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Image copyright question


griswald

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We have a pixel matrix to include in a Christmas display this year. I cannot seem to find anything that states I would, or would not, be allowed to display pictures of items such as Disney or Sesame Street characters on it. I'd also like to post short clips from different movies. Anyone know for sure?

Thank you!

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This is why the lawyers make all the money.ūüôā

I can't really help you with this particular issue (and I'M NOT A LAWYER), but I did a lot of research when the band I was in was recording some covers of big band tunes for a CD and when my neighborhood wanted to do outdoor movies. It gets really complicated really fast, and Disney is pretty aggressive about rights infringement.

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Most often if an image is "copyrighted" you have to get permission from the copyright holder. 

However, if you bought, let's say a graphics program, and it included art from Disney and other sources and the terms of agreement state you can use it for PERSONAL USE ONLY, but not on a Commercial building or setting, nor can you sell the work you did to create how you display it{but you can give it away!}.  

Personal use is, for example, a matrix display on your home, therefore you would be allowed to use it, if it's what is called in the "Public Domain", then you can use it in ANY WAY you see fit, unless there are restrictions associated with it.   But taking a scene directly from a movie and re-displaying it, that one I'm almost sure will find the media lawyers on your doorstep.  Really depends on a lot of differing factors.

It can be a very tricky and slippery slope situation, and the best thing to do with this is, if you have doubt, then rule it out! {as in do not use it}.

Good Luck.

 

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So, let's start this out by stating I am not a lawyer. Having said that, from what I've seen the difference here is between personal and commercial use. If you were using Disney characters in a personal "fan" sort of way in your display, there is most likely no issue and the Walt Disney company is not going to pursue you with any cease and desist letter. But, if you were to follow this on with a business and use their characters to promote your business where you were profiting from their characters, yes you can expect this cease and desist letter to show up on your doorstep quite quickly.

You can see these even in the ABC light fight re-runs. ABC, who is owned by Disney, had a family on who had numerous Disney props, some store bought, some hand built in their display and they promoted that on their TV show. It was a personal fan homage to Disney, and there seemed to be no issue. The issue really falls into play when you try and profit from their characters, which are not your property. I would have no qualms about creating coro cutouts that I made of Disney characters, or showing a brief Disney clip from a Blu-ray I owned, in my display as long as then I didn't turn around and start trying to sell those coro cutouts or video clips for profit, which would probably immediately see a cease and desist letter in my mailbox, followed by lawyers on my doorstep if I didn't follow through.

Edited by MichRX7
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On 9/4/2019 at 1:15 PM, griswald said:

We have a pixel matrix to include in a Christmas display this year. I cannot seem to find anything that states I would, or would not, be allowed to display pictures of items such as Disney or Sesame Street characters on it. I'd also like to post short clips from different movies. Anyone know for sure?

Thank you!

I have been doing it on my P10 panel and trees for the last couple of years with no one saying anything.  My thoughts are if you are using it for personal use then no harm no foul BUT commercial use would be prohibited.

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11 hours ago, MichRX7 said:

So, let's start this out by stating I am not a lawyer. Having said that, from what I've seen the difference here is between personal and commercial use. If you were using Disney characters in a personal "fan" sort of way in your display, there is most likely no issue and the Walt Disney company is not going to pursue you with any cease and desist letter. But, if you were to follow this on with a business and use their characters to promote your business where you were profiting from their characters, yes you can expect this cease and desist letter to show up on your doorstep quite quickly.

You can see these even in the ABC light fight re-runs. ABC, who is owned by Disney, had a family on who had numerous Disney props, some store bought, some hand built in their display and they promoted that on their TV show. It was a personal fan homage to Disney, and there seemed to be no issue. The issue really falls into play when you try and profit from their characters, which are not your property. I would have no qualms about creating coro cutouts that I made of Disney characters, or showing a brief Disney clip from a Blu-ray I owned, in my display as long as then I didn't turn around and start trying to sell those coro cutouts or video clips for profit, which would probably immediately see a cease and desist letter in my mailbox, followed by lawyers on my doorstep if I didn't follow through.

The show actually LOVES when Disney is in the displays.  They have also been known to have the "contestant" remove things from their display for the show.   

That being said,  MichRX7 is spot on.   As long as you are not charging, or otherwise profiting from the use of the display,  and/or not bringing any negative attention on any kind of real scale, nobody is gonna bother you.  In a positive setting, while not breaching any of the forementioned frowned upon items,  it is viewed as free advertising.

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Thank you all for the responses. This isn't actually for personal use per se. I work for a local government and every year a light display is put on for the citizens. This year, we have a pixel matrix and would like to display various images, etc. We don't charge to view the display, so I know we meet that criteria, but I'd rather not put a lot of work into sequencing and then be told to shut it off by Disney lawyers. I did find where to go to request permission, so I submitted a request. However, a response can take 6-8 weeks, so even if I get permission, it might be too late for this year. 

Here's the link in case others are interested. http://disneypermissions.force.com/WelcomeIntakePage 

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On 9/4/2019 at 3:12 PM, tlogan said:

This is why the lawyers make all the money.ūüôā

I can't really help you with this particular issue (and I'M NOT A LAWYER), but I did a lot of research when the band I was in was recording some covers of big band tunes for a CD and when my neighborhood wanted to do outdoor movies. It gets really complicated really fast, and Disney is pretty aggressive about rights infringement.

Back when I played in an original band (80's - early 90's),  there was a huge original scene in New Jersey.  With a million and seven bands playing a million and seven clubs 7 nights of the week, there were a lot of bands that were starting out, and didn't have enough original material to fill a set, or bands that did, but still played a cover, or 2.   Went through a period where they were cracking down on the clubs that allowed bands to play covers.  Clubs had to pay, and a lot of the small clubs didn't make much money.  Their solution was to ban the bands from playing covers.  0 tolerance.  There would actually be moles in the clubs. The owners took it very seriously.  Was short lived.  Lasted less than a year, or so.  But they were not messing around. 

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4 minutes ago, griswald said:

Thank you all for the responses. This isn't actually for personal use per se. I work for a local government and every year a light display is put on for the citizens. This year, we have a pixel matrix and would like to display various images, etc. We don't charge to view the display, so I know we meet that criteria, but I'd rather not put a lot of work into sequencing and then be told to shut it off by Disney lawyers. I did find where to go to request permission, so I submitted a request. However, a response can take 6-8 weeks, so even if I get permission, it might be too late for this year. 

Here's the link in case others are interested. http://disneypermissions.force.com/WelcomeIntakePage 

Yeah, that is a different thing all together.  Very curious to see how this goes.  Please update us on how you make out.  Good luck.

Edited by Dcroc
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30 minutes ago, Dcroc said:

Back when I played in an original band (80's - early 90's),  there was a huge original scene in New Jersey.  With a million and seven bands playing a million and seven clubs 7 nights of the week, there were a lot of bands that were starting out, and didn't have enough original material to fill a set, or bands that did, but still played a cover, or 2.   Went through a period where they were cracking down on the clubs that allowed bands to play covers.  Clubs had to pay, and a lot of the small clubs didn't make much money.  Their solution was to ban the bands from playing covers.  0 tolerance.  There would actually be moles in the clubs. The owners took it very seriously.  Was short lived.  Lasted less than a year, or so.  But they were not messing around. 

I'm originally from South Jersey and I seem to remember around the 70's there being a LOT of interference from the musicians union for a while, too. Even cracking down on copies of music on stands. Although, this was when the casinos were first opening and they were trying to assert their power. When I did the paperwork for the rights for our first CD, it was all actual paperwork. WE were such small potatoes (on 1,000 cds) that I think the Harry Fox agency only put its newest, youngest lawyers on the case. We only received a bill for like, $14 and for only 4 of the songs. Never got billed for the rest. although most of them were from the 40s, so it probably wouldn't have been that much more. After the DRMA took full effect and I did the paperwork for the last CD I was in involved with, everything was done through the internet and the bill was, like, $2,700 for 1,000 CDs. The band was THIS CLOSE to being the wedding band in Wedding Crashers. The first thing we were told by the studio was "no vocals," and "NO Sinatra...too expensive." 

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43 minutes ago, griswald said:

Thank you all for the responses. This isn't actually for personal use per se. I work for a local government and every year a light display is put on for the citizens. This year, we have a pixel matrix and would like to display various images, etc. We don't charge to view the display, so I know we meet that criteria, but I'd rather not put a lot of work into sequencing and then be told to shut it off by Disney lawyers. I did find where to go to request permission, so I submitted a request. However, a response can take 6-8 weeks, so even if I get permission, it might be too late for this year. 

Here's the link in case others are interested. http://disneypermissions.force.com/WelcomeIntakePage 

Unless things have changed since I did my research for showing neighborhood movies, whether or not you charge admission has nothing to do with whether or not a performance (or showing, etc) is considered public. Private is defined as your circle of relatives and friends. Anything displayed to the general public is considered public and subject to rights fees. Our neighborhood is only 45 houses and we knew everyone that would attend so, if it ever happened that we got ratted out, I would have argued that we know everyone there and they are friends.  We didn't advertise movie nights to the general public, only to the neighborhood. Obviously, if you ARE charging, that changes everything. 

I'm interested to see what Disney says as well.

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  • 8 months later...

Sorry it took me so long to update this. I received an email from Disney thanking me for my interest in using their images. Long story short, they said no. 

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3 hours ago, griswald said:

Sorry it took me so long to update this. I received an email from Disney thanking me for my interest in using their images. Long story short, they said no. 

Was what you were asking for going to be on YOUR personal property or on a commercial public or even a commercial private property or another property you DO NOT own?   The criteria changes drastically depending on where you planned on setting this up.  On your own home front, Disney most {not all} of the time will allow use of their characters in that manner.  If they are commercially available products sold for such an event, usually no permission is needed, but for matrix displays and home-created display pieces that Disney did not create, sometimes there are issues with those.

However, you also stated you wanted to show "clips of movies", and as far as I am aware, no matter what on that one, permission is very rarely or just not given.  Static characters or displayed characters like on a Matrix are completely different than those taken directly from a movie scene and replayed to anyone, anywhere.   Disney will reject those requests all the time, and if someone turns you in, you'll get a visit from the Disney Lawyer team , sometimes directly in person. {according to my source that works for the Disney company}.

It all depends on how you asked Disney, and also how, and where you were going to be displaying their "intellectual property" {characters}.

So many factors, even a small one that you might feel is insignificant can get a rejection of a Disney Character/s usage in any display, even a personal use one.   Got to be very careful of your wording when asking, even an unintentional misstep in wording {yes, even a simple typo} may cause a rejection from your request.

 

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7 minutes ago, Orville said:

Was what you were asking for going to be on YOUR personal property or on a commercial public or even a commercial private property or another property you DO NOT own?  

Read the thread.  It was for a Government display.

 

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1 minute ago, k6ccc said:

Read the thread.  It was for a Government display.

Sorry, but the way it was stated, it was difficult to discern that for certain.   And if that's the case, Disney WILL ALWAYS REJECT those type requests.

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