You're under ARREST!

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by RichA, May 25, 2005.

  1. RichA

    RichA Guest

    RichA, May 25, 2005
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  2. RichA

    Tim Smith Guest

    Very amusing. Come out here to suburban Northern California sometime.
    There is a very large credit card company, whose name I should not
    divulge here on the net (but it begins with a 'V' and has four
    letters), who have built a headquarters here in an unmentionable
    suburb about 24 miles south of San Francisco. On their property, they
    erected a somewhat interesting fountain.

    One day, I tried taking some pictures of said fountain from a public
    sidewalk. I was stopped by a private security guard, who told me that
    taking pictures of the fountain was not allowed. I mentioned that I
    was on a public sidewalk, and could not see any reason for the
    restriction. He was adamant that I could not take pictures of the
    fountain, but at least did not ask me to erase my already-taken
    apparently illicit digital images.

    I asked him the name of the company who had erected the fountain, and
    he told me that he was not allowed to tell me the name of the company
    (nor is it posted anywhere on any of their several buildings).

    It took only a very little bit of sleuthing to find out the name of
    the company. I haven't complained to them, but I suspect that I
    shouldn't publish or use in any public way pictures of their
    public-viewable yet photographically-secret fountain.

    Oh well, the images weren't that interesting anyhow, as it turned out.
    Tim Smith, May 25, 2005
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  3. RichA

    Ryan Robbins Guest

    Why not? We can't preserve our rights unless we exercise them.
    Ryan Robbins, May 25, 2005
  4. RichA

    Tim Smith Guest

    Sorry, was trying to be ironic. The whole episode still sticks in my
    Tim Smith, May 25, 2005
  5. RichA

    Paul Furman Guest

    Paul Furman, May 25, 2005
  6. RichA

    Jer Guest

    Then make it stick in their craw by publishing the photos. Or send them
    to me and I'll publish them and email those twits the URL. I'll quote
    an unamed source for verification.
    Jer, May 25, 2005
  7. Well, for one thing a fountain is likely not an "architectural
    work" covered under 17 USC 120, so you are probably infringing
    on the fountain's copyright.
    Michael Benveniste, May 25, 2005
  8. RichA

    Frank ess Guest

    Perhaps it's time to bring up the Pebble Beach Cypress, the Eiffel
    Tower at night ...

    Here's a list that includes accessible features of the world, which if
    represented photographically might place you at the wrong end of some
    action (apparently at the whim of the copyright holder):
    Frank ess, May 25, 2005
  9. RichA

    Mr. Mark Guest

    It took only a very little bit of sleuthing to find out the name of
    If you were going to sell the images you might need to get a release from
    the owner of the fountain.
    Mr. Mark, May 25, 2005
  10. RichA

    Charlie Self Guest

    I don't doubt that some of the items on the list are really verboten,
    but things like the Flatiron building--erected in 1902--and the various
    vehicle logos are unlikely to be a problem. Any copyright, if that's
    what it is, on the building is long gone--I think at the time it might
    have been copyrighted, it was a 28 year run, with 28 possible as a
    renewal. Copyrights, once lost, cannot be regained. I've shot photos
    for articles of many of the vehicle logos listed and never had a

    Disney? I wouldn't take a single photo of a Disney character for
    publication without an ironclad promise, in writing, that it was OK,
    but as far as shooting kids with the characters for personal use, it
    isn't likely to be a problem. Disney is protective, not stupid. They
    don't want to irk the customers. They don't even ask the parents to
    control the little monsters.

    A lot of the rest would only apply to advertising photography. Logos
    used in news as is the case around here today (a young teacher ran off
    the road on the way to work yesterday--her car hit a tree and became
    three pieces [the wreck killed her]. It doesn't matter what brand the
    car is, though it's unlikely to be a Porsche or Maserati. There's no
    winning a suit where the car logo is reproduced and the company wants
    it retracted).

    Right now, there's a lot of excessive push and shove by security types.
    Suddenly, even rent-a-cops think they have the power to arrest someone,
    or to push them around on public property. They don't. A polite
    reminder that they're vulnerable to losing their income for the rest of
    their lives unless they behave might help in some cases. Rent-a-cops do
    not even have the power of arrest, beyond that of any citizen, on
    property they're hired to protect. I sometimes wonder why they're even
    allowed to carry guns. Use of the weapons would almost certainly result
    in jail time if they weren't protecting themselves from attack.
    Charlie Self, May 25, 2005
  11. Not by merely photographing it. You'd have to do something with the
    photographs to infringe any copyright.
    Ben Rosengart, May 25, 2005
  12. RichA

    Paul Furman Guest

    It might be the law with regard to copyright but I personally think it's
    ridiculous overkill. If they don't want people taking pictures of
    architecture & sculpture, they should not make it visible to the public.
    Isn't that just so obviously preposterous?
    Paul Furman, May 25, 2005
  13. RichA

    RichA Guest

    You were on public property, you should have told the guard to get
    lost. If he'd put his hands on you, you could have sued him and
    you'd have won.
    RichA, May 25, 2005
  14. RichA

    Jeremy Nixon Guest

    In that situation, the appropriate response is to point your camera at
    the moronic "security" guard and take his picture. Be sure to inform
    him that it will be published along with your account of the incident.
    See if he goes away then.
    Jeremy Nixon, May 25, 2005
  15. RichA

    Jer Guest

    ..... and I'd tell that bitch that the fountain picture will also be
    included and watch the little rent-a-shit squirm. The very idea a twit
    like that has any influence over me and what I take a picture of is
    absolutely hilarious.
    Jer, May 26, 2005
  16. RichA

    Paul H. Guest

    So I'm standing on public property with a camera and my eyes are assaulted
    by a clearly viewable display of some idiots' idea of art and I"m supposed
    to worry about the so-called artist's copyright? I can't wait for the "hum
    a copyrighted tune, go to jail" law.

    Hmmm.. You're obviously a member of the class of masochistic bean-counters
    who love using the law to prove they're somebody else's bitch.
    Congratulations, I guess.
    Paul H., May 26, 2005
  17. RichA

    Ryan Robbins Guest

    That argument isn't going to fly in court because the photograph itself is
    copyrighted, and that includes composition, aperture, shutter speed, etc.
    It's also fair use.
    Ryan Robbins, May 26, 2005
  18. RichA

    Tim Smith Guest

    I really didn't have any problem with the security guard per se, he
    was actually a bit apologetic about having to tell me this. When I
    asked the name of the company, and he told me that he couldn't tell me
    that, he said it in a rueful way, like "I'm just doing what they tell
    me to, and I think it's a bit silly too." When I asked him if it was a
    branch of the CIA, he just laughed.

    Apparently all of the employees of this highly secret company have
    been told not to tell outsiders the name of the company, because I
    later asked a couple of professional-looking people (technies, I'd
    guess) who were coming out for their lunch break the name of the
    company, and they too said that they'd been told not to tell.

    Tim Smith, May 26, 2005
  19. You're about a quarter right. A photograph is a copyrightable work,
    and that copyright covers composition.

    However, under section 103 the copyright on the fountain also
    extends to derivitive works, into which category the photograph
    also falls. Copyright law protects far more than exact copies.
    Section 107 covers fair use. The four part rule defined in
    that section is a factual determination and gets applied
    differently in each case.

    Once you publish or publicly display the images, especially
    for profit, a finding of fair use becomes much less likely.

    All of this assumes U.S. law. For the actual statutory
    wording, see:

    The Berne convention is equally clear on derivitive works, but
    even less clear on fair use.
    Michael Benveniste, May 26, 2005
  20. Copyrights for functional buildings are a fairly new concept for
    U.S. law, and 17 USC 120 explicitly permits photographs of
    copyrighted buildings in any case. Since it was built before
    1990, the Flatiron building is not protected by copyright.

    The only way to "lose" a copyright is to explicitly place something
    in the public domain or through the passage of time.

    But the Flatiron building, car logos and the Pebble Beach Cypress
    are all trademarks. It's possible to lose a trademark via
    abandonment, which is very common, or by non-enforcement, which is
    very rare. The scope of trademark protection is quite different
    from copyright. A photograph of a car which includes the
    trademark, even if sold commercially, doesn't necessarily infringe
    on the trademark.

    The Flatiron case was settled out of court, but involved the
    building owners and a different commercial group both using the
    building as a logo.

    Disney characters are protected under both trademark and copyright.
    So even if a miracle occurs and Congress lets "Steamboat Willie"
    age into the public domain, Disney would be all over you if you
    tried to sell Mickey Mouse logo goods.
    Michael Benveniste, May 26, 2005
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