Poster Promotion

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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korz
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Poster Promotion

Post by korz » Wed May 02, 2018 11:45 am

Hello wondering if anyone can help me.

I've created a poster for my wife who's going to use it to promote a "May the 4th be with you" star wars themed night at the pub she works at.

I've not sold this nor trying to sell it, it's all a free transaction just to promote there star wars themed night.

I have created my own vector drawings of a storm trooper and the death star based off angles from movie stills. All the drawings are created soly from me. I have used someone elses star wars font for the text that i've credited at the bottom of the poster.

To reiterate this poster is not being sold and only used as a promotional piece on there social media for the themed night.

Would this infringe on any copyright laws? if so would crediting lucasfilms avoid any copyright infringement?

Thanks

korz
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Re: Poster Promotion

Post by korz » Wed May 02, 2018 12:13 pm

Also forgot to mention i live in the UK.

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AndyJ
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Re: Poster Promotion

Post by AndyJ » Wed May 02, 2018 12:53 pm

Hi korz,

I don't think there are any sustantive intellectual property right issues here. While Lucasfilm/Disney are fairly pro-active in protecting the Star Wars brand, they would face an uphill battle in trying to establish copyright infringement in your re-drawing of a stormtroper or the death star. This is because in the UK very little protection is given to the physical aspects which serve to represent a 'characters' (if the death star can be described as a character) as such things are usually too insubstantial to count as copyright works on their own. Just be careful not to slavishly copy any source material such as stills from the films, as this could amount to infringement, not of the George Lucas created character, but the artistic creativity of the stills photographer. The title of the poster and use of the font do not infringe, and in any case would probably be permissible under the parody exception (see below). And I don't think that there are any trade mark issues here either. Although the poster is to promote a commercial event, and therefore meets the criterion of being in the course of trade, there is no UK or EU trade mark registration for the artistic representation of either a stormtrooper or the death star, so it cannot be argued that your drawings would confuse the public about whether the pub night is an event authorised by Lucasfilm. The only area of law about which I would be less sanguine is that of passing-off. In order to succeed, a passing off claim needs to establish that there is goodwill in their brand (the Star Wars franchise), that your poster misrepresents the pub night as being somehow connected to the brand, and that this causes damage to the claimant's goodwill. In my view such a claim would fail on the second ground, ie misrepresentation which would confuse the public. Yours is clearly a parody and no reasonable person is going to confused by it.

And no, I would suggest you do not credit Lucasfilm, as that is just more likely to draw unwanted attention to the venture. As mentioned, it is possible that your poster could well be protected by the exception to copyright as a parody, due to the play on words, but even if you were to rely on this alone (and I don't think you need to), then that exception does not require that a credit is provided to the original work being parodied.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

korz
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Re: Poster Promotion

Post by korz » Wed May 02, 2018 1:09 pm

Hello AndyJ

Really appreciate the quick in depth response, you've been a huge help Thanks

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