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Media (Press) Releases for Events – Avoiding Issues with Trademarks and Copyright

Media (Press) Releases for Events – Avoiding Issues with Trademarks and Copyright

Those issuing a media release, also known as a press release, for an event need to be aware of possible problems related to intellectual property law. Intellectual property laws protect people’s ideas, artwork, designs, inventions, and other creative works. The law penalizes people who take other people’s creative work and uses it for their own profit or benefit. When writing a media release for an event, you must be careful to avoid using someone else’s intellectual property without their permission.

A media release for an event is an official written statement given by the organizers of an event to the media to inform them about the event. One example would be the planners of a festival held in the downtown area of a city or town informing the media about the festival and what it entails. Another example would be an art museum informing the media about an upcoming symposium which will display several pieces of an artist’s work. Intellectual property issues could arise in both of these examples related to copyright law or trademark law, respectively.

Copyright law protects people’s creative works. This includes, but is not limited to, original music, poetry, paintings, photographs, poetry, and other things related to publishing, entertainment, or artwork.

Trademark law protects the words, symbols, catchphrases, and designs used by businesses and similar entities to make their brand identifiable to the public. Examples include images like the Nike logo, and advertising catchphrases like “I’M LOVIN’ IT.” Trademarks protect consumers by allowing them to identify an entities’ brand with certainty, and protect entities from copycats trying to steal their brand and customers.

You need to be careful not to publish any copyrighted or trademarked material when you issue a media release for an event. Do not include any images that are trademarked or copyrighted, or contain copyrighted art or photography. You also need to avoid publishing any trademarked phrases, or written excerpts from copyrighted works of poetry, literature, drama, or film. An attorney can review your media release and verify that it does not contain anything that could create a legal problem for you in the future.

If you find that your release does include potentially offending materials, generally there are two courses of action. The first, and most obvious, would be removal of the content. The second would be to negotiate the use of the content and obtain the express consent of the copyright or trademark holder.

Do you have questions about intellectual property law and media releases? McNeelyLaw attorneys are available to check your media release for copyrighted or trademarked material or discuss potential intellectual property issues with you. Contact us at 317-825-5110 to speak with an Indiana copyright or trademark attorney today.

This McNeelyLaw LLP publication should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion of any specific facts or circumstances. The contents are intended for general informational purposes only, and you are urged to consult your own lawyer on any specific legal questions you may have concerning your situation.

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