The humor in Salvation Boulevard, a religious comedy about a priest who promotes his church in an unconventional way, is not pleasing everybody. In fact, the Church of God has filed a lawsuit against Sony Pictures, IFC Films and Comcast on the base of infringement of the trademark and copyright of their logo (see left).
In the movie the priest is using a logo that is similar to the logo of the Curch of God (but mirrored). It is not the first time that a joke in a movie is the subject of I.P. troubles. The tattoo in the Hangover 2 was at stake in a battle between the designer of the tattoo and the film producer.
Furthermore, in the Oscar winning movie Slumdog Millionaire, a movie about the Indian slums, the director had to remove the Mercedes logo of a Mercedes car as Mercedes objected: it did want to be associated with slums. Earlier this year Louis Vuitton was not amused by a painting showing a dark hungry boy with a Louis Vuitton bag (demonstrating the contrast between poor and rich).
MarkMatters thinks the Mercedes and Louis Vuitton cases are going a mile too far. A brand is and remains a tool to communicate and not only in the cases that are favorable for the proprietor. The tattoo battle has been settled, as expected. It is difficult to predict how it will end with the Church of God, of course a settlement is likely. However, on the other hand, in the event the movie is a clear comedy and the use of the logo a parody, why this should not be allowed? Markmatters prays for a nice lawsuit.