July 15, 2016 at 7:13PM


Question on Copyright

I plan on a making a movie about a certain religion. This religion publishes magazines that are free for the taking and downloadable from their website. As part of the movie, I want to show video of the magazine including the inside and cover. There is no copyright statement on the magazine, but there is on the website. Would recording video of this publication be a copyright infringement?


I presume it is not some investigative documentary, because in that case a brief view of the magazine would likely be considered fair use, but for a movie, a work of fiction even if based on facts, it would be different. Just try to get permission or otherwise make a mock magazine (but remember even style and typesetting (but not the fonts) could be copyright-able) which remains identifiably different from the original.

By the way the fact that there is no copyright statement on the magazine is meaningless, you do not have to explicitly state something is copyrighted, by default it is!

July 15, 2016 at 8:11PM, Edited July 15, 8:13PM

Cary Knoop

Your larger concern is not copyright, but trademark. The cover of the magazine almost certainly includes registered marks of the organization that would have to be cleared for use, lest they sue for potentially disparaging use.

July 16, 2016 at 4:52AM


Just reach out to the magazine.

In the film industry, it is not better to act and then ask for forgiveness, like in the rest of the corporate world. Tell us how it works out!

July 18, 2016 at 4:34PM


Always assume everything is copyrighted, because frankly, it is.

And as a commenter noted above, unless you're doing a documentary, you can't claim fair use. Even if you're doing a documentary claiming fair use is iffy.

Always assume if someone else created it, you need their permission to show it in your project.

July 19, 2016 at 7:58AM

Jack Marchetti

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