Paramount Pictures asked to remove Budweiser beer images from film
An American brewing company has asked Paramount Pictures to obscure images of its Budweiser beer in the film 'Flight', which stars Denzel Washington as a hero pilot accused of boozing before a plane crash.
Robert McCarthy, the vice president of Budweiser, said in a letter to production company Image Movers and Paramount, that the company Anheuser-Busch had "no knowledge of the use or portrayal of Budweiser."
"We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving. It is disappointing that Image Movers, the production company, and Paramount chose to use one of our brands in this manner," ABC News quoted McCarthy as saying in a statement.
Monica Riva Talley, an attorney who specializes in trademark law with Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein and Fox, said that "although brands would love to be able to exercise complete control over the way they are portrayed to the public, Anheuser-Busch will likely face an uphill battle in trying to enjoin use of the Budweiser brand name in the context of the film."
"Courts are very reticent to restrict the First Amendment right to creative expression based on negative portrayal of a brand name in a movie, provided use of the trademark/brand name has some artistic relevance to the work," she said.
Talley also cited similar cases like the recent ruling dismissing Louis Vuitton's lawsuit against Warner Brothers over use of knock-off handbags in a scene in 'The Hangover Part II'.