Monday, 6 December 2010

What can you shoot these days? Part 2

In my previous blog I talked about photographs and video submitted to stock libraries being rejected due to copyright restrictions. I have discovered an association called PACA, the Picture Archive Council of America, who "represent the vital interests of stock archives" and have been doing so since 1951!

The association has compiled a list of  "properties and objects that may cause problems if shown photographically". These are mainly in America but some are not. It makes interesting reading and I notice that the Sydney Opera House is missing from the list.

ASMP, the American Society of Media Photographers offer a copyright tutorial which states that buildings may be subject to copyright restrictions "if they were built after December 1, 1990. Before that, buildings did not have copyright protection and were thus, by definition, in the public domain. Shoot away." Ah, so Sydney Opera House should be fair game then.

Of course I am not the first photographer to suffer from SOH syndrome. Simon Phipps managed to get an answer from Sydney Opera House back in 2007 which states, "The Sydney Opera House Trust manages the use of Sydney Opera House’s image and brand on behalf of the New South Wales Government. The Trust vigorously protects the commercial exploitation of its intellectual property and does not approve use of the SOH brand in commercial contexts where there is no association between the relevant business and SOH."

What I would like to know is how a building, especially one built with public funds, can be copyrighted. I wouldn't mind so much about the Opera House but it does fit perfectly in the 16:9 TV format. The (soon to be) tallest building in Europe, The "Shard" being constructed in London will be useless.

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