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Photography Question 
Christopher L. Sutherland
 

Selling Pictures of Sculptures


A few months ago, I took some pictures of sculptures. The artist allowed me full access to everything that was outside his home. My sister -in-law and her husband run a restaurant, and she has suggested I display my pictures for sale in the restaurant. What sort of laws do I need to be aware of? Do the publicly displayed sculptures fall under the same sort of guidelines/laws as a public buildings would (examples Eiffel Tower, White House, Alamo)? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


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1/7/2007 9:13:59 AM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  No, the copyright laws are totally different when it comes to photography of public buildings vs. sculptures or works of art. Federal copyright law allows the photography of buildings that can be seen from a public vantage point however this does not apply to sculptures or other works of art that may be on the building property or even adorn the building itself. You did the right thing by asking for permission, now go back and get a signed relesase.
Ray


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1/7/2007 9:48:10 AM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Yep, Chris. Ray is absolutely right. While a verbal authorization is good, to protect yourself from a copyright infringement action later, in case the sculptor changes his mind, you need a signed "property release". You can get them at Web sites like ASMP.org and GettyImages.com. A handy discussion of the law is at http://www.copyright.gov or in terms of people model releases, http://www.simslaw.com/model/model_releases.htm#When
Take it light.
Mark


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1/7/2007 10:03:42 AM

 
John Rhodes
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/24/2005
  Chris, I would add only one suggestion to the above requirements: When I ask for a signed release, I always give the property owner a copy of the print matted and bagged as a thank you gift. There is one thing that someone might clarify for me: Do you need a separate release for each piece of sculpture (in this case), or will a general release for all items on the property suffice?
John


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1/7/2007 2:10:01 PM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  Since each piece has an individual copyright, I would get a release that details each piece approved for release. I would go as far to attach a photo to the release of each sculpture approved for release as well. What do you think, Mark?


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1/7/2007 2:48:14 PM

 
Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Oh, absolutely, guys. Good thinking!!! I should have mentioned that. Just a release that says something like "all the sculptures I photographed in your front yard on Sunday" isn't sufficient by any means. So, Chris, your releases need to be specific for the property the artist is approving you use.
And while John's suggestion about about giving a gift print is a good one, that could get to be an expensive proposition depending on how many shots you're talking about. Nice thought, though, but you could end up building the artist's portfolio for him/her. Maybe some samples, a few matted prints of your favorite sculptures??? Dunno. Never been in that situation before.
Take it light. Have a great week!!!
Mark


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1/7/2007 4:50:02 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  short of something freezing over..
sounds fair to me.
yeah


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1/7/2007 7:48:10 PM

 
David Stephenson   Question: What are the copyright conventions for photos of individuals involved in athletic competitions?


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1/11/2007 8:54:30 AM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  Samuel:

I'm not too clear as to what you are asking. Do you mean copyrights of a photograph of the person you photographed? Or can you photograph indivduals in athletic competitions?

Ray


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1/11/2007 12:07:51 PM

 
David Stephenson   Sorry about that. I mean: often photos I have taken on the field (action shots) are published in newspapers or magazines ... I imagine there's no issue there.

But what if an advertising agency wants to use one of the action photos, with a recognizable face, on a billboard for example. Do the rights belong to the photographer, because it was a public event or do they belong to the athlete?

Dave


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1/11/2007 12:49:44 PM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  You’re correct about the newspaper, magazines or any other editorial content. Typically no release is required. However, using the athlete’s photo for advertisement is going to require a signed release from the athlete since the photo will be used to promote trade or commerce.

Now the copyrights of photograph belong to the photographer until he/she assigns the rights to someone else, but using the photo to promote trade or commerce is going to require a signed release from the athlete. Being photographed in a public place does not allow one a free pass to the athlete’s “right to publicity.”

Ray


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1/11/2007 1:11:44 PM

 
Ben M. Trapnell
BenTrapnell.com
  Re the response from Mark F, giving the person a print is an important part of the transaction of getting the release. I think there is a portion of most releases that implies that there was some form of "consideration" made when the release is signed. In that way, it becomes a "contract" and carries a bit more weight. Can anyone confirm this?


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1/11/2007 1:52:31 PM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  I think Mark was referencing the giving of a copy of the print more as a token of thanks than one of contractual consideration. I really don't know on that one, I'm not an attorney. It would seem to me that having a properly detailed signed release should be sufficent.

Ray


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1/11/2007 2:09:53 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  i wasn't asking anything ray.you and mark agreed.(something freezing over).
you have it right ray.
photos,ben,are a gift.gift.one more time,gift.no release,no maka money.
a to the point thread,nice.
more clarity ben.nothing and I mean nothing is implied in a contract or release unless it is stated as such.
it does not become a contract or carry any more weight than a handshake.which means it won't stand up in court.
yet ray you maybe assumed that each piece had an individual copyright?hmmm.
i miss something,sam


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1/11/2007 9:14:44 PM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  Hello Sam! Yeah when I responded to David S. and accidently used your name. Me boo boo.

Sure each piece is coyrighted just like each photograph you take is copyrighted. The release should spell out each piece by description or name of piece.

Ray


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1/12/2007 5:13:28 AM

 
Ben M. Trapnell
BenTrapnell.com
  The last photo release form I used started like this:

In consideration for value received, receipt whereof is acknowledged, I hereby give photographer’s name goes here the absolute right and permission to publish, copyright and use pictures of me in which I may be included in whole or in part, composite or retouched in character or form, in conjunction with (initial those applicable):.......

I wonder why nearly every release I've seen has had such wording in it.....

I guess Chris didn't mention what he was going to use the photos for...oh, wait a minute... he did say the photo were going to be sold.....to make money...


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1/12/2007 5:56:03 AM

 
David Stephenson   Ray,

Thanks for the distinction between editorial content and 'for trade or commerce' ... and 'the right to publicity'.

Dave


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1/12/2007 6:12:51 AM

 
Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  You're most welcome Dave. Glad to be of help!

Ray


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1/12/2007 10:24:53 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  me yogi,eh boo boo.
I never saw where the sculptures were even copyrighted,wether as a piece or individualy.
anyway an inclusive release would include all sculptures.kinda like an estate sale that mentions all objects herin.
um david,publicity is a very grey area.
are you showing expertise in your photographic ability?or are you using this for advertisement?makin money.


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1/12/2007 7:44:23 PM

 
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