Film poster in amateur theatre promo

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Film poster in amateur theatre promo

Post by alm498 » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:53 pm


Hopefully a fairly simple one, I think it'd be covered by fair use but want to double check.

Creating a promo clip for an amateur theatre company promoting its forthcoming show. It's a not for profit theatre company, registered charity and not seeking financial gain.

The show was originally a film in 1961. Can we use the film poster briefly - as in 10 seconds max - in the promo?

Also, what would be the guidance on stills from the original film?

Thanks very much in advance!

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Re: Film poster in amateur theatre promo

Post by AndyJ » Thu Mar 08, 2018 10:12 pm

Hi alm,

While you may be right that the fair dealing exceptions in UK copyright law will assist you here, much will depend on what else is going on in the promo clip. So if the purpose of including the 10 second shot of the film poster is to help chart the background to the play, then that could constitute review of the play, and so you can invoke section 30(1) of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act. However if including the film poster is just a way of drawing in the public because of nostalgia for the film, I don't think you could claim section 30(1) because there doesn't appear to be one of the specified subjects for fair dealing: it would be straight forward advertising. To take an example of what I mean, let's say the voice over went something like " First there was Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, then came the Broadway musical, which led to the Hollywood film; now we present the stage version of West Side Story ..." then clearly a shot of the cover of the folio of Romeo and Juliet, followed by a poster for the Broadway show and the film poster, would fit within the purpose and spirit of the section 30(1) (for the purpose of criticism or review of the stage play).

Much the same applies to the use of stills from the film. Make sure that the length of time any still is on screen is the absolute minimum for the purpose you want it.
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

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