Legality of album art - Gearspace.com
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Legality of album art
Old 3rd March 2014
Gear Addict
blackmajik2021's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Legality of album art

Not really sure what forum this belongs in but...

does anyone know anything about the legality of using consumer goods in album artwork.

EX: a photograph consisting of a large pile of items including: a superman comic, coke can, beatles record, super mario game cartridge, catcher in the rye, star wars VHS tape, macbook, etc. The pile would have 50-100 items and no one item would be the focus.
Old 3rd March 2014
Lives for gear
timtoonz's Avatar
🎧 15 years
I'm no expert, but I know that when I do work in the TV industry, NO logos are allowed onscreen without legal clearance. My guess -- and it IS a guess -- is that the same would apply for album art, or any other creative work you plan to sell.

The only case that comes to mind with regards to Album covers is the Stones 'Some Girls' cover, where they got in trouble for using a likeness of Marilyn Monroe among the several dozen other women on the cover. So my guess is that if even the Stones can't get away with one copyrighted image amongst dozens, then you'd be in the same boat.

Again, that's my semi-educated guess. In the TV/Film business, the general rule is that if you don't own it, don't use it or get clearance first. Mind you, there may be an excellent chance that your work will fly under the radar of any lawyers that matter… But that wouldn't mean it's "okay", just that there's a decent chance you'd get away with it.
Old 4th March 2014
Lives for gear
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Like the man said, if you don't own it, you can't use it.

The exception is if the logo or other image is part of a public scene, for example, filming a TV news piece outside of a store or fast-food outlet. The image of that store is part of a public scene and therefore the incidental use of the image is possible as the owners of that image have actively put their image into the public eye.

However, you cannot use that image to put the owners of the image into a negative light or otherwise denigrate them. You cannot stand outside of a MacDonald's and point at the store and say "These are evil people!" without risking litigation. You also cannot use that public image to bring them into a negative light by association, for example, an image of said store on the cover of a record of Satanist heavy-metal songs.
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