My wife is a big fan of the HG network and for the last six months or so I have been noticing that the art work of the origional owners’ homes on the network’s shows is blurred. Other times it has been obvious that it has been removed completely.
We thought about possibly copyright problems, but this sounds illogical.
We also thought about fear of theives, but this also sounds somewhat ridiculous since indications are in some cases that the stuff on the wall are prints.
It even occured to us that some of it might be stolen art that the owners did not want shown, but the sheer numbers of this makes this stupid.
I noticed that in Penn Jillette’s youtube videos - no idea why they do that. I’d expect that people doing podcasts or putting videos online would want the world to see what art they like.
Maybe because of some licensing trouble? As long as they only show their own stuff, they have full controll on their licensing. As soon as they show artwork, that might be more complicated (or impossible).
I’ve noticed blurring on clothing too – especially tee-shirts. I assumed it was because there was something obscene (or political) on the shirt, but they even blur shirts on little kids. Does Hannah Montana really care? Maybe.
Sometimes it is for other reasons. In televised poker they will blur some of the sponsors. Top poker players are sponsored by various companies. I’m pretty sure WSOP still has a rule that a player can only show the logo of one sponsor. They blur out the logos of the other sponsors.
There’s no legal reason to blur a company logo – as long as it’s on an item made by the company, they can’t complain about the use. Logos are blurred because of deals made with other companies that prevent you from using a competitors logo; or it’s a matter of the production company asking for money for product placement and not wanting the owner of the logo to say, “Hey, you did our competitors for free; why not ours.” But showing a trademark on a legitimately trademarked item is perfectly legal, as is mentioning the name of the company. Free speech trumps trademark law.
For the paintings, though, it’s not trademark; it’s copyright. You are making a copy of the work when you film it. You can’t make a copy without the permission of the owner of the copyright. If an artist decided to sue you, you’re probably screwed.
It’s a copyright issue. There’s a famous case about it, Ringgold v. BET. It involved an artist who was pissed because a reproduction of her work was shown unblurred and without permission on the set of the sitcom “Roc.”
You can’t violate copyright even if the use objectively benefits the copyright holder, ie by promoting their work.
What I can’t figure out is why AFV now blurs out the date that’s on so many home videos. Like is it some sort of state secret that the dog peeing on the bridesmaid did so at 12:46:12 on 09/03/2009 or something? They didn’t use to do this and now it seems to be universal.