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   Use of Company's Toys in Baby's Developmental Vid
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   Author  Topic: Use of Company's Toys in Baby's Developmental Vid  (Read 649 times)
Ryan Neider
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Use of Company's Toys in Baby's Developmental Vid
« on: Apr 19th, 2005, 9:49am »
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Right now I am working on a baby's developmental video ala "Baby Einstein." Half of it will be computer animation but for the other half I would like to film real world objects. Some of the things I would like to use are kinetic toys, lava lamps, and maybe even other types of toys like spinning tops or yo-yos. If I use other peoples toys in this video will I get sued?  
 
I have no idea how Baby Einstein worked it out. On their first video she had like ten different company's toys on their video. During the end credits she did give them credit but I just can't imagine that all ten compan'y gave her permission to use their toys. I have heard of no lawsuits against them and trust me they have money to go after. They even had a Coca-Cola Polar Bear toy that blew bubbles but they had whited out the Coke logo on it. I don't know if that was their way around being able to use it legaly. So that is my question, to use toys in my video can I use them if there are no logos showing or do I need to get written permission from a company even if a comapany's logo is not visible on the toy?  
 
I would really appreciate any good insight on this and recommendations to other websites or publications that discuss matters like this.
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JSonnabend
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Re: Use of Company's Toys in Baby's Developmental
« Reply #1 on: Apr 19th, 2005, 12:05pm »
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Ryan -
 
You raise a question that on its face appears simple but is actually anything but.
 
First, regarding visually recording kinetic toys a la Baby Einstein, you may run into copyright infringement issues, depending in large part on how the toy is shown (e.g., alone or in the context of a larger, more complex scene).  My guess is that the Baby Einstein creator (now owned by Disney, I believe), sought and received permission from the manufacturers provided she gave credit.  The manufacturers received some free advertising that way.
 
Regarding the logos, again, the answer depends in part on the nature of the use, but if the logo is featured prominently, there may be tm infringement issues in the nature of improper implied endorsements or the like.
 
My advice, as it is so often, is that if you're serious, you spend the money up front to fully explore with a qualified attorney your business risks and approaches, rather than move forward without doing so only to be slapped later with lawsuits from several pissed-off corporations with deep pockets.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
Brooklyn, USA
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John Baumchen
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Re: Use of Company's Toys in Baby's Developmental
« Reply #2 on: May 30th, 2005, 5:23pm »
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As a video producer, I would approach the toy manufacturers and ask them if they would like to be a sponsor of the video in return for their products being displayed.
 
Of course once they say yes, they might want some say in the script and such. JSonnabend hit it with the publicity thing. As long as you're not showing babies being hurt with the toys, then I don't see why they would object. Unless it's a safety video showing how babies are being hurt by their toys. Then it's a documentary.
 
My suggestion would be to approach them and ask them. If they say no, you can always blur the logo in post.
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JSonnabend
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Re: Use of Company's Toys in Baby's Developmental
« Reply #3 on: May 31st, 2005, 7:37am »
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on May 30th, 2005, 5:23pm, John Baumchen wrote:
If they say no, you can always blur the logo in post.

That approach addresses only the tm issue, not any copyright issue.
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
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718-832-8810
JSonnabend@SonnabendLaw.com
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