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Question about photographing or drawing famous subjects

 
 
jeryst
 
Reply Thu 24 Aug, 2017 11:11 pm
I am both a photographer and artist, and I have questions about legality.
(1). If I photograph a famous vehicle, or if I make an original drawing of a famous vehicle, am I allowed to sell them? (2). I own a classic car. Am I allowed to take a photograph of my car and sell copies of the photograph, or transfer the photograph to a T-shirt and then sell the shirts? (3). If I buy a licensed toy, and take a photograph of it, am I allowed to sell copies of the photograph?
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Aug, 2017 11:31 am
In general 'yes' to all three. You don't say where you are. Does that mean you're American?
jeryst
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Aug, 2017 02:50 pm
@centrox,
Yes, I am in America.
0 Replies
 
centrox
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Aug, 2017 02:59 pm
I believe that in the USA you own the copyright of original photographs that you took. You may run into issues if you take photographs on private or government (especially military) property, and some companies have tried to prevent the use—both commercially and editorially—of photographs of their buildings or objects via trademark protection or contract law. Examples include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Lone Cypress tree on the 17 Mile Drive at Pebble Beach, CA, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the “Hollywood” sign. While these attempts have been unsuccessful, it can be expensive to litigate them.
jeryst
 
  1  
Reply Sun 27 Aug, 2017 12:34 am
@centrox,
I guess I am just trying to determine how far copyright or trademark protection reaches. Here is my reasoning for my questions above.

(1). People take photos of celebraties all the time and freely sell and/or publish those photos because people in the public eye do not have the same protections that non-celebraties do. So if you can freely take and use photos of people that are in the public eye, why cant you take and use photos of a vehicle that is famous and openly displayed?

(2). If I legally purchase a vehicle, it is mine to do with as I please. I can wreck it, disassemble it, store it, or sell it. I can take photographs of it and publish those photos in order to sell the vehicle, so dont I have the right to sell photographs of it?

(3). The same thing goes for a toy. If I buy an officially licensed toy, it is also my property, so do I not have the right to take a photo of my property and sell that photo?

I'm trying to find out if my reasoning is correct, or if it is not.
centrox
 
  3  
Reply Sun 27 Aug, 2017 01:11 am
@jeryst,
jeryst wrote:
why cant you take and use photos of a vehicle that is famous and openly displayed?

You can take and use photos of a vehicle that is famous and openly displayed.

jeryst wrote:
If I legally purchase a vehicle, it is mine to do with as I please. I can wreck it, disassemble it, store it, or sell it. I can take photographs of it and publish those photos in order to sell the vehicle, so dont I have the right to sell photographs of it?

You do have that right.

jeryst wrote:
If I buy an officially licensed toy, it is also my property, so do I not have the right to take a photo of my property and sell that photo?

You do have that right.

Copyright is not designed to protect a person's likeness (or that of anything you might photograph). In the United States and many other countries, the photographer is automatically granted copyright protection for any photograph he or she takes. So, if you take a photograph of a car, you own the copyright to that photograph.

Exceptions would include photographs that the photographer took as a work-for-hire for some else, in which case that “someone else” (such as a car company that hired the photographer to take the photograph) would be the copyright holder. You may be restricted to how you use that photograph. For example, you would not be able to put that photograph on T-shirts and sell them in such a way that it is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services, in infringement of the car brand’s or car maker’s trademark.

Note that although the above is true to the best of my belief, I am not a lawyer. You could try a more specialized site, such as a photography forum, including, but not limited to, Photography Stack Exchange:

I have read about a situation where a guy went to a custom car show and took pictures of a hot rod and published then on the web (with copyright message embedded) and the owner of the car copied them, removed the copyright messages, and used them, arguing he had the right since it was his car and his customising work that was the subject of the picture. The photographer got a lawyer to write to this guy and he backed down. people may believe they own copyright in pictures of themselves, their property, etc, but unless the item in question is an original work of art, they don't.




jespah
 
  2  
Reply Sun 27 Aug, 2017 10:00 am
@centrox,
Well said. Copyright can be kind of tricky these days because it is so much easier than it was to duplicate photographs as recently as 30 years ago.

You generally will own the artwork you create, unless it was a work for hire, as centrox said. You might want to try talking to the folks at Art Law Journal: https://artlawjournal.com/
jeryst
 
  2  
Reply Sun 27 Aug, 2017 12:11 pm
@jespah,
What brought this all about, is I took a photo of my car and tried to use it on a well-known T-Shirt design site. A warning immediately came up saying that I may be in violation of copyright laws. I tried other photos of vehicles, and got the same warning. So I'm just trying to figure things out.
centrox
 
  2  
Reply Sun 27 Aug, 2017 12:53 pm
@jeryst,
jeryst wrote:
I took a photo of my car and tried to use it on a well-known T-Shirt design site. A warning immediately came up saying that I may be in violation of copyright laws. I tried other photos of vehicles, and got the same warning. So I'm just trying to figure things out.


"May" be in violation... how do they know who took the photo? If you took it you are in the clear. Maybe it's a standard disclaimer thing they tell everyone. to cover their asses. Email them.

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