A question about copyright

Hey guys!

I'm hoping you can help.

I'm currently updating my organisations anti-money laundering course.

To make the content less dry - I wanted to include examples of money laundering from the show Breaking Bad ( as it does a great job of explaining the basics), it will also frame the information in something that is generally relatable to  a wider audience, whilst being a little playful.

I was thinking about referencing the shows names and characters, but creating my own illustrations based on our brand guidelines, rather using any direct imagery.

Would this be Breaking Copyright? (ho-ho-ho), or should I indirectly reference the show or not at all? please help!

Many thanks


8 Replies
Judy Nollet

Caveat: I've attended a number of presentations about copyright issues,  butI'm not a lawyer. That said, here's how I understand this situation: You could refer to the characters by their names, but you should specifically state that you're referring to "Breaking Bad." You could also describe -- in your own words -- situations in that show. But it would be a violation to use verbatim dialogue and/or actual images from the show, because that material is copyrighted.

Since it'd probably be a bit clumsy to state that you're referring to "Breaking Bad," and since not everyone has watched that show, you might want to consider re-working some of the money-laundering situations for your course so that you aren't copying their work. For example, change the names and tweak the scenarios a bit. Keep this in mind: facts can't be copyrighted, so the basic info about how to launder money doesn't belong to "Breaking Bad."  How one expresses/communicates facts can be copyrighted, but not always, since there are a limited number of ways to express certain data.

I hope this helps.

Tim Clark

Hi Judy - thanks for the reply, I really appreciate your input.

It's more of a brief summary of a part of the show that dealt with money laundering, rather than a word for word copy.

It may be best for me not to come out and say its based on the show (for the reasons you mentioned above), however through illustration (Iconic yellow suit, camper van etc) and the context of the example, it would be implied that it is and quite apparent to those who have watched the series.

michelle eames

A couple of years  ago there was an advert on British TV, that referenced famous TV and Film scenes in everyday situations.

In one of the scences and man came out of the caravan and said "Jesse we need to cook".  Having never seen breaking bad I didn't know what that meant untill i asked someone.  However, i can't remeber the product or the company or any other scenes.  So, I don't know if it did its job....