing brands, coke cans, etc? Do we have to blur all logos wherever they appear?

This is in Canada, if relevant. Thanks for any help you can provide!
posted by yellowbinder to Media & Arts (3 answers total)
IANAL, but I believe this would be covered under incidental inclusion:
Relevant part of copyright act (search for "incidental" on the page).
posted by djgh at 9:12 AM on August 20, 2009

The Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use doesn't seem to mention logos explicitly, but item three is "Capturing copyrighted media content in the process of filming something else" which is what you're asking about. These are not legal guidelines, but some broadly-agreed industry statements of what is commonly considered acceptable. Most of the blurring you see on TV is indeed about suppressing "free advertising".
posted by xueexueg at 10:04 AM on August 20, 2009


I love watching indie documentaries but can't stand it when logos are blurred. It distracts me from what the director is trying to show because all I can think about is wondering what the logo that got blurred was.
posted by achmorrison at 6:46 PM on August 20, 2009

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