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07-04-2012, 07:45 PM   #1
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Am I limited in my use of a photo?

Recently I was at an event in a formal theater/auditorium in which some historical musical instruments were on display. The theater apparently had a policy that prohibited any photography. Furthermore, in the program, I noticed that a photographer was the "event" photographer. I went ahead and sneaked a shot (with the permission of the main person who put on the event), not expecting to be able to get more than a grab shot that would be fun to show friends. But I was able to snag a very good shot. I have enlarged the image, framed it, and presented it as a gift to two people. But I would like to be able to display the image on my website and possibly to sell it.

Does the event photographer have exclusive rights to any shots from that event? Would the theater care one way or the other? Should I contact both to find out? Should I assume I have no rights?

I'm feeling guilty. Any help appreciated.

07-04-2012, 07:49 PM   #2
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I would SERIOUSLY doubt that the event photographer has exclusive rights to any shots from the event......... more likely the theater owns the photographer's shots.
07-04-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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As I understand it you did not sign any contract prohibiting taking pictures, and you had permission from somebody. I doubt you could use the image as stock for advertising purposes but you should be able to sell the image as art, it is your derivative work. You certainly can display it, on your website or otherwise.
07-04-2012, 09:00 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
I would SERIOUSLY doubt that the event photographer has exclusive rights to any shots from the event......... more likely the theater owns the photographer's shots
Sory, but incorrect.

Also let me continue by clarifying that I am not a legal professional, nor am I giving legal advice, but... I do regularly retain the services of law firms with professional certifications in three different states - at a minimum on a good day. I also have direct experience in this one; as a court (judge - actually plural) acknowledged professional. It's also something that I regularly use towards contract law; something that I have in fact taken many classes in; from 102 level through 599++ levels.

so to continue...

Taking any photograph of a performance is quite complicated. Permission means nothing unless it is in writting; and then still depending upon whom it is from.

You can in fact give it as a gift; as long as there are literally no minors in the pic. But to offer to sell it - at any price would open ANY person taking the pic, printing it, and/or selling it to liability. Plus depending upon ones true profession (example - is the pic taker a full time career professional - that is there only career as stated via tax records) then it also opens one up to additional liability - for instance the internal revenue service.

Also about the website; you can post it on there; again as long as no minors are anywhere in the pic. But you also must acknowledge the following; pic taker, (ballpark) date taken, venue, and possibly even any performer if info is still available. Since it was not in an open public forum one must do this. If it would have taken place at a park in the publc then it would be a much different story. It would still be wise not to sell the pic at all.

Believe me the risk is not in fact worth the reward. But perhaps if you would want to donate the profits, then again it would be another issue - perhaps.

Also, that policy - about ot taking pics does not actually mean much - unless you happen to be in an area such as a military base or the like. There's only a few things they could do on that one... Simply ask you nicely not to do it, or possibly ask to remove you while doing it, etc... Unless it was printed on a ticket that you bought - their claim does not mean much. But the venue could also get a judges order to have you remove it from a website - although a bit rare.

07-04-2012, 09:22 PM   #5
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So, after all of that, I guess the answer to your question "Am I limited in my use of a photo", Yes...
07-04-2012, 09:40 PM   #6
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Could depend where you live how the laws work.

In Australia there are not many restrictions on what can be photographed.
if there is a sign to say no photography, you can be told you must leave the site by anyone who has a responsibility for looking after the site. They don't need to provide a reason and there is an obligation to leave.

An interesting quirk in Aus is one infringes copyright photographing a painting but not a statue. the statue is three dimensional so a 2 dimensional image does not apply to taking IP.

I would think that now you have the photo, provided you have not infringed someones IP there isn't much anyone can do about it except ban you from their premises.
07-04-2012, 10:37 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bob from Aus Quote
An interesting quirk in Aus is one infringes copyright photographing a painting but not a statue. the statue is three dimensional so a 2 dimensional image does not apply to taking IP.
So, then, I'd be OK photographing Van Gogh's work in Australia!
07-04-2012, 11:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
So, then, I'd be OK photographing Van Gogh's work in Australia!
only a Van Gogh statue if had made any but not a painting

07-05-2012, 04:26 AM - 1 Like   #9
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No, it's not an interesting quirk.. you're just missing a slight detail there. There's no infringing of copyright in Australia if the sculpture is a permanent fixture in a public place. However, if it's a statue inside a museum/art gallery, then your rights are limited by the rules of admission into the place. This all makes sense from the general stance here that if it's in a public space, it's free game for photography.

All information regarding photography, rights and the law in Australia is available here. I always reference this site and try to keep a print-out (there's a PDF version available there) with me at all times when photographing - "just in case".
07-05-2012, 04:46 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vylen Quote
However, if it's a statue inside a museum/art gallery, then your rights are limited by the rules of admission into the place.
That's what I thought I said. Thanks for the link. I will make sure I study it and save it. I will try and do a better job quoting you next time.
07-05-2012, 05:55 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ElJamoquio Quote
So, then, I'd be OK photographing Van Gogh's work in Australia!
Actually it depends, from what i know the copyright law is bound to where the art is made, sold or where to owner lives. So to make it easy, if the paint is from a dutch museum then it would fall under the dutch copyright laws so they can persecute you here in the netherlands, if the australia court will honour the judgement is another story.
07-05-2012, 06:41 AM   #12
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To clarify a few details:

1) No persons are present in the photo; it is only of the historical instruments on display.

2) I signed nothing but was told explicitly by the theater personnel that photography was strictly prohibited..

3) In the lobby, I asked the main person who staged the event if he had a problem with my taking the shot of the instruments while people were still filing in. He affirmed that it was fine with him.

So, given what folks here have said so far, I'm still confused. Does the official event photographer not have exclusive rights to photos at the event? Does the theater have the rights? Do I have the right to display but not sell the image?
07-05-2012, 06:57 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Does the official event photographer not have exclusive rights to photos at the event? Does the theater have the rights? Do I have the right to display but not sell the image?
No the useless title if official event photographer does not have exclusive rights. That person that has that so called title also knows that - if there would be any people in the pic he would also most likely need a release from them.

Technically the theater (the venue) does have some, but not all of the rights.

Yes, in most instances you have the right to display the image, and technically even to donate it, but also... The venue can try to threaten legal action aganst you - which is simply a version of a type of a warning - nothing more. Only a judge (also noting in most areas a magistrate is considered a judge) can issue orders to have you remove content from public viewing - which btw also includes the internet.

Unfortunately item three still does not mean anything without something in writting from that person - and I have seen instances of this.

People somehow conveniently change versions of what they have stated; or simply forget what they stated. And unless witnessed, verbal statements have no value legally
07-05-2012, 01:44 PM   #14
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Should I check with the theater to see what lattitude (if any) they will grant me with regard to this photo?
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