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Old 24-04-2008, 03:51   #1 (permalink)
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Copyright on buildings..?

Maybe a dumb beginner's question, but someone told me that a lot of buildings around the world are copyright - ie you need the building owner's permission to publish shots of them. Is this correct? If so, how do you know which buildings are "copyright"?
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:11   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

yep unfortunately its true, however there are limits, its not just a case of not being able to use any shots with a particular building in it, its more if the building is the main subject matter.
things like the gherkin in london and the London eye are both copyrighted but u see pics of them all the time............ and as to how to find out. sorry, i havent a clue, I would shoot them anyway! lol

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Old 24-04-2008, 08:43   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Taken from this site.

Question

Can you copyright/trademark buildings? What if the architect is not dead - can you photograph the buildings? Can you design another building to look like another building?

Answer


Architects drawings are copyright. The building itself is not, so you can photograph it. If you used the architect's own drawings and amended them, then that is infringement. If you started from scratch but deliberately chose to mimic a design, then you are probably okay. It would be advisable to consult a copyright lawyer at this point in time!
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:52   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

We need to be a bit careful here - woffa51 is based in New Zealand, the web site extract is from a UK site - the law may be different in New Zealand.

I understand that in the US for example, if you take a picture in which the building is the main subject, you need to obtain a release form from the buildings owner to commercially exploit that photo - in the UK you do not.

In the UK, you cannot be prevented (except in very limited circumstances related to national security etc) from taking a picture of a building and exploiting it, provided that the picture was taken from a public place. If you have to enter onto private property to take the picture, the owner of that property is entitled to place whatever restrictions on photography he likes, including the payment of fees, requiring his written permission etc.
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Old 24-04-2008, 08:57   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

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Originally Posted by PeteT View Post
We need to be a bit careful here - woffa51 is based in New Zealand, the web site extract is from a UK site - the law may be different in New Zealand.
Fair point, Pete
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Old 24-04-2008, 09:15   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Need to be very careful. The laws are convoluted and varied between different regions (even within the same region). For example, in the US all buildings built after 1999 are copyrighted! In India you are not allowed to photograph bridges (as these are considered military defenses).

In the UK the law permits a photographer to take a photo of buildings, people, etc from a public place - in other words you can take a photo of what you would see with your naked eye while in a public place. There are of course exceptions to the rule such as military basis and buildings (and railway stations in times of war). However if you climb a fence or wall, or sit on a gate or something which forms part of that property in order to take the shot then you would be considered trespassing. Furthermore if you enter onto private property legally (e.g. when visiting a museum, or a stately home) and take photo's when this has been forbidden in the terms and conditions of gaining entry then the second you use your camera you are trespassing.

The only way to know whether or not you are permitted to take photos and use them of property is to understand the laws of the country/region where you want to take the photos and where possible request permission from the owners.
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Old 24-04-2008, 10:26   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

It's also important to remember that although you don't breach copyright you may still need a property release to use the pictures for a commercial reason and most agencies will expect to see one for commercial use.
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Old 24-04-2008, 10:45   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

In UK (and probably, mostly universal ) :

If you are standing on public ground (e.g.the high street) :
You can photograph any building you like. It's not the taking of the photograph but the usage of the photograph which is under restriction. Put simply, you may not make money from a photograph of any privately owned building without the permission of the owner. Beware, such buildings can include museums, churches, and other buildings which you might think are public buildings! Think of it this way, just about everything in this world is owned by someone.

If you are standing on private property :
Get permission to take photographs. It is just simpler to do this, to avoid any questions or arguments later. No hassle, just ask the nearest official if it's ok or not. Most tourist-related places will display a notice in this regard in any event. I never understand the fuss people make about asking permission, honestly what's the hassle in asking; it's courtesy as well as saving a whole lot of hassle later.
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Old 24-04-2008, 12:04   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlotte View Post
Put simply, you may not make money from a photograph of any privately owned building without the permission of the owner.
AFAIK you CAN make money but the usage is restricted to editorial use. I don't think all those postcards of London landmarks got a property release or indeed the "London from the air" books. If they had a choice I imagine Tramps would not let Newspapers publish photos of the it girls falling out of there in the early hours either.

It is a criminal offence to take pictures "Within the precincts" of a court most Newspaper togs would fall foul of this if it were strictly enforced as per the case law.

Last edited by VinnyP; 24-04-2008 at 12:21.
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Old 24-04-2008, 17:18   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

What do you mean when you say "editorial" use?
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Old 24-04-2008, 20:26   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

hmmm good dicussion.......... as far as I am aware as long as the image was taken from public ground then you can do what you want with the image. doesnt matter if the image is a private building or not ( i was sure the gherkin thingy was copyrighted but not to worry).............. and i think its not only foreign countries that there are differences in.............there are no trespass laws in Scotland, and we also have the right to roam which includes for the purposes of recreational and some commercial activities which would arguably include photography.
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Old 24-04-2008, 21:09   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

This thread is bringing on a "de ja vu" of an in-depth discussion coupla months ago along these same lines ... This is where I bow out 'cos I already said quite a lot on the subject here and don't fancy getting into it all again ... hope you find that discussion useful woffa151
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Old 26-04-2008, 06:13   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

first of all, anything in what is considered a public place OUTSIDE,, can be photographed with no permission needed.

Now for selling those same photos, no matter what they are, has certain restrictions, but if it is being used for educational purposes, no model release, nothing is needed.

you can do what ever you want !!
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Old 26-04-2008, 08:42   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Anybody remember the british tourists being arrested in Greece and charged with espionage because they shot photos which had parts of a greek military air base in them?

Be wary of blanket rules such as that stated above and understand the limitations and restriction of the country you are photographing in.

That would be my advice.
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Old 26-04-2008, 09:11   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

military bases and public buildings are two entirely different aspects !!

Please do not turn this into some argument !

Public buildings !! outside views... Miliatry installations always have a sign !!!
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Old 26-04-2008, 15:32   #16 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Well as I mentioned earlier in the thread there are different rules per region. One example was that in India you are not permitted to photograph bridges. Therefore I reiterate that one should be mindful of the rules and regulations for the regions one is in. There are no blanket 'rights' that work every country in the world.
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Old 26-04-2008, 18:48   #17 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

The OP stated so clearly.. .the word buildings not bridges or militray installations !

can we stay within the scope of the original question ? I guess not !!
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Old 26-04-2008, 21:21   #18 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Okay. If you go to France you are permitted to photograph the Eiffel Tower during the day but not at night when it's lit. Do you happen to know what the laws are for photographing Mosques in the United Arab Emirates? What about Sudan? What are the laws for photography of government or legal buildings in China? Are you aware that there is a law in the UK which prohibits the photographing or videoing of Courts? (not usually enforced providing none of those involved in the case are in the pictures)

Your sweeping statement is, I'm afraid, erroneous for some parts of the world. It may, or it may not, affect what the original poster has in mind however the message is the same - understand the laws of the region you are in.

Incidentally, and not meaning to nitpick, bridges are "buildings". (definition of building being described as: 'A structure that stands more or less permanently in one place.')
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Old 26-04-2008, 21:56   #19 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Well to the original Op... I guess you better learn photography and stay in your neighborhood, for the time being, as a beginnner !

Photography is all about 'light' and what you can do with your imagination & that LIGHT !

have fun, fill the viewfinder with detail. don't make the mistake of thinking too 'big'. Photograph 'part' of a building and learn how to tell a story with your images in a simple sequence. I sincerly doubt you will have any problems in your area, in your neighborhood. When you can create very intersting photographs that are salable in your area, then your ready to move out and on and up.

I sincerly doubt, as a beginner, that your headed to China, or to Paris but as far as New Zealand, well you know where and what google is.. see what they have to say.. wiki & google two clicks, that's how re-search is done these days !! Good Luck !

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Last edited by Steve; 27-04-2008 at 09:30. Reason: added text
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Old 26-04-2008, 22:07   #20 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

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Old 26-04-2008, 22:16   #21 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

"It is not an infringement of copyright to take photographs of buildings, sculptures and works of artistic craftsmanship that are permanently situated in public places or in premises that are open to the public."

Quoted from UK Photographers Rights by Linda Macpherson who is a lecturer in law at Heriot Watt University. So I'm assuming she knows what she was talking about. Admittedly the document was written in 2004 but I am pretty sure the situation on copyright hasn't changed since then.

Bearing in mind the above I wonder why there would be any issue with the sale and publication of those photographs if there is no breach of copyright.

The above applies only to the UK of course.
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Old 26-04-2008, 22:23   #22 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

[QUOTE=Larne;202477]"It is not an infringement of copyright .. .. .. .. .. that are permanently situated in public places or in premises that are open to the public."


yes, Zactly what I also said in far fewer words.. to the original Op.. you will have no problem creating images of buildings in your area, that are in public, I do not doubt that in some countries, certain buildings are prohibited, in sensitive area, etc and for many various reasons, Effiel tower at night,, post cards and posters and images abound, goggle and other places that 'strip' images from peoples web sites. Even though these images are copyright, google and others are allowed to do this under the fair exemption act. (certain restrictions apply).
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Old 26-04-2008, 23:07   #23 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

It's clearly a complex and subjective area with the distinct possibility of having different experiences on differing occasions depending on who you run in to and what their interpretation is at that time. Case in point being statements like this (covering Crown Court buildings in the UK - viewable or not from a public place):

Quote:
It is a criminal offense to take a photograph in a law court and an additional offense to publish any photograph taken in court. This restriction extends beyond the court itself to anywhere in the building and to the "precincts of the court", i.e. the surrounding area. The extents of the "precincts of the court" are not defined anywhere, making it difficult for photographers to judge whether or not they are breaking the law and authorities often turn a blind eye to photography outside the court building
I would say that in general, and in most regions, you will be fine to take the photo, but that it's always good to check-in with the local laws and customs to ensure you don't inadvertently trip some bizarre law.

Forewarned is forearmed.

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Old 27-04-2008, 13:17   #24 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Quote:
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The OP stated so clearly.. .the word buildings not bridges or militray installations !

can we stay within the scope of the original question ? I guess not !!
hm well without wanting to add too much fuel to the fire, some people would include bridges as being a type of building. I know if i was told to only shoot buildings., i probably would include bridges in that remit.
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Old 27-04-2008, 13:22   #25 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Is there any problems to me walking around Manchester Centre takin photo's there's some great high rise buildings that i was thinking of taking
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Old 27-04-2008, 13:32   #26 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

Well again, to the orignal OP.. i WOULD concentrate on learning how to create interesting photographs of that which is located right around you, in your present location. Be it a 'bridge' or a building, you have to start someplace, to be able to 'climb' the necessary steps it takes a peson to become well versed in the 'Art of photography'.

ok-bye!
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Old 27-04-2008, 13:41   #27 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

No Ray, you shouldn't have any problems. Amateurs should not get too bogged down with all this, just use a bit of common sense, i.e. not shoot the obvious taboos, like anything to do with military. Again, it's not the taking of the photographs that matters so much as what you do with them, and that's why pro's - or amateurs who might look like a pro - are pounced on more than obvious tourists. So put your tourist hat on + you should be ok
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Old 27-04-2008, 13:54   #28 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

I tend to agree. This is more of an issue for those who are looking to take pictures for commercial reasons. If I was shooting just for personal interest and someone asked me to move on I would probably just do so.
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Old 28-04-2008, 13:19   #29 (permalink)
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

I sincerly doubt, as a beginner, that your headed to China, or to Paris but as far as New Zealand, well you know where and what google is.. see what they have to say.. wiki & google two clicks, that's how re-search is done these days !! Good Luck !


Well, I'm in Paris right now which is why I haven't commented on a lot of the responses - 36 hours of travelling and I'm at last reunited with my computer. It was the Eiffel Tower at night thing that brought up the whole question. But a lot of the comments you have all made have been quite helpful for the future. Thank you.
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Old 28-04-2008, 14:09   #30 (permalink)
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Thatcham, Berkshire, UK
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Re: Copyright on buildings..?

lol how bizarre that I chose that example and there you are in Paris. As you will have already realised by now - Great city! You must be having a Ball with your camera.

Have fun!
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