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Photography Question 
Leland Sonnier

Selling Photos of Headstones

I recently finished a project for a local library to photograph all the headstones in the local cemetery, provide alphabetical access through a computer program, and burn the project onto a CD. I was wondering about my ability to do the same type of thing in other cemeteries; provide a historical record for genealogists/family researchers - are there legal issues with regard to selling photographs of headstones? Would I need to get permission from each relative, from the group maintaining the cemetery, or if it is considered city property? Any guidance would be appreciated.

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8/13/2004 11:34:43 AM

Kim Acheson   I dont honestly know for sure but I would say you would need permision from the cemetary and the family (cloest living relitive). Personaly if I had a child or wife and I saw that you had taken photos of there headstones I would look into what I could do leagly agents you if you didnt concact me first. I might not have a leagle leg to stand on but I would find out. This can be a very personal thing after all.

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8/14/2004 9:37:21 PM

Kevin  Coe   The headstones are on public property and you have every right to take pictures. Some people might not like it but you do have a right to take pictures.

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8/14/2004 11:43:45 PM

Kim Acheson   Are you compleatly sure that cemetary would be public property? I would think that some are public but I belive (cant rember for sure) that some are also owned privatly. I really dont know much of anything about this but why do you buy plots then if they are public? I cant think of any time that someone has bought plots from the city, but then again I really dont know.

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8/14/2004 11:49:56 PM

Leland Sonnier   If a cemetery is on privately owned land, I realize I would have to get permission before taking or selling the photos. Otherwise, the headstones are on public property and, though it sounds odd, are the same as a building (my position). I'm taking the photos for historical documentation, though I realize it does sound morbid.

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8/15/2004 3:48:10 PM

Kevin  Coe   If you can walk on the property without permission then you can photograph it unless signs say you cannot. If you are not allowed to photograph inside you can shoot from outside on public property although I doubt you want to do this. Look at how the paparazzi stays in business. They never ask to photograph people but since they are on public propery they can photograph who they want.

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8/15/2004 7:54:21 PM

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