What happens to 'dead' copyrights?

I’ve had a few ideas that focus on retro or retrofuturistic topic matters, that include long-dead corporations being exhumed on a screen for a few seconds or minutes. Thing is, would I get into legal trouble for, say, displaying a PanAm billboard, or a showroom with a few cars from AMC?

It’s a kinda interesting legal question to pose, anyone have any light to shed on it?

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but I can only imagine that a dead company can’t sue you for wrongful use.

depend if a living company owns the rights to those names. things like car companies usually get bought out, so while the company may not exist, the branding is still owned by the new company. it is unlikely that you would get sued but sods law dictates that you’ll pick the one brand that superrich megabrand was about to revive. sh*t like that happens ;D

It’s a kinda interesting legal question to pose, anyone have any light to shed on it?

When it’s a legal thing then the best thing you can do is to ask a lawyer :slight_smile:

I’m no lawyer, but what I would do is to take these “long-dead trademarks” and then parody them slightly. So that it would be obvious to anyone who’s (ahem …) “familiar with those times” :ba: what it is that you’re referring to, but you don’t exactly quote the trademarked name. It could be a little funnier that way, too. “Fan 'Em” airlines, for example. Or, an “ABC” car, with (why not?) a whimsical logo that looks like a child’s letter-blocks. Avoid the direct use of the original trademark, and make the audience smile, chuckle at your inside-joke, and move on.

Lawyers speak weasel speech, so if you wish to consult one you’d better get a translator too.
I wonder if there’s an app for that?

Just display a banner at the end that says they are only used for recreational purposes and that they belong to their respective owners.