I was watching an episode of Clean House (the best of the “redecoration for hoarders” shows on cable) and at the yard sale section (if you don’t watch the show it’s where they sell the tons of junk in most of the houses) one of the items was a remote controlled R2D2. It was used, it belonged to the family whose house was being redecorated, and it was completely obvious what it was and it even made the R2 beeping noises when it was being tested by a potential buyer, but for some reason the producers digitally blurred it. I’ve seen them do this with T-shirts and even posters before as well, but usually so successfully you can’t tell what the poster/shirt is of- I assumed usually it wsa due to language. This was the first time I’ve seen them do it with an item.
Question: Would the decision to blur this toy more likely be for copyright/trademark restrictions or a decision of the producers not to give free advertising to LucasFilm? I can understand why it would be copyright infringement to use R2D2 in a film or a TV show, but I can’t imagine how an R2D2 toy would in any way infringe on fair use.
Assuming the posters and T-shirts weren’t blurred for language but were, let’s say, BEATLES T-shirts- same question. How would it infringe fair use to show, for example, an Abby Road CD or Abby Road T-shirt? Or is this more likely the decision of the producers?
Just afraid other sponsors wouldn’t like the free ad for a certain toy. Someone in editing might have been advised that Chuck’s ToyCo is a big sponsor and doesn’t want any Mattel products getting free air time when Chuck’s is dropping 6 million with the cable station.
Fairly sure there are some pretty strict rules regarding t-shirt/poster images, etc.
I remember watching a little “making of” segment on the DVD extras for “The Shield” – There was a take the director liked but couldn’t use because one of the extras was wearing a Red Sox cap. They said something like, “Man, we don’t have the budget to pay MLB for that.”
Not sure if the same is true for a Star Wars toy, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the producers of these shows have a policy of “when in doubt, blur it out”…
George Lucas is very picky about where Star Wars products show up.
In the 90s MTV had to start blurring out the stormtrooper helmet that Beck wore in the beginning of the “Loser” video. In the commentary for Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy they mention that a large amount of money was paid in order just to use the lightsaber sound effect for the bread slicer/toaster.
OTOH, Lucas gave Seth Mcfarlane his blessing to do Family Guy:Blue Harvest.