Club photos copyright question..

Discussion in 'photography, graphics & art' started by Chi, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    I disagree. People seem to be confusing their right to photograph with rights to profit. Copyright is simply about protecting reproduction rights. Anyone has the right to photograph the dog. I would argue that they do not have the right to produce prints, or postcards for profit without the consent of the creator of the outfit (the dogs owner) and the 'art' in the medium it is being expressed. The dog in pilgrims outfit was not your idea. Not your creation. By stealing the image with your camera for commercial use you are violating Copyright of the artist/creator.

    Costumes are recognised as Copyright if the costume is an original creation, or has commercial value within the photograph. Clothing cannot be copyrighted if it does not carry a logo, or trademark, or unique design. But, a costume does have Copyright protection. I would also argue that the dog in costume is actually a 'fixed expression in a tangible medium' - the costume has a contextual relationship to a very permanent environment.
  2. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    Here is the crux of your misunderstanding.

    You have every right to believe, in terms of morals and principles and ethics, that a photographer should not profit from the dog's image without sharing that profit with the dog's owner. Whether i agree with you on that or not, you are perfectly entitled to your opinion on the matter.

    But copyright is a legal term, with specific and rather clearly articulated legal limitations and definitions. Without a government and a legal mechanism to create and protect it, copyright essentially does not exist and is not enforceable. And it is here that you are wrong. While you might disagree with the idea of profiting from the dog owner's little tableau, and you are entitled to your beliefs and your preferences on this matter, the copyright laws of the United States and of the United Kingdom do not support your preferences here.

    I would also like to see some evidence for your assertion that "Costumes are recognised as Copyright if the costume is an original creation, or has commercial value within the photograph." I am willing to concede, because i am not so familiar with UK law, that you might be correct for the UK. But you are incorrect for the United States.

    Title 17 of the US Code, in determining eligibility for copyright protection of "pictorial, graphical and sculptural works," draws a clear distinction between those works and what the law refers to as "useful articles."
    Because copyright is designed to protect creative expression in the interest not only of the authors of such work, but of the public as a whole, the government recognizes that allowing all utilitarian objects to be the subject of copyright would effectively stifle innovation. As the US Congress noted in a 1976 report on the subject:
    This is the sort of logic that courts in the United States have consistently applied in cases regarding the copyright protections afforded to clothing and costumes. There were a number of legal rulings in the 1980s where clothing and costumes were explicitly ruled to be "useful articles" because, even if they exhibited artistic qualities, their primary purpose was utilitarian. There were a few borderline cases, where some pieces of clothing were deemed fanciful and recognizable enough to qualify as a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work deserving of copyright. One was the creation of a "slipper depicting a bear's foot."

    What Congress meant, when it talked about the "separable" elements, is that some aspects of costumes or clothing might be protected by copyright if, when separated from the clothing, they constitute an independent work of art. So, for example, fabric designs (but not simply colors) are protected by copyright. If you produced a fabric with a new and unique design, using a specific pattern of shapes and color, you would be protected by copyright. But if you used that fabric to make a jacket, you still don't get copyright protection for the jacket, because it is defined as a "useful article." Going even further, if i designed the cloth, and you created the jacket, the only person protected by copyright, under US law, would be me, because only the cloth qualifies as a "pictorial, graphic, [or] sculptural work" under US copyright law. The jacket does not.

    The Library of Congress, which has the authority to issue policy decisions about how US copyright law will be applied, confirmed all of this in a 1991 decision (PDF document), which is where most of my quotations in this post come from. In this decision, based on an examination of the law, of prior court decisions, and of the public interest in the workings of copyright, the Library of Congress decided that masks would NOT be treated as useful articles, and would therefore be subject to copyright protection. They decided also that clothing, including costumes, would remain as useful articles, and therefore not subject to copyright protection, unless they met the test of separability, discussed above. Here is the policy summary from the document:
    As you can see, not even all masks will qualify. A purely utilitarian mask, without a minimum level of pictorial and/or sculptural qualities, would still not be protected by copyright or eligible for registration.

    It is worth noting that, even if clothing is not generally protected by copyright, it can be, and often is, protected by patents and trademarks. But that's a different area than the one we are talking about, and it's also something that i don't feel qualified to talk about with any real confidence. It also would not apply in the case of your guy with a dog.

    Once again, i offer the caveat that this is the US case only. You might be right for the UK, but your discussion of this case so far has been rather long on personal opinion and rather short on facts and evidence as it pertains to copyright law.

    As for your argument that "the dog in costume is actually a 'fixed expression in a tangible medium'," there is almost certainly no court in the United States that would agree with you. I can't speak for Britain.

    That would not, of course, prevent you from filing a lawsuit. One of the great [note: irony] things about the American legal system is that you can sue just about anyone for just about anything. The question, though, is whether you actually have a semblance of a case, or will be thrown (or laughed) straight out of court. But you could definitely sue.

    Who knows? You might even win. With so many American jurisdictions using elected judges, we have more than our fair share of morons sitting on the bench, and a cursory examination of the American justice system will show you that just about anything is possible.
    FridgeMagnet likes this.
  3. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    Yep. Knew I was right.

    Let the man who spotted the opportunity to make good business continue. His idea realised. Just because you have a nice camera and know how to press the shutter release button does not mean you have a right to profit from his work.

    Very nice guy BTW. His original dog died after 13 years. Very happy dogs - they really enjoy the attention.

    He won his court case.
  4. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    Apparently, in addition to being unaware of the meaning of copyright, you are also unaware of the meaning of "right."
    Evidence, please.
  5. wiskey

    wiskey Albatross Admirer


    Sorry nothing to add on copyright but ... lolz
    editor, muscovyduck and mhendo like this.
  6. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    Actually, never mind about answering my last post, Stanley.

    I think wiskey's post says it all. You're clearly just trolling and taking the piss now, not making any genuine effort at discussion. I'm not going to bother with any more rational discussion, because you're clearly not interested.
  7. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    Does that not also imply that you have no right to profit from an architect's work, by painting it? :confused:
  8. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    No. I dont think so. You would have to do a lot of paintings to profit.
  9. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    As opposed to taking a picture of a dog in stupid jacket, which is going to open the cash floodgates, right? :rolleyes:
    Winot and eoin_k like this.
  10. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    Yep. Sort of.

    The guy with the dog had a vision to make a small income from business. He realised that vision. Made it a tangible, copyrightable reality.
  11. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    Surely the amount of profit isn't the question. The mere fact that you have profited from another person's work is the question, and your argument?
  12. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    You are wrong. That's not a matter of opinion. You have no fucking idea what you're talking about. You are equating your own fantasy of how things ought to be with the reality of how things actually are.

    Are you always this idiotic and obtuse, or is it just on this particular subject? I know i've seen you in quite a few other threads, but i've never noticed this level of irrationality before.
    muscovyduck and editor like this.
  13. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.


    I doubt very much if an architect is going to chase an artist for a share of €500 though. They would more likely make the most of the respect the artist has given them.

    This thread is about Copyright. Copyright is ultimately only worth protecting for money with money.
  14. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    About which you clearly have no idea whatsoever.
    laptop, muscovyduck and editor like this.
  15. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    Not at all.

    The reality of how things actually are is how things actually are. No fantasising here.
  16. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    You refuse to read, and accept the views of specialist lawyers I have posted links to here. I have many years experience as a commercial photographer, fine art photographer, and artist generally. Knowing Copyright issues is my business. I know them better than most lawyers.
  17. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    Emphasis mine.

    I would be happy to read some actual evidence. In fact, i've asked you for it on more than one occasion.

    I have just been through every single post that you have made in this thread. There is not a single link in any of your posts, let alone a link to a lawyer specializing in copyright law. All you have done in this discussion is make a series of unsubstantiated and often asinine assertions.
    muscovyduck likes this.
  18. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    You are not very dilligent are you?
  19. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    Fuck off, troll.
  20. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    No troll.

    Been here for years upsetting folk by questioning their view of whatever.

    You have ignored the links I have posted to advice from recognised, respected, international lawyers and then pointed fingers at me for being delluded, or summat :confused:

    You think you can steal peoples art on the click of a shutter release, then you are very wrong.
  21. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    Actually, Mr. Edwards, I agree with mhendo. You do seem to be confusing copyright with ethos.
    muscovyduck, editor and laptop like this.
  22. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    Nope. I am not confusing. Perhaps (in this instance) I am coming from an artists perspective as opposed to a photographers perspective, but Copyright is Copyright regardless. I am not confusing anything. People are confusing their right to photograph with right to Copyright.
  23. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    Sorry, but I do think you are confused. Unless you sign over the copyright to a third party, the copyright remains with the copyright holder, eg. the photographer. Profiting from those photographs might be a grey area, but it doesn't alter the fact that the person who pushes the shutter release is the copyright holder.
  24. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

    There is absolutely no point in contesting Copyright if it is not for financial gain.
  25. Stanley Edwards

    Stanley Edwards 1967 Maserati Mistral. R.I.P.

  26. Saul Goodman

    Saul Goodman It's all good, man

    Regardless of financial gain, copyright does not automatically pass to anyone without prior consent.
  27. laptop

    laptop Freudenschade

    Hired != employed.

    & what others said: Hired without a contract that assigns copyright == keep copyright == good idea.
  28. mhendo

    mhendo Aussie in Connecticut

    You have, i now realize, posted a single link in this thread before your most recent post. Your link was to a conversation called Photography and Copyright Law. It is indeed a good link, with information provided by a recognized copyright lawyer. It is talking only about US law, and thus has very little bearing on what would happen in the UK, but it is still a good resource for understanding the principles of copyright as applied to photography.

    I agree with everything that the copyright lawyer in that interview says. And almost nothing that she says supports the arguments that you have been making about copyright here, especially not with regards to your idiotic example of the guy with the dog. She also recognizes that copyright is a rather specific set of legal rules and requirements, and that what is allowed under copyright law might not actually be the same thing as what Stanley Edwards wishes for. It's a shame that you appear incapable of making the same distinction.
    muscovyduck, editor and laptop like this.
  29. laptop

    laptop Freudenschade

    The thing about taking photos from "a place accessible to the public" is that the act is permitted. Nothing to do with the copyright in any photos.

    If you gatecrash the wedding of a sleb who's struck a deal with Hello!... You may still hold copyright in pics you take, but you may also get sued if you sell them.
  30. sim667

    sim667 Licking windows on the 303 bus.

    That would only happen if you managed to sneak into the wedding.

    If you take the photo from ground which is public and not part of the event, then there's no issue with selling the images..... If there was there'd be no paparazzi industry.

    Edit. Rereading your post I think that's what you said and I just misunderstood
    laptop likes this.

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