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Budweiser Wants No Part in Flight

The company says the film "condones the misuse" of its product, and wants its logo removed.

Image: 

Budweiser does NOT support drinking while
flying. Photo via

By May Wilkerson

11/06/12

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Anheuser-Busch InBev, the makers of Budweiser, have asked for their product's logo to be removed from Flight because the film (about an alcoholic airline pilot) is tarnishing their image. The film has already created a stir for its provocative, realistic portrayal of an addict, played by Denzel Washington, who is seen downing multiple beers (and other alcohol as well)—including while driving, and prior to operating an airplane. "We would never condone the misuse of our products, and have a long history of promoting responsible drinking and preventing drunk driving," said Rob McCarthy, vice president of Budweiser. "We have asked the studio to obscure the Budweiser trademark in current digital copies of the movie and on all subsequent adaptations of the film." But experts say the company's efforts may be in vain. While product placement has become common practice in the movie industry, experts say that trademark laws do not protect companies' rights to displace their products from the screen. "[Trademark laws] don't exist to give companies the right to control and censor movies and TV shows that might happen to include real-world items," said Daniel Nazer, a resident fellow at Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project. "It is the case that 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."

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