RE: Re: Copyright in the Hollywood Sign

From: Robert Panzer <rpanzer[_at_]vagarights.com>
Date: Fri, 17 Jun 2005 17:05:16 -0400


I know of Global Icons. They represent some living and dead celebrities, brands, Hollywood Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills, etc. I suspect that if the letter had come directly from them the claim would have been for trademark violation. Whether your use is a violation of the mark is dependent on how it is used. I found the place on your site where you have it. You use it as an identifying banner for various quizzes that have movie themes, rather then as something about Hollywood or the Hollywood sign per se. I now believe they could make a valid case under U.S. trademark law. You are playing off the fame of the mark to enhance your services. As to UK law?

Sincerely,

Robert Panzer

VAGA (Visual Artists and Galleries Association) 350 Fifth Avenue
Suite 2820
New York, NY 10118
tel: 212 736 6666
fax: 212 736 6767
rpanzer[_at_]vagarights.com
  -----Original Message-----
  From: CNI-COPYRIGHT -- Copyright & Intellectual Property
[mailto:CNI-COPYRIGHT[_at_]cni.org]On Behalf Of R.G.McCracken
  Sent: Thursday, June 16, 2005 4:00 PM
  To: CNI-COPYRIGHT -- Copyright & Intellectual Property   Subject: [CNI-(C)] Re: Coipyright in the Hollywood Sign

  Many thanks to all who have replied – this has been very useful.

  Our first thought when we were contacted was that this might be a scam – and we’re checking it out. I still strongly suspect a scam. Either way we won’t be paying – and advice from the list has provided strong support.

  Contact was made by a UK company claiming to act as agents for “Global Icons LLC” who they claim were appointed by Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to act as global licensing agents. The claim was for $5k fees in respect of previous unauthorised use and a further annual licensing fee of $5k for continuing use. This has now been reduced to 3k (approx 50% of original claim) to cover both past and continuing use.

  Here is copy of their email in response to our protest:

  “Thank your for taking my call yesterday. Following our discussion with regard to the unauthorised use of the Hollywood sign on the hill mark on the OU Hollywood/Science web site I have spoken to my principals in LA and they are willing to offer a substantial discount to the OU on the appropriate license fee.

  The normal fee they charge would have been $5,000 to correct the unauthorised use and then an annual fee of $5,000 so it would have been $10,000 on signature.

  Naturally for a 'not for profit' organisation such as the OU this is not acceptable and I agree with that position. Nevertheless there has been a breach of copyright and this must attract a fee in order to clear the rights for the unauthorised use and into the future.

  I would therefore propose a fee of 3,000 for clearance of the breach of copyright and in addition a further 12 month renewal of a license to use the mark through to 30th June 2006 with an option to renew.

  If you are agreeable then I will draft a suitable document which we use in these circumstances.

  I am requested to politely remind the OU that at this time the Organisation is breaching the copyright of our ultimate Principal the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. As such we are requested to ensure that this matter is dealt with promptly to avoid further action by our Principal which I am sure you will understand”

  Richard McCracken

  Head of Intellectual Property

  The Open University


--

  From: CNI-COPYRIGHT -- Copyright & Intellectual Property

[mailto:CNI-COPYRIGHT[_at_]cni.org] On Behalf Of Robert Panzer
Sent: 15 June 2005 23:06 To: CNI-COPYRIGHT -- Copyright & Intellectual Property Subject: [CNI-(C)] Re: Coipyright in the Hollywood Sign It seems doubtful that they could make a copyright claim on the sign since it is a utilitarian object meant to identify a place. Also, fonts are not really protected by copyright in the U.S. Furthermore, because your use is educational, you could potentially claim fair use, which is similar to fair dealing in UK. The city of Hollywood could potentially make a trademark claim, which is becoming increasingly popular for U.S. cities, but your use would be an identifying use rather than one that would trigger trademark in my opinion. I'm curious as to the circumstances under which you received the request from Hollywood. Did you contact them seeking authorization? It would also be interesting if you could post their request to pay. The wording might be telling. Sincerely, Robert Panzer VAGA (Visual Artists and Galleries Association) 350 Fifth Avenue Suite 2820 New York, NY 10118 tel: 212 736 6666 fax: 212 736 6767 rpanzer[_at_]vagarights.com -----Original Message----- From: CNI-COPYRIGHT -- Copyright & Intellectual Property
[mailto:CNI-COPYRIGHT[_at_]cni.org]On Behalf Of R.G.McCracken
Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2005 11:06 AM To: CNI-COPYRIGHT -- Copyright & Intellectual Property Subject: [CNI-(C)] Coipyright in the Hollywood Sign I’m hoping that US colleagues on the list may be able to help with advice on a recent request to pay licensing fees for use of a photograph of the Hollywood sign. My university is a distance teaching university in the UK and we host an open web site on which we place educational and general interest content for access by members of the public. One of the activities featured on the site contains a photograph of the Hollywood sign, taken by one of our own staff. We’ve received a request to pay licensing fees for use of the photograph from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerc, claiming that the sign itself is protected by copyright. Is this the case, and does US legislation permit licensing of this kind? Under UK copyright law works of art displayed openly in public places may be photographed freely and a similar photograph in the UK could be used without licence. Many thanks Richard McCracken Head of Intellectual Property The Open University
Received on Sat Jun 18 2005 - 01:05:16 GMT

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