Copyright Question

Hi, I’m Robert de Buys, this is my first post. If I use copyrighted work, in this case a movie poster and photoshop in faces of company executives , all by the clients request and at their direction am I on the hook for infringement? The end product is only for internal use within the client’s organization.

Thanks in advance

Yes, you are. Copyright is copyright. The chances of you getting caught are slim, but technically it is still illegal.

I’d be more worried about the company executives not liking the body their face gets attached onto…LOL.
This might fall under the realm of possible parody.
The snag might be if they post it online for their company blog or something.
Or if they try to get it printed anywhere other than the office laser printer…
It’s really sort of a gray area that ranks right up there with sig art and fanzines.
Technically as Kitch said, it is infringement. It doesn’t matter if you do something under a client’s direction. You, the client, and possibly the printer are all on the hook if something goes awry, with the client throwing you under the bus for being “the professional who shoulda known better.”
< not a copyright lawyer.

I’m no lawyer either, but I agree with PrintDriver that this sounds like a parody situation which could arguably be a defense against a copyright infringement claim.

From what you’ve mentioned, the parody poster doesn’t sound like it’s meant to make money and will only be used in-house as a joke of sorts, which could arguably be another point in favor of it being fair-use situation.

If a problem arose, though, you’d likely get dragged into it, but the chances of a problem are probably slim to none.

I have a couple of clauses I put into client contracts when they seem needed. The first is a warranty, of sorts, from the client stating that all materials provided to me by the client do not infringe on a third party’s intellectual property rights.

The other clause is an obligation for the client to defend and indemnify me against any third-party claims pertaining to misappropriation or intellectual property infringement.

I can’t remember the exact wording, but it came from an attorney friend who suggested this as a way to protect myself from foolish clients who supply me with resources, like photos, that they don’t have a legal right to use.

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Mr. B, Would you be willing to share the contract or the section that covers supplied materials so that I might use it as a boilerplate? I wouldn’t hesitate doing something like this pro bono for a non profit. The part that concerns me the most is being a contractor.

Speaking ethically and not legally:
I feel artistically and professionally comfortable doing a mashup with a recognizable movie poster. I don’t believe it steals from the art of the poster anymore than photoshopping someone on a magazine cover for a laugh. Where it gets a little uncomfortable for me is using the intellectual property of the movie In general to specifically promote an unrelated product without permission.

I guess I need a priest and a lawyer?

The wording in my contract is specific to my situation, but AIGA’s Standard Form of Agreement for Design Services has much the same thing written in broader and more comprehensive terms. It’s more than a little wordy, though. But I’m sure it’s a good source to use, as is the rest of their contract.

See sections 9 and 10 on pages 43, 44 and 45.

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You can find short and sweet indemnity clauses in just about every EULA used by a stock image site.
If people ever read the fine print on an image EULA, they’d never buy another one.

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