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November 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Anheuser-Busch and the distributor of Stolichnaya vodka are reportedly unhappy about the use of their products in Paramount’s new hit film Flight, which shows Denzel Washington drinking Budweiser and Stoly. Ordinarily they might even have been expected to pay a product-placement fee to have them included in the movie. But the character played by Washington is an alcoholic and in one scene is seen drinking a Bud while driving. The Associated Press reported on Monday that the two companies have asked to have the labels of their products obscured digitally, saying that they never gave permission for their use in the movie. But the wire service observed that they apparently have little legal clout that they can bring to bear on Paramount. It quoted Daniel Nazer at Stanford Law School as saying that trademark laws don’t “give companies the right to control and censor movies and TV shows that might happen to include real-world items. … Often filmmakers get paid by companies to include their products. I think that’s sort of led to a culture where they expect they’ll have control. That’s not a right the trademark law gives them.”