Bruce in Connecticut asks:
Recently I shot a home with a couple of movie theaters and the homeowner has asked if I could put clips of Forest Gump on one screen and a clip from Rocky on another. I am reluctant to do so as I don't know the ramifications with regards to copyright. I can't superimpose someone else's creative work onto my images without permission, I would think it would be the same for movies. Unfortunately, I am out of my element when it comes to this as it has never been asked of me before. The homeowner says the previous Realtor's photographer honored this request.
First of all, this is a legal question and none of us here are lawyers so the following is just a compilation of opinions of photographers. Someone who could answer this more conclusively is Joel Rothman at SRIPLaw.
Taking a frame out of a movie and using it for real estate marketing is pretty clearly using someone else's copyrighted work for commercial purposes without permission. So to me, it's a copyright violation! Could someone (another Realtor's photographer) manage to do that and not get caught? Yes, no problem. The chances of getting caught are probably quite small. You could always get the homeowner or Realtor to sign an agreement that they will pay your legal costs if you get caught. That might change their attitude if they are asked to get their skin in the game.
Update 9/26: Garett Buell points out in a comment below that the solution to this problem is trivial! Just use stock photos to put Rocky and Forest Gump on the screens. I check shutterstock.com and they have photos of Rocky and Forest Gump to use for this.