Erez Rosenberg Authors USC Spotlight Article on Useful Articles

In his USC Spotlight article “A Useful Article About Useful Articles,” Associate Erez Rosenberg discusses how the useful article doctrine validates the unlicensed use of props and set dressings in audiovisual works.

The principles in the useful article doctrine can be used to guide artists, practitioners and courts in determining whether filming a particular item constitutes creating an infringing copy, and in assessing whether filming such an item constitutes fair use.

“Although many filmmakers and practitioners presume that all props, set dressing, and wardrobe must be cleared with permission from the manufacturer or owner prior to using such items in an audiovisual work, that broad presumption is not accurate,” said Rosenberg. “The useful article doctrine provides one explanation as to why permission is not always required.”

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