CAN I DISCUSS ANOTHER MOVIE IN MY MOVIE?

Someone recently asked me what I thought was a fairly ignorant question. They wanted to know if it was okay to have characters in their movie discussing a scene from Lord of the Rings. I guess as a copyright lawyer, the answer to this is obvious. But I thought that the answer would be obvious to anyone, even if they didn’t go to law school. The fact that people might think that just discussing a movie or TV show in your film could get you sued shows how much the studios have intimidated people and led to this complete fear among filmmakers to even mention another movie for fear of a lawsuit.

So I’m here to tell you that such fears are completely groundless. As shown in the above clip from Kevin Smith’s “Clerks,” it is perfectly acceptable to characters in a movie discuss elements of another movie (in this case “The Empire Strikes Back”).

That doesn’t mean that you can take massive amounts of dialogue from another movie and put it in your film, but you can certainly say “Go ahead. Make my day” or “May the Force be With You” without fear of the copyright police coming after you.

Advertisements

3 Comments

January 31, 2013 · 2:07 pm

3 responses to “CAN I DISCUSS ANOTHER MOVIE IN MY MOVIE?

  1. Eleazar Gray

    How would you go about showing a clip from a movie on the TV withing a movie?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s