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03-18-2015, 01:59 PM   #1

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Warning re shooting designer furniture - and designer architecture?


I just saw this 'warning' from Getty to it's contributors about the copyright and trademark risks of shooting 'designer' furniture and possible architecture, even if that material has been only incidentally included in a shot.

This seems to apply speciically to Le Corbusier products. It looks like shooting anything in the whole city of Brasilia is now off-limits for Getty contributors.

What next - copyright on images of any work by architect Bjorn Utzon, who designed the Sydney Opera House? Copyright and trademark issues of any image that includes your K-01, designed by Marc Newson?

Why I respect protecting intellectual property rights, I really hope this isn't part of a trend.

We first presented the subject of designer furniture to you five years ago. Because this is such an important topic to remember, it’s necessary to again revisit what makes designer furniture problematic.

Designer furniture may be subject to trademark and/or copyright protection in some jurisdictions. We should be particularly mindful of any modern and iconic furniture designs and, whenever possible, select generic furniture for studio shoots and shots taken of building interiors. Any distinctive furniture increases risk of exposure. Content containing any portion of iconic designs, whether in whole or in part, is not suitable for any collection - creative or editorial.

The designs at greatest risk are those created by Le Corbusier. Please remember to avoid shooting any furniture by Le Corbusier, even if only partially shown or incidential to the content. Additionally (and out of an abundance of caution), we ask that you refrain from shooting and submitting both creative and editorial content that features any architecture, buildings, or properties designed by Le Corbusier. This content is simply off-limits.
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03-18-2015, 02:16 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
and possible architecture
There is a lighted neon sign in Portland, Oregon that the city has claimed copyright to and the license is not cheap. I would show you a photo, but then they would hunt me down.

03-18-2015, 02:30 PM   #3

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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
There is a lighted neon sign in Portland, Oregon that the city has claimed copyright to
I see the Eiffel Tower administrators have taken a similar interest in commercial or professional use of night time images of the Eiffel Tower.

Soon you will need a lawyer as a 2nd shooter wherever you go.
03-18-2015, 03:06 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Soon you will need a lawyer as a 2nd shooter wherever you go

Or maybe we will have to poke out our eyes if we accidentally see some things.

03-18-2015, 03:11 PM   #5
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But what then defines public space? Only stuff that nobody has designed, or that is so old nobody cares? A new tragedy of the commons.
03-18-2015, 05:11 PM   #6
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I do hope that my neighbor doesn't take a picture of the squirrel in his front Yard. I've been feeding that squirrel my birdseeds since he was born and his nest is in my tree. I think I own rights to any pictures of it.

03-18-2015, 07:18 PM   #7
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Basically, these architects and engineers are dead and their descendants and trusts are talentless hangers-on looking for an easy dollar that they couldn't earn by doing their own original work.

As an architect, my copyright is over the drawings and documents I produce. I can't and don't build and the building itself is the collaboration of hundreds of workers. If I design a building, the client has the right (only) to build the building I designed, in the location for which it was designed. They would be in breach of copyright if they built it again somewhere else (even if they change the design to disguise it) or sold the drawings to someone else without my permission. An architect's copyright is to prevent making a real copy of the building. Last I checked, a photo isn't a copy of a building until such a time that you can do a 3d photo you can walk around in which keeps the rain off.
03-18-2015, 07:21 PM   #8
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It doesn't even have to be intellectual property. When you enter the famous 17-Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula in California, you get a printed warning that views of the equally famous "Lone Cypress Tree," located on a rocky point in the sea, have been copyrighted by the association. No photographs of that tree may be used for commercial purposes without paying a royalty. I have a number of decent images of that tree but can't ever sell them. :-)

03-18-2015, 09:52 PM   #9
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The big issue here is learning to distinguish between "private use" and "commercial use".

As it happens with people, that you need a model release to be able to use any picture in which any individual can be recognized, and if used for commercial puroses (including self promotion), such recognizable person(s) is entitled for compensation; the same applies to any "visual image" which by origin, nature, use, history or any other form of public interest, ends up as part of a photograph (by intention, incidental or accident), on which the photographer pretends a profit out of the commercial use of such photograph.

You can take any picture of whatever or whoever you want, but you cannot profit from it without the authorization of anyone recognizable or anything that is "copyright protected". Most times, such authorization involves some kind of compensation. Self promotion or editorial used does not exclude this obligations for the photographer or media. At the bottom line it always means "business".

Designers are known to copyright their creations, as well as artists, musicians or any othe person that actually profits from their original ideas. The most common form of copyright protection is your regular "inventor's patent". In the last two decades, the tendency to "copyright" public interest "images" has become more common. At first, the protection had the intention to avoid the "reproduction" of such image in the same nature it was originally created, for example, the Eiffel Tower; the original protection was to prevent anyone to build another structure "similar" to it, but later, this protection was extended for the "image" of the Eiffel Tower.

Taking the Eiffel Tower example, we as photographers (with a business based in photography) can clearly understand why the "sole image" can be and actually is copyrighted. Let's say we take a picture of a park bench, telephone pole or just about any other "public" thing in Paris. Let's print 1000 postcards with this image.... do you think they will sell? Now let's do the same with a picture of the Eiffel Tower.... how will this one sell compared to the first one?

So, do you think the city of Paris, the French government should let anyone profit from their creation.... for free? As said: FOR COMMERCIAL PURPOSES. For your own enjoyment, feel free to take as many pictures you want, but if you pretend to make a single cent from any of the pictures, the you will need a written permission from the French government in charge and a signed agreement for economical compensation for such commercial use.

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