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by Kevin Coupe

Remember the old saw about how there is no such thing as bad publicity?

Anheuser-Busch InBev would disagree.

The maker of Budweiser beer has gone to Paramount Pictures to ask the film studio to remove its product - or at least obscure its label - from all future digital copies of the movie Flight, which, as the Hollywood Reporter writes, "centers on an alcoholic pilot who guzzles alcohol and takes drugs both before and after he takes prevents a malfunctioning airplane from crashing."

Budweiser isn't the only label seen in the film, which also shows products such as Rolling Rock, Yuengling, Smirnoff, Absolut and Stolichnaya being abused by the main character. According to the Hollywood Reporter, none of those brands were asked for or gave permission for their brands to be used in the film.

The Reporter writes: "Trademark and copyright laws can prevent logos or other protected images from being used without permission in films. But filmmakers also are granted certain 'fair use' privileges under Federal law, which allows for certain use of protected materials without receiving permission from the rights holder. Fair use is invoked for everything from films to television and newspaper reports."

Paramount is not commenting on the report.

As I mentioned yesterday in a different context, I'll be reviewing Flight on Friday. But I have to say here that while I understand Anheuser's objections, I think the company is making a mistake. I was aware of the fact that Budweiser and the other labels were in the movies, but it wasn't like I ever thought that the brands were endorsing alcoholism or addiction. If I were the filmmaker, I would have insisted on using real brands, too ... fake brand labels always call more attention to themselves, especially if they are designed to mimic real brands.

So this is one of those cases where me thinks they doth protest too much ... and actually are creating more awareness of the brands presence in the movie than the movie actually did. (Maybe that's the point?)
KC's View: