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- This topic has 3 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 11 years, 9 months ago by Anonymous.
December 18, 2009 at 5:58 PM #43164AnonymousInactive
Ive read so much about whats legal and whats not that youd think I would be an expert in this but for some reason I still manage to come up with questions. Not so much about what to do but why? How does that ruling make sense when this is true?
I recently had to get some medication and found on the box of a generic brand the phrase compared to name brand. All the active ingredients seemed to be the same and its purpose was identical. But the price was about 70% the cost of the name brand. Before the pharmacist could say, Are you finding everything alright? it occurred to me what if this sort of thing was on the labels of our music and movies. All the songs were sung by a voice that sounds like Britney Spears and the instruments were playing what sounded like the same song. Could they put on the label compared to Britney Spears and get away with it? Or, what if the story line and sequential shots were almost identical to the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith? The faces kind of look like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie but theyre not. Could they put on the label compared to Mr. & Mrs. Smith? For some reason it works in the Rx industry and I dont see the generic brands getting yanked into litigation. One could argue that the generic brands are piggy backing on the advertisements of the name brands. This medicine sitting right next to this one says it is compared to the same brand that we saw on TV, Martha.
The real argument here is what if the off brand CD and DVD actually happen to be better. Wow, I think she sounds better then Britney Spears. That may not be Brad and Angelina but they sure make a better Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Of course we can never know who those people are because the price of the CD & DVD sells would have to be raised. Would that be a bad thing? After all celeberties are usually over paid anyway, right?
December 18, 2009 at 8:04 PM #180895EarlCMember
Drug lords, oops, I mean companies, fight tooth and nail to avoid their original products going “generic”, and it takes a good long time before most generic brands can get into the action – rightly so, to a degree. Sadly, even after making what would be conceived as a reasonable profit over their R&D costs, and other mandated costs relevant to getting a drug to market and endorsed by FDA, the companies want to add to their stash of cash for some possible rainy day.
Likewise the copyright that protects various parties in the music, and entertainment industry. And, also, rightly so that their (some, anyway) hard work and creative genius is protected to a degree that they can hopefully realize some profit from it. Between pirates, etc. one side paints a disastrous image of lost revenues, while many in the industry (artists specifically) often recognize very little (if any) income or profit from their efforts – notoriety mostly. Like, say, Willie Nelson, who sang in Richmond, Texas at half-bars and speakeasy joints along with Waylon Jennings before becoming an “overnight success” with Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain.
The industry as a whole is unfair to artist OR consumer to the degree it attempts to control usage without compensation to somebody. The law is black and white and folks like you, Thom, are constantly looking for gray areas in which to paint the perimeters – not an indictment against you in any way.
So, debate is passe. Answers are not forthcoming, and solutions are likely impossible. It would be much better, for example, to debate/discuss the talents and quality (or lack thereof) of performers such as Spears than to try to make ANY sense of either the music or movie industries.
Why, because there is absolutely NO sense to be made where something such as “sense” does not exist.
December 18, 2009 at 8:46 PM #180896composite1Member
“Why, because there is absolutely NO sense to be made where something such as “sense” does not exist.”
Ain’t that the truth! The translation for “compared to name brand” is; Compared to the name brand we are legally copying but don’t have the rights to name or make the product specifically similar to yet can legally make a profit off of.
All products can be legally ‘knocked off’ long as there aren’t too many ‘specifics’ used. Coca Cola was first but Pepsi, RC and the hundred other no-names knocked them off. It’s still ‘Cola’ but the specific identifying marks (i.e. trademarked logos) and drink recipes are significantly different (i.e. Coke does not taste like Pepsi despite them being cola.)
That music example is a long standing tradition. Just in our industry alone you can buy needle drop and other contract music licenses for music that sounds a lot like well known tunes, but are significantly different enough to not violate the original artist’s copyright. That’s the ‘Gray Area’ you’re trying to find. In that legal mixture of the ‘black and white’ laws Earl mentioned, long as you don’t directly compare or copy any of your works elements to or from its ‘ideological progenitor’ the work in question can be ‘compared to the name brand’ all you want.
December 19, 2009 at 8:40 PM #180897BerckyParticipant
It would be like that movie– BE KIND, REWIND. Funny offshoot movies! You know, you can actually copy music and movies- once they are in the public domain– just so happens the timeline for that is shorter for drugs than music. Thank goodness– not only for creative types but also for us who like to pay $1.80 for a “compares to benadryl” drug instead of $8.
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