10 Famous Landmarks You’re Not Allowed to Photograph for Commercial Use

Nov 13, 2014

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.

10 Famous Landmarks You’re Not Allowed to Photograph for Commercial Use

Nov 13, 2014

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.

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ten famous landmarks you're not allowed to photograph jp danko toronto commercial advertising editorial photographer

Having just returned from Paris, I spent some time photographing a few of the world’s most famous landmarks.

Some of these photos are just my personal vacation photos and will only be seen by me (and maybe my Facebook friends…DIYP readers…Facebook friends of DIYP readers…).  But, a few of them will end up being sold commercially as royalty free stock through my stock portfolio over at Stocksy United.

If you are a photographer, and especially if you are a commercial photographer (commercial in the general sense that you take photographs or sell photographs for money), you should be aware of the copyright restrictions for landmarks, buildings, architecture, art and other intellectual property.

Keep reading, because like this restriction on publishing photographs of the Eiffel Tower at night, there are more weird copyright restrictions for landmarks, buildings, architecture, art and other intellectual property than you might think.

Getty Images Intellectual Property Wiki

Getty Images has published an extremely useful guide to help determine when a property release is required for publication of photographs of famous landmarks and other intellectual property.

You can find the complete guide here: Getty Images Intellectual Property Wiki

According to the entry for general location photography:

As a general rule, permission should always be sought when shooting on private property.  Therefore a property release is required for creative collections.  And consent or a permit for Editorial collections.

Also as a general rule, places that charge an admission fee or require a ticket for entry usually require special permission for commercial photography.  Consent should be sought.  These locations are therefore problematic in all collections both Editorial and Creative.  They should be completely avoided in Royalty-Free content, while some may be suitable for Rights-managed or Editorial with the proper consent.  Some locations may be free to enter (like certain museums or historical properties), but imagery taken inside may still be problematic.  Do your research prior to shooting.

Exterior shots of many locations and buildings as street scenes may be suitable for RF and RM creative collections.

Exterior shots are generally acceptable as Editorial content provided the structures featured within the shots abide by editorial standards (i.e. no copyrighted works).

When shooting private residences, even if off the grounds of the property, a property release should be sought for all creative collections.

ten famous landmarks you're not allowed to photograph jp danko toronto commercial advertising editorial photographer

10 Famous Landmarks You’re Not Allowed to Photograph for Commercial Use

Now that we know the basics of when a property release is required, lets look at a few weird exceptions that you might not expect.

1. The Eiffel Tower At Night

As we previously shared here, photographs of the Eiffel Tower during the day are pas de problème.  But once the street lights come on – the Eiffel Tower is off limits – unless the tower is part of a city scene and not the main focus.

2. The Louvre

Another famous Paris landmark, except photographs of both the interior and exterior of the Louvre and IM Pei’s Pyramid are not allowed day or night.  However, images of the Louvre and Pyramid may be used for editorial content where the building is not the subject or constitutes a small portion of the image (like in the lead photo for this article).

3. Notre Dame de Paris

Staying en France, the exterior of Notre Dame de Paris – c’est bonne, but the interior requires permission.  I have seen photos taken from the Notre Dame bell tower tour (ie. not accessible from a public location) in royalty free collections that feature some of the Notre Dame gargoyles and city scape, so I guess as long as its the exterior they are still OK – even if you had to obtain permission (by paying for a tour ticket) to get access to take the photo.

4. Burning Man Festival

Who knew that a temporary city in the middle of a desert could be copyrighted?  Well, photographs of the Burning Man Festival including the grounds, structures and identifiable features within the temporary Black Rock City are all restricted.

5. Hollywood Sign

The Hollywood Sign is in countless movies and postcard photos – but they all either received permission or are in violation of the sign’s copyright.

6. Las Vegas Hotels

Vegas is just down the road from LA – but unlike the Hollywood Sign, photography featuring the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign are not restricted by copyright…but photos of all of the famous Las Vegas Hotels on the strip are.

7. Sydney Opera House

Jumping over to Australia – photographs featuring the Sydney Opera House are restricted.  However, photographs of the city scape or wide vista photos where the Sydney Opera House is visible may be usable.

8. Ayers Rock

The Australians have even found a way to copyright nature.  Photography of Ayers Rock (Uluru and Kata Tjuta) is restricted.  Apparently even taking photos of one of the most famous features associated with Australia is illegal.  Try figuring out how that works.

9. Maps, Globes and Atlases

While you’re traveling, don’t bother taking any photos of your Maps, Globes and Atlases – they protected by copyright.

10. Queen Elizabeth

OK – so the Queen isn’t a famous landmark, but we are not amused.  While rock stars and celebrities repeatedly try to restrict the use of their likeness, it seems only Queen Elizabeth II has succeeded in copyrighting herself.

In fact, the Queen’s copyright is so restrictive that you can’t even photograph currency that contains the Queen’s likeness.

ten famous landmarks you're not allowed to photograph jp danko toronto commercial advertising editorial photographer


While we’re talking about money – just in case you find one in your wallet, the US Million Dollar Bill has a registered copyright and is strictly off limits to commercial photographers.

What Is Your Favorite Famous Landmark That You’re Not Allowed to Photograph?

If you have some time to spare, it really is worthwhile to browse through the entire Getty Images Intellectual Property Wiki.

It is fascinating to find out which famous landmarks are protected by copyright – I am sure that there are a ton more strange copyright protected famous landmarks that could be added to the list.

Leave a comment below and let us know which one is your favorite.

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JP Danko

JP Danko

JP Danko is a commercial photographer based in Toronto, Canada. JP can change a lens mid-rappel, swap a memory card while treading water, or use a camel as a light stand. To see more of his work please visit his studio website blurMEDIAphotography, or follow him on Twitter, 500px, Google Plus or YouTube. JP’s photography is available for licensing at Stocksy United.

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134 responses to “10 Famous Landmarks You’re Not Allowed to Photograph for Commercial Use”

  1. Báthori Zsigmond Avatar
    Báthori Zsigmond

    slowly we will end up to sitting between the four walls isolated and take reluctantly selfies in order not to breake any of the stupidly invented rules…

    1. David Liang Avatar
      David Liang

      You’d probably have to give yourself written consent before being able to take said selfie, and probably a separate consent to publish it on social media. lol

    2. Rex Deaver Avatar
      Rex Deaver

      And just how willing are you to have someone use your photographs without your permission? Amazingly enough, copyright has been around for hundreds of years, and yet creative people have managed to create.

      1. Larry Stauth Avatar
        Larry Stauth

        Actually, it has been well published, that if many of the Renaissance Artists were under the same copyright, model release and trademark restrictions, it would essentially wipe out 2/3rds of the existing art.

        Of course, Van Gogh was the original selfie artist.

        1. Louise Reeves Avatar
          Louise Reeves

          No, he was preceded by Rembrandt and DaVinci.

          1. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            lol, well, it was more in context to the style, not the meaning, all of DaVinci’s and Rembrandt’s self portraits were pretty straight forward, but Van Gogh’s are a bit out of the box..

            but, yes, you would be correct…

    3. ziplock9000 Avatar

      Only if everyone signed model release forms first!!! lol

    4. Jonas Astorson Avatar
      Jonas Astorson

      actually… selfies i wouldn’t mind seeing banned. ;)

    5. Tom Avatar

      Make sure you’re not wearing any trademarked logos on your shirt.

    6. ScottDonald Avatar

      Let’s not forget that COMMERCIAL photographers make up less than 5% of all photographers. Thus, this is really not an issue. In most COMMERCIAL cases you don’t want an identifiable landmark in the photo anyway as it will take away from the product or service being photographed.

      1. Larry Stauth Avatar
        Larry Stauth

        Yeah, that because 60% of the people calling themselves photographers work on paid gig a year and still try to shoot sports with a Canon Rebel and kit zoom lens.

      2. Larry Stauth Avatar
        Larry Stauth

        BTW, Journalism is actually a high percentage of photographers, and they also encompass the area of “Commercial” photography, especially if they are doing a piece on the buildings.

        1. hussey Avatar

          News reporting is actually NOT considered commercial use and does have rights and responsibilities outside of the scope of these concerns.

          1. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            First off, Journalism encompasses all known forms of photography. It is absolutely commercial in usage and style. Can’t tell you the number of times I have had to do Feature shots of business’. Heck, even Sports Illustrated runs Feature Articles on team front offices, that are absolutely Commercial Photography.

            And once again, the type of replication is not exempted. There are no clauses for the type of work, only the purpose and usage, which is, commercial (for profit) and private. And keeping in mind, we are also talking about the Trademark and Copyright, which is two separate laws and differ in scope, based on age, how it was made and identifiable traits. It also differs, if the protected entity is the main focus or part of overall reproduction.

            But simple, it doesn’t matter if it’s a charcoal sketch, photograph or even a full scale reproduction. Fine example of that can be found in Las Vegas, were they tried to reproduce many Iconic landmarks, most notably, the Statue of Liberty, which is trademarked… when the artist was trying to reproduce it, they had to make a certain percentage of differences from the original, or risk violation of the trademark laws. It must be uniquely different in view form all possible angles.

            Journalist also frequent physical locations, like marked anniversaries. And they are still liable under the same laws, the only difference is they have a stronger case for Fair Use (in the areas that acknowledge it). But there is only one possible out, but the Editors are not likely to be happy about using it.. and that is, you must be able (in a Civil Court), be able to prove you attempted to get permission and the publication deadlines prevented it.

            Second, the law views commercial photography as anything for profit. But Commercial Photography (as a style) is a bit more narrow, and it is anything to promote a business and/or product… but the question is.. why would you be taking Commercial shots, without consent of the owner, considering they would actually be the bulk of your revenue potential?

            This is also why, nearly all the photojournalists I know are surviving the digital age, by moving into the style of Commercial Photography, simply because it is such a natural transition.

          2. Michael Clark Avatar
            Michael Clark

            You are confusing Commercial Photography (as a style) with the Commercial Usage of a photograph. Even if a photograph is taken in a commercial style, if it is used in an editorial manner (as most photojournalists’ photos are used) then it is not considered Commercial Usage.

          3. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            Actually, I directly stated I was talking about commercial usage.

            Since both print, and live feeds are accompanied by advertisement, along with the newspapers having a cost to readers, the material to promote is classified, by legal definition, as Commercial usage.

            I am a Photojournalist, by trade. Member of the NAPP, as well.

            Yes, they do have the “editorial” clause, for Breaking News, but NOT File Art usage and not Featured articles… but fortunately, the foundations generally allow for permission.

            I can assure you, every Editor, worth their salt, will make sure they have (at the very least) verbal permission, if not written.

            Publications, like Sports Illustrated, NewYorker and National Geographic not only require it, it has to be received before they accept photos to their ftp inbox.

          4. Art Hodges Avatar
            Art Hodges

            Larry, since you’ve referred to a “legal definition” of commercial usage, perhaps you would care to share where this is defined. Most liability that photographers encounter where the distinction between ‘editorial’ and ‘commercial’ use matters is in the area of privacy torts, not copyright. Commercial appropriation, is why we get releases from people, and it’s a privacy matter defined by state and local laws. In this context, I don’t know of a single jurisdiction that defines journalism as commercial use.

            So please, since you apparently have this legal definition, please let us know in which law or precedent we can find it.

          5. hussey Avatar

            Usage accompanied by advertisements has no bearing on whether it is editorial or commercial in nature.

          6. Michael Clark Avatar
            Michael Clark

            So every identifiable athlete (pretty easy to identify since they wear numbered jerseys in most sports) and every identifiable fan in the stands has to sign off on a written release before SI will run an image from a game? Just please.

          7. hussey Avatar

            You’re making up what you know based on misinterpretations of random articles. For instance, the Statue of Liberty is NOT trademarked or copyrighted and is free to use. The Las Vegas version was updated and “modernized” and is NOT free to use, being a separate and new copyrighted artwork. You’ve probably seen the articles on the postage stamp and how the postal service was sued for using the las vegas version.
            The law does NOT view commercial photography as anything for profit. Profit has nothing to do with it.

    7. Larry Stauth Avatar
      Larry Stauth

      These rules have actually been around awhile. The article does not suggest you can’t take a picture of it, you just can’t use it for Commercial purposes, without permission…

      As in, you ask them. Many times, they may charge a fee and wish disclosure, but seriously… they are someone else’s work.

  2. aaronbrethorst Avatar

    Same with the Space Needle here in Seattle.

  3. Kevin Crosby Avatar
    Kevin Crosby

    Jus cuz it’s in the neighborhood, Graceland….

  4. sam b Avatar
    sam b

    Shooting COMMERCIAL photography at Uluru in Australia is only restricted to needing a permit (with some fees required): http://www.environment.gov.au/resource/media-and-artists-0. This site is of particular cultural importance to its traditional indigenous owners and they have requested this process for commercial use. Photography by artists and others for NON-COMMERCIAL use is unrestricted, apart from where one is allowed to wander about, on site.

    1. hussey Avatar

      This is the case for a lot of the places of concern here in the USA as well. The story gets traction with a misleading headline “US public park institutes new prohibition on photography” and then all of a sudden everyone thinks you aren’t allowed to take pictures there. When the reality is exactly as you put it, you only need a permit if you’re shooting a film or bringing in a crew, etc.. and has no bearing on 99.9% of the visitors wishing to take pictures there.
      The news sources get paid when their stories go wide, so it encourages such bad reporting. This very article is pretty close to that exact thing, but at least the headline is pretty much accurate.

  5. Gábor Baráth Avatar
    Gábor Baráth

    Who? Me? At Uluru? No. : 10 Famous Landmarks You’re Not Allowed to Photograph for Commercial Use – http://t.co/ZrClR6IU5T

  6. ziplock9000 Avatar

    They can’t legally stop you if you shoot from a public place unless there’s some subtle twist in the law that is quite specific to the location.

    1. Seska Avatar

      Being allowed to photograph in a public place is not the same thing as allowing commercial photography.

      1. hussey Avatar

        Photography isn’t commercial until the image is used technically!
        But if you’re bringing a crew and lights, etc.., it can be deemed proof enough of your intent.

  7. Ralph Hightower Avatar
    Ralph Hightower

    Seriously, a sewer drain cover is on the list?

  8. Amaryllis Avatar

    Oh gawd, that French! It’s not ‘c’est bonne’, it should be either ‘c’est bon’ or ‘c’est correct’! The C in this case is an impersonal thing like ‘it’, so it doesn’t have a gender, meaning the adjective after it is masculine.

    (Sorry that my comment is only about that, this just stood out to me a lot xD My English isn’t perfect either, so yeah.)

  9. Mr. Brimm Avatar
    Mr. Brimm

    Lone Cyprus Pebble Beach

    1. ScottDonald Avatar

      and yes Pebble Beach sues to protect its trademark/copyright every single month

    2. mobycat Avatar

      This is what pops in my mind before anything else with regards to this subject.

  10. Jackobo Avatar

    The Acropolis of Athens.

    1. gtp Avatar

      Are you sure about that? I don’t think that there is any restriction in taking pics of it.
      More details are welcome!

      1. Jackobo Avatar

        According to Greek law, you cannot commercially publish photographs of monuments, unless you get (and pay for) a permit.

        If the law is followed by the publishers, is another matter!

  11. panoptic Avatar

    There is no such thing as a US million dollar bill. Any million dollar bill would be either a flagrant attempt at forgery, or a work of art.

  12. TOTO Avatar

    Luneta Park and BGC in Manila Philippines should be on the list… This “No Photography” rules is a crazy law

  13. TOTO Avatar

    Luneta Park and BGC in Manila Philippines should be on the list… This “No Photography” rules is a crazy law

    Even your photographs is for you family and friends and not for commercial pusposes, here in Manila, specially in Luneta “PARK” is against the law.

  14. hussey Avatar

    Another article that inadvertently misleads people on the issues. It’s all in how you USE the image. For instance, you CAN photograph money featuring the queen, contrary to your exact words, you just can’t use the images for commercial purposes.

    1. Larry Stauth Avatar
      Larry Stauth

      There is not provision, in ANY country, where you can make a photographic copy of ANY money…

      As for use of the images.. maybe you should have read the full title of the article ”

      As in the last two words already say, in fact, that the entire article has to do with “for Commercial Photography”…

      1. hussey Avatar

        Yes, the title is accurate, but the wording within is misleading and not correct. As someone who has to constantly read misinformed comments on various groups regarding these issues, I feel I must speak up with I come across it. The devil is in the details. For instance, a cop might read this and incorrectly think that they have the right or obligation to stop someone from photographing these things.

        Btw, taking a picture of money isn’t making a copy. The article doesn’t talk about making copies. In fact, taking a photograph says nothing about the USE of the images at all, so, in reality, this whole article is pretty much moot given the intended audience.

        1. Larry Stauth Avatar
          Larry Stauth

          The sub-heading also reflects the same basic thought.

          Sorry, but not sure what you expect, for them to end every sentence with… “regarding commercial usage”? Sorry, there is some liability towards the reader, and the ability.

          Especially since the details on the 10 items, talks about exceptions and clauses, as they relate.

          “Btw, taking a picture of money isn’t making a copy.”

          Seriously… if you are not creating the original, what you creating is, in fact a copy… sorry, but I found it funny, you would actually not know that, because it brings your intelligence into question.

          “In fact, taking a photograph says nothing about the USE of the images at all”

          Seriously placing your intelligence into question! There are only three general usages… private (for yourself), editorial (to illustrate a story) and commercial (for profit). Editorial can, encompass Commercial, since for profit has gotten more general with the advancement of technology and introduction of Social Media.

          As in, the Usage IS not only stated, it is implied, directly… sorry, but you rally have to be unable to read, to not get that…

          1. hussey Avatar

            No, it isn’t implied.

            Go reread the article and you’ll see all the places it basically says “you cannot take pictures of _____.” It can’t get much clearer really. And it is wrong.

            For example, “While you’re traveling, don’t bother taking any photos of your Maps, Globes and Atlases – they protected by copyright.” There is nothing illegal about taking a picture of your map.

            And taking a picture of money isn’t making a copy of it. Is taking a picture of you making a copy of you?

          2. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            “And taking a picture of money isn’t making a copy of it.”

            It is by the letter of the law.

            “Is taking a picture of you making a copy of you?”

            It is making a copy of my likeness, by legal definition.

            There is a section, at the start of any/all laws, where they actually define the terms. You might actually try looking up the statues, instead of trying to prove me wrong, after all, I have been involved in the industry since the mid 1980’s and I have had too many judges and/or lawyers explain it to me, in detail… if you are ever in Oregon, I would be happy to show you the clerical boxes full of lawsuits, and judgments on the issue, so you can read for yourself, exactly what the law entails.

          3. hussey Avatar

            I’ve looked it up already once. If you think there’s more to it then you’ll have to look up these imaginary statutes and definitions yourself.

      2. catlett Avatar

        There is a contradiction before the comments section “WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE FAMOUS LANDMARK THAT YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO PHOTOGRAPH?” There are some things you totally are not allowed to photograph because they are not viewable from a public space but statements like the above are what add to the confusion. I am 100% allowed to take a photo of the Eiffel Tower at night. What I am not allowed to do legally is use the image for commercial purposes.

        1. Larry Stauth Avatar
          Larry Stauth

          Sorry Catlett, but you would have to be either reaching for an argument or really only looking at that single statement, to not get that the article’s discussion, mainly that referring to the Eiffel Tower, was directed towards the Commercial Use of images.

          Including the fact that the article above, goes into details of the limitations on shots of the Eiffel Tower.

          The limitations also differ by the actual legal specifics of the foundations copyright and trademarks.

          Such as the Eiffel Tower at night. Yes, you can take all you wish, and hang on your wall, save on your computer.

          “What I am not allowed to do legally is use the image for commercial purposes.”

          Actually, it’s more broad, beyond your direct usage, the image can’t be used in any form of commercial usage, even if it’s indirect.

          As in, posting to Facebook or Instagram (as example), are considered for “Commercial use”, but not by you… by them, because they have ads, receive money from post promotion, etc…

          This is why most of those sites also have, as part of the User Agreement, the points that you can’t display, share or generally post Copyrights, Trademarked or Patented material of any form.

          There is also the option, for someone to inform them, if material you posted was copyrighted, trademarked and/or patented material, and make no mistake… Facebook automatically removes ANY posted material quickly, when it’s reported, because they are equally liable.

          But that being said, there are things, like currency, you are absolutely not allowed to photograph, for any reason. Having a photographic copy of money if a major offense in nearly every country… even if it was a photograph of a US dollar bill, on a public sidewalk.

          Also, many countries do not have “public domain” clauses, or they have limitations. Only a handful of European countries, have adapted the concept, that originated in the USA.

          1. catlett Avatar

            Sorry Stauth but the text is there and therefore contradictory. It says “…are not allowed to photograph.”

            Now make sure to sit down and respond with another couple hundred words.

          2. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            Yeah.. right under the word “BONUS”… but oddly enough.. the Eiffel Tower is not mentioned below that line..

            “Now make sure to sit down and respond with another couple hundred words.”

            Rather a couple hundred words of being correct, then 5 words and looking like an ^$$… just to try and making yourself feel cleaver…

            Of course, too bad your inclined to exaggeration, to go along with your lack of common writing, well, given the fact you do not understand a Title being the theme and the closing being sub-notes..

            But thanks for playing you might be dumber than a rock.

          3. catlett Avatar

            Says the self important d-bag who tries to rely on condescension instead of reading the actual content.

            BTW if you are going to condescend about “lack of common writing” you might want a basic grasp of English grammar. “then 5 words” is not correct. The word you are searching for is than. “Your inclined” should have been you’re and a cleaver is an instrument for hacking something. The word you were looking for is clever.

            Enjoy your next diatribe … I’m out. It would be easier to teach logic to a gibbon.

          4. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            “Says the self important d-bag who tries to rely on condescension instead of reading the actual content.”

            Seriously, does name calling really make you feel that much smarter? Only asking, because it doesn’t seem that way from this end, actually makes you look immature and searching.

            “BTW if you are going to condescend about “lack of common writing” you might want a basic grasp of English grammar. ”

            My GRAMMAR is just fine, my spelling is atrocious, spell checker tried to fix… but still does not negate the fact that posing a question of the body of content, based on the closing goes far beyond the difference between then and than.

            “Enjoy your next diatribe … I’m out. It would be easier to teach logic to a gibbon.”

            I believe the word you used was “condescension”.. yeah, that last sentence is the essential definition. Must make your parents sooo proud, you can be a grammar nazi, even when proving your an ignorant A&& and prove wrong by a man who made very common TYPING errors… not like asking a question that would actually prove your intelligence.

            “I’m out. ”

            Clearly, you were before typing…

          5. hussey Avatar

            Here is what you can and can’t do involving making copies of US Money (directly from the secret service website):

            U.S. Currency

            The Counterfeit Detection Act of 1992, Public Law 102-550, in Section 411 of Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations, permits color illustrations of U.S. currency provided:

            The illustration is of a size less than three-fourths or more than one and one-half, in linear dimension, of each part of the item illustrated

            The illustration is one-sided

            All negatives, plates, positives, digitized storage medium, graphic files, magnetic medium, optical storage devices, and any other thing used in the making of the illustration that contain an image of the illustration or any part thereof are destroyed and/or deleted or erased after their final use

            Other Obligations and Securities

            Photographic or other likenesses of other United States obligations and securities and foreign currencies are permissible for any non-fraudulent purpose, provided the items are reproduced in black and white and are less than three-quarters or greater than one-and-one-half times the size, in linear dimension, of any part of the original item being reproduced. Negatives and plates used in making the likenesses must be destroyed after their use for the purpose for which they were made. This policy permits the use of currency reproductions in commercial advertisements, provided they conform to the size and color restrictions.

            Motion picture films, microfilms, videotapes, and slides of paper currency, securities, and other obligations may be made in color or black and white for projection or telecasting. No prints may be made from these unless they conform to the size and color restrictions.

          6. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            Try to contemplate this for a second:
            “Photographic or other likenesses of other United States obligations and securities and foreign currencies are permissible for any non-fraudulent purpose, provided the items are reproduced in BLACK AND WHITE and are less than three-quarters or greater than one-and-one-half times the size, in linear dimension, of any part of the original item being reproduced. ”

            In other words, it can’t be:

            A. In Color
            B. Either really small or extremely blown up FROM the original.

            If you take a photo of the money, at life size, or it’s in color, you are breaking the law..

            That, is of course just the US… which is actually the more relaxed of the countries.

          7. hussey Avatar

            H O G W A S H !
            If you take a photo of money, it isn’t any size yet. If it becomes tangible, ie you print it out, in the dimensions disallowed, then you’re breaking the law.

        2. Larry Stauth Avatar
          Larry Stauth

          AND, btw, the actual conflicting statement would be the fact, that they used copyright… which most of the issue is not copyright, but actually trademarked.

          Which, for those unaware, copyright and trademark are not even remotely the same thing, they are not even filed through the same channels. Copyright, generally only covers printed material, like books or words, like names, titles, etc… Trademarks encompass everything from names to likeness.. catch phrases, logos, art of specific natures, and physical characteristic of unique nature, are generally trademarked.

          1. hussey Avatar

            I think you’re wrong about this point as well. Copyright is correct. A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.

          2. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.

            If the structure is a work of art, then yes.. it’s copyrighted. If it’s a symbol of something, such as the Eiffel Tower is a symbol of the National Identify of France, then it is trademarked.

            Many of the examples are BOTH, but the articles usage, implies the issue with trademarks and not copyright…

          3. hussey Avatar

            You’re just plain wrong about this. They’re talking about copyright. Trademark has little to do with anything we’re talking about here.

  15. jdo2014 Avatar

    Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina USA. Photographs of the exterior of the home and gardens can only be used for personal purposes and NO photos can be taken in the interior of the home.

  16. FreedomWitnesser Avatar

    The idea is that you cannot go to Paris, let’s say, take a picture of the Eiffel Tower, make a post card and sell that image for profit. Or, toss some other product in the image and use it to sell some other product. That’s why you have to seek permission or get a permit. It’s so the owners of these places know what their property is being used in and for. It’s no different if someone took your picture on the street and then used it to sell something in magazine ads all over the place. They’d need a release from you saying it was ok. In many cases it’s just a formality and in the case of something being “fine art” there’s another avenue for that. But taking a picture to sell commercially is essentially stealing unless you get permission.

    1. hussey Avatar

      Exactly. Except I suspect the real reason the Eiffel Tower lights are copyrighted is just so they can make money when a commercial use comes along, for instance: if a romantic comedy wants to shoot a scene there. The tower itself can’t be copyrighted (due to age, location, status I guess) so they found a way to get around that.

      1. Larry Stauth Avatar
        Larry Stauth

        Any created work can be copyrighted. Just like a book, a photograph, a sculpture… but it can also be trademarked.

        Copyrights cannot go backwards, as in the heir of the creator can’t copyright it. In this instance, the Eiffel Tower is Trademarked. It is unique and iconic. You cannot make any reproduction, without the express permission of the Owner.

        1. hussey Avatar

          Works are automatically copyrighted. You don’t need to do anything. An heir can claim rights to a work whether or not the relative officially registered it or not.
          The Eiffel Tower lights at night are copyrighted as a work of art, not the tower itself.

  17. istreetshooter Avatar

    This story does more harm than good. For the American sites, it is legal to take a picture from a public spot of a private entity. The copyrighting of sites’ signs and architecture is relevant to usage, not whether they can be photographed or not. Other countries have their own laws.

    1. Larry Stauth Avatar
      Larry Stauth

      Actually, that is not true.. for instance Graceland, in Tennessee, you cannot publish images without the property release form the Presley Foundation.

      Same goes for the Arch, in Utah or images from Zion National Park. There are many more copyrighted…

      The difference is, the structure in Europe are more works of Art. And trademarks and copyrights are respected outside their own countries, well by the courts.

      The article doesn’t really talk about photographing or not.. it talks about Commercial usage. And certain locations are protected with the ability to store any commercial benefit from the use of their structures, whether you are in France, USA or Timbuktu.

      1. hussey Avatar

        Larry, “publishing” as you in fact specifically mention is exactly the part he was referring to when he says “relevant to usage!”

        1. Larry Stauth Avatar
          Larry Stauth

          The remark was referring to this:

          “For the American sites, it is legal to take a picture from a public spot of a private entity.”

          As in, you can be in a public location, and if you take a photo, they can sue you, period. There is no stipulation for usage.

          And obviously, the disconnect he had, was he references Copyrighting… when the actually laws pertaining are Trademark Laws.

          Publishing, thanks to the digital age encompasses just about every usage. Digital Publishing, Print Publishing, doesn’t matter.. Photos posted to Facebook and Instagram are now determined to be “Published Works”. Which makes them… published… duh?

          Sorry, you are trying to make the argument, but you are fighting a losing battle, because I have been on both ends of the debate, in actual courts. I have had the laws, the interpretations shoved down my throat so many times, it’s not even remotely funny.

          1. hussey Avatar

            You can get sued for anything, but that doesn’t mean they’ll win or that you aren’t in the right! You’re plain wrong if you think you can’t take a photo from a public location. Unless you’re using a long lens and peeking through their window (invading their “expectation of privacy”) you have a right to take the picture.

            And you are correct about online use qualifying as publishing, but that is still separate from actually taking the picture!

          2. Larry Stauth Avatar
            Larry Stauth

            “You can get sued for anything”

            Who said anything about being sued… I said I have been in the courtroom, photographers are not the one’s liable, unless they are also the publisher.

            As I have said over and over, not talking about the actual act of taking the photo, BUT the usage… so why don’t you finally just get over the fact, and stop trying to demean someone, because you have the ability to admit you are wrong… especially when you, yourself had admitted, in fact, on the actual topic, you agreed…

            As for Public Domain… taking photos of people, absolutely correct on it, there is no determination or expectation of privacy.

            Even using a 500mm lens, there is no expectancy of privacy. Provided you did not have to go onto private property to obtain, such as going to a neighbors roof. That is how tabloids and paparazzi survive.

            But there are some elements of USAGE, that are protected… such as, if someone is walking down the street with a Copyrighted piece of art, and it is detailed enough to determine it is that work of art, you can’t publish it, without the consent of the owner of the copyright.

            You also, cannot publish trademarks, if you are old enough, you might recall the old cereal boxes that would have trading cards… never had the team logo…. because they didn’t have the rights.

            You also find that on TV programs, frequently, where they blot out trademark logos, because they would be liable. Not that the videographer couldn’t shoot them, they just couldn’t use them.

            Which has been my discussion from day one, and something you keep trying to track away from… as I said in other posts here, yes, you can take pictures to your hearts content… but outside private usage, you can’t do anything.

          3. hussey Avatar

            Yes, we agree on most of this. But you’re ignoring the actual words used in the article misleads the readers. And as far as being sued, that’s all you have to worry about. You don’t go to jail if you misuse the imagery, you get sued!

      2. mobycat Avatar

        Are there really restrictions on the things from Zion? I don’t disbelieve you, but it seems odd that a property that we all “own” can’t be photographed for whatever reason we want. The government isn’t allowed to copyright much of anything.

        1. Larry Stauth Avatar
          Larry Stauth

          Zion, Yosemite and Mt. Rushmore are examples of “public landmarks” that are trademarked and protected.

          There is a huge difference between Copyright and Trademark. You can only Copyright something that is created, like a book, artwork, product design, etc… Trademark is applied to anything that is unique. Logos, brands, Historic Landmarks (like Old Faithful), they can be Trademarked.

          Certain things expand across both, like Mt. Rushmore, Statue of Liberty and Iconic buildings, but many of the older building have to covered under Trademark only, because the builder was not alive when the Copyright laws were introduced, or they simply didn’t know.

          You can take all the photos you want, you just can’t sell them, especially if they are or can be identified as iconic areas.

          There are places in Zion, that is very much unique, and it is those areas.

          I actually have a cease and desist letter from the fine State of Utah Parks, after I posted images from my trip there. Strange thing was, I was on a working tour with Michael Fatali, who had permission at the time, this was before the incident at the Arch that cost him dearly.

          1. mobycat Avatar

            So the government CAN trademark things. I used to work in DC doing a lot of government video work and I know most of what we created for the government couldn’t be copyrighted at all.

          2. hussey Avatar

            Take most of what Larry is saying about government trademarks with a grain of salt. I can’t find any information about any old public landmarks being trademarked and all can be used freely. Newer memorials are a different story. They have designers that still own the copyrights to their works.

          3. hussey Avatar

            What was the cease and desist letter for? I’ve looked up the rules and regs regarding photography and usage and it seems you should be able to use photographs at all national parks.

        2. hussey Avatar

          Here’s a quote from a camera company that contradicts Larry’s statement:

          “Unless you’re a commercial photographer, you won’t have to get permits to shoot in the parks, and you won’t have to worry about trademarked landmarks, since the national parks fall under public domain. “You don’t need to fear the trademark issue in the national parks, whereas if you take a picture of Monterey’s Lone Cyprus, you can’t publish it because it’s trademarked [by the Pebble Beach Golf Club],” explains Gale.”

      3. hussey Avatar

        This part involves two completely different aspects of the law, both of which you’re misleading people about.

        You can take pictures in national parks. Why do they disallow commercial use?:>

        “Commercial photography is defined as the use of photographic equipment to capture still images on film, digital format, and other similar technologies found on National Forest System lands that: takes place at a location where members of the public are generally not allowed or where additional administrative costs are likely; or uses models, sets, or props that are not part of the site’s natural or cultural resources or administrative facilities (FSH 2709.11 2008-2 (CH 40)).”
        Read more at http://www.commdiginews.com/politics-2/feds-you-cant-photograph-my-national-park-26671/#ULEo7YAGmoK0x8Sb.99

        In other words, they make you get a permit so they can properly monitor the effects of having a commercial shoot take place in a park, and deny it if it is too intrusive, etc…

        It has nothing to do with trademarks. If anything relating to a park is trademarked, it is because of the gift shops and merchandise sales. You can take a photo of Yosemite, and sell large prints of it, but if you put it on a coffee mug and act like it’s an official mug from the park, you’ll probably be in violation. But even then you might be okay, as I don’t think the landmarks themselves are trademarked actually! The logos and official titles like “____ National Park” would be.

        But a bigger concern for them is stopping outside commercial interests from using national parks landmarks and names in their trademarks. That is the real issue. For example, I can’t trademark a logo that says “Zion National Park Photography”

        1. Larry Stauth Avatar
          Larry Stauth

          Once again, you are talking about Commercial Photography and not Commercial Usage…

          As in the National Forest, you have to get a permit to set-up, that has been national news for the last few months, there are tons of sources on that, I even, personally, covered part of it on a story regarding the BLM.

          A National Park cannot be Copyrighted!!!

          “A copyright protects works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed.”

          And pretty sure I would trust those who actually issue them, long before someone who obviously is only going off of myths and lore.


          And, if you actually check, certain displays, such as Old Faithful, are, in fact trademarked, as well as Copyrighted, especially since in the US, the Copyright office is part of the Library of Congress.

          All protected Monuments are… this is to prevent replication and duplication.

          Trademarks are applied, largely to cover all basis of potential usage. Such as someone wishing to open a park and have a section called “Old Faithful”.

          As mention, if you research the artist who designed many of the sculpture in Vegas, to resemble monuments, you will find all the evidence needed to see, that in fact, you are wrong.

          “You can take a photo of Yosemite, and sell large prints of it”

          See, I am not the one misleading… YOU CAN’T SELL ANY COPY OF IT, WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION!! And if you bothered to actually look up the fact around what the Dept of the Interior has said about the Permit issue, you would find, they actually explain that…

          They also require the permits for news media groups…

          Selling any replication (either physical or digital) of a National Monument, is expressly forbidden, and they would be happy to tell you that, if they find out you are doing it.

          “For example, I can’t trademark a logo that says “Zion National Park Photography””

          You can’t even use it, legally. You can’t get the DBA registered with the State Attorney’s Office in any of the 50 states. Well, you might get it initially approved, but won’t be long until you get that letter saying it was modified to something else, because the name is copyrighted, and the landmark is trademarked.

          As mention, I would be happy to forward you to a few lawyers on the subject, I have dealt with quite a few, and sorry, but you just seem to be stuck on what you wish to believe, largely from the normal misinformation, versus what the laws actually state.

          BTW, if you wished to have a copy of any National Monument, all you need to do is send a letter to the Dept of the Interior, requesting a photo. They will send an 8×10, for free and postage paid.. because it is also available on request… I have several on my walls, like the entry to Hoover Dam, and the several D.C. Monuments.

          1. hussey Avatar

            um, where did I say that a national park could be copyrighted?

            You are simply wrong about the being able to sell pictures taken in the park. The need for a permit is completely separate from the issue of copyright or trademark. National parks and monuments are in the public domain and you can use the imagery for anything you like.

            Here’s a quick Q&A I found on such things>

            Is a release needed for buildings within a national park? Say something like the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite?

            roger — , Mar 29, 2001; 08:24 a.m.

            This is the answer Dick Weisgrau, Executive Director of ASMP answered to a similar question of mine. I hope he won’t mind a short quote.

            “As for the need for a release to use the images we at ASMP see no need to have a release to use an image of public land. Releases protect a person’s right of privacy. Public lands have no such right. Property releases protect against the claims of conversion – claims that you used another person’s property to your own gain without the property owner’s permission. A conversion claim is not so easy to bring. ASMP sees no threat in the federal government ever bringing such a claim against anyone. We doubt that they could win such a case.
            In short, we see no need for a release in such a case. However, if there is a recognizable person or privately owned building in the photo(s), releases become an issue for using the images in noneditorial uses.”

          2. hussey Avatar

            You’re just plain wrong about this. There isn’t arguing with you on some topics. I’ve posted all the links. The info is there, from credible sources.

      4. istreetshooter Avatar

        At times the article does not distinguish between them–shooting and publishing. Yes, you can publish newsworthy photos in USA national parks. My concern is that the article can be read to broadly, at times.

  18. James Donahue Avatar
    James Donahue

    Interiors of St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, National Gallery are off limits, However Westminster Cathedral is OK to photograph.

    1. Larry Stauth Avatar
      Larry Stauth

      They are actually not “Off Limits”, you can get permission if you ask ahead of time and pay the fees, but Commercial Property Releases are hard to get.

  19. John Snape Avatar
    John Snape

    These “copyright” laws are getting absurd. And that’s not even including the “moral rights” some countries have. You don’t want someone using a picture of your property in a commercial manner? Don’t make it available to the public. Otherwise, if the public has access to it, it’s fair game.

    1. Larry Stauth Avatar
      Larry Stauth

      None of these are new. And mostly they are protected structures, that are typically artistic in nature.

      You can claim public domain all you wish, it is not on the taking of the photograph, it is the profiting from the image of the copyrighted work… commonly referred to as publishing.

      As for making it available to the public, that is not the point, if the structure is on private property and it is iconic, it is likely to be protected and not subject to public domain, because it would be unreasonable to hide it from public.

      And it’s not that they do not want people to photograph it, they do not want people to profit from the selling of reproductive work of the artist that created the structure, without the consent of the individuals charged with maintaining the interests of the artist.

      Such as all of those on the list, you will find TONS of photos, and either they were published with the permission of the owners, or they are publishing illegally, if they are in a magazine or book, 100% assured they have a Property release…

      As mentioned, this is nothing new, heck the Eiffel tower has had that restrictions since they developed a following by Oil Painting.

  20. Chicago Photographer Avatar
    Chicago Photographer

    Wow! Quite a poorly researched article. Contains much mis-information. You’re definitely not helping photographers with this. It impedes the patient but seemingly endless efforts needed to educate people about their rights. This article does more harm than good and you should really give some thought into taking it offline. Or at least taking out the U.S. items. I see you’re Canadian so I’ll cut you a little slack, but in America our first amendment supports expression through photographs. Only in extreme situations will photography not be allowed, at least from a public space.

    1. Larry Stauth Avatar
      Larry Stauth

      Actually, that is not true. You can take a photo in the public domain, but to use the image for Commercial Purposes is a totally different ballgame. Many historic structures, in the US are trademarked. Using images of those structures, without the express permission would be a violation of the US Copyright laws.

      I have been a photojournalist for many years, I cannot count the number of times I had to get permission and a Property Release, because a good deal of a trademarked building was going to be in my shot.

      Honestly, when it comes to objects, such as buildings, pets and vehicles (for example), it’s really not so cut and dry, simply because a 10 story building can’t be covered and it’s not likely to be approved to build a wall around it, but the actually physical grounds are private property. So the courts have extended privacy rights to structures.


      1. Larry Stauth Avatar
        Larry Stauth

        And to be clear, that is not regarding Public Buildings, but there is still a maze of problems to navigate… namely, trademark logos, billboards, etc… are protected by US trademark laws, concerning Commercial usage, as in other Artworks, like sculptures.


  21. Steve Avatar

    Commercial photographers are limited in many areas that personal/art photographers aren’t.

    This is nothing new, and knowing when and why permits/releases are necessary are simply part of the job.

    Most commercial buildings, parks, public art, various transportation, and a host of other things are protected by copyright or trademarks. Disney is probably the most fanatical about it.

    1. Larry Stauth Avatar
      Larry Stauth

      Art Photographer are just as limited, they are just less published, which is.. someone from a location needs to see the artist works, and it’s typically a one off sale, versus publications, with issue thousands of copies.

      As for fanatical.. I actually believe Graceland is far worst. Given that I have done both Disneyland and Disney World, and while they took a bit of work, a private escort (very strict escort) and it nearly took an act of God to get someone to sign the release.. after showing them the work and getting their approval…

      Graceland would not even discuss it. They have a short list of Photographers they allow, if you are not on it, then you are SOL.

      1. hussey Avatar

        Art photographers are NOT just as limited. If someone is featured in a work of art, they aren’t seen or represented as supporting/endorsing a product/good/service. Also, art photographers have more fair use exceptions available to them than commercial photographers do.

        To use your example, Disney logos and graphics have been used in a number of artworks over the years (in many many different countries).

        1. Larry Stauth Avatar
          Larry Stauth

          There is not Exemptions for the type of reproduction, such as Art versus Commercial. Whether you are painting, photographing or carving out of stone, the likeness is protected, period.

          Displaying a trademarked logo, brand or likeness, without the consent of the owner of the trademark is just as liable as anyone else, if you have it listed for sale, or sold… you are in violation of the owners Trademark, and it does not matter where you are at…

          Trademarks are Internationally recognized, and thanks to the Madrid System, all national trademarks are automatically registered with every other country in the world.

          Fair Use is a Copyright law, that does not have exceptions to means of capturing or purpose, beyond commercial (meaning it is for the purpose of profiting) and the private use. There is no stipulation on whether or not it is meant for Art versus true Commercial (advertisements and such).

          Fair Use is more a defense due civil trial, but it requires proof that you work serves the public good, and you did not benefit personally.


          There are also only a few countries that acknowledge Fair Use.

          Fair Use does not cover Trademarks, which differ from Copyrights, mainly in the area of unique and identifiable. Many structures, logo and brands are protected by both, and trademarks are absolutely International. This is why, many times in news broadcasts and live events, they will blot out areas, because they do not have permission to display.

          Sorry, but I have actually deal with this subject matter directly. I have dealt with the Copyright owners, the attorneys and the judges. I have the cease and desist letter and the judgement letter for and against me, as souvenirs.

          1. Art Hodges Avatar
            Art Hodges

            Larry, your ‘analysis’ of the situation is desperately in need of some legal precedents to demonstrate that what you are claiming is really how courts see these issues. Here are a few to ponder:

            Tom Forsythe vs Mattel (photographing Barbie —fair use and not a trademark violation):

            Gentile vs. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:
            (Pictures of buildings do not violate trademark)

            I have never seen a court case involving the US. Government preventing use of photographs of parks due to trademark concerns. I you know of such a case, please share it.

          2. hussey Avatar

            Again, you are simply wrong with all of this.

            Civil trial is all that there is in these cases!
            Profiting or personally benefiting has NO bearing on these issues!
            Fair use DOES cover trademarks as well as copyrights.

            ———Nominative Fair Use: The nominative fair use defense
            protects your ability to use a trademark to refer to a trademark owner
            or its goods or services for purposes of reporting, commentary,
            criticism, and parody, as well as for comparative advertising.

  22. Floyd Bromley Avatar
    Floyd Bromley

    A note as to number 8 “figure that one out” the reason Uluru is protected by copyright is because it is Aboriginal heritage. Long story, you have to know Australian history but basically the British colonised the land and ignored the existence of the Aboriginals (natives) calling Australia “Terra Nullius” meaning “land belonging to no one” when in fact the aboriginals had been there for a long time (possibly 40 000 years). Until recently (1975) the government didn’t recognise that Aboriginals owned the land but in 1975 they gave back Uluru and other land to the Aboriginals. Since aboriginals own the land, they decide what people can and can’t do with it and it is considered private property by law. It seems stupid but its actually not as it is a really important heritage and was not right of the British to do what they did, but again, you would understand more by understanding Australian History.

    1. BobbyA Avatar

      If the Aboriginals had created the rock I might tend to agree, that is if I believed in perpetual copyright. Otherwise this comes under the heading of just another stupid rule created for a public that repeatedly pay a bunch of (self censored) to draft whatever rule wanders into their feeble mind. Then we sit around wondering why there is an overabundance of really stupid rules.

      1. uthomas Avatar

        The Uluru can be photographed, but only in certain sections taking photos is forbidden.
        The reason is in the religious believes of this the owners of this land, which we should respect. The whole copyright background is just a legal framework.

      2. Alex Avatar

        The land isn’t public though, the government signed it over to the people of that region, expecting to be able to photograph there would be like being invited to someones home and expecting to be able to photograph anything you want, just because it was done in the past doesn’t make it right. Also Aboriginal culture and law are different to white culture and law, for a start they conside no one can own land, the land owns the people.

        1. feralcatadvocate47 Avatar

          >”expecting to be able to photograph there would be like being invited to
          someones home and expecting to be able to photograph anything you want”

          That would be more like shooing people off the sidewalk on the opposite side of a public street, who just happen to be taking pictures of friends or their car (etc.) with the offended person’s house in the background. Now, if they’re *Inside* the person’s house, you would have a point.
          But we’re talking about a ROCK here. If the Aboriginals are adamant that no one owns it, shouldn’t that include themselves? Why should anyone have the right to restrict anyone else’s right to photograph it?

          >”for a start they conside no one can own land, the land owns the people.”

          Then they should ask the *land* whether it is okay with being photographed or not. I swear, I’ve never seen such foolishness in this world than what has transpired over the last forty years, all (mostly) over someone afraid they’re going to miss a dollar. With all the copyright laws and DRM, broadcast-flagging, copy-protection schemes (it’s all related) getting more ridiculous by the day, the time will come (if it’s not already here) when a private individual can’t even hum a danged *Tune* while walking down a public street, without owing some fat-cat recording/publishing company executive royalty payments. sheesh!

  23. WF Avatar

    They should just tear down those landmarks… They are creating inconvenience and violating people’s right to take photos

    Go figure

    1. WF Avatar

      I can agree with things such as paintings and artwork, but landmarks? Landmarks sticks out. And maybe it’s applicable if there are security concerns such as with photographing the entrance or interior of a bank…

      But, shouldn’t they be remunerating individuals because the said landmark owners are “advertising” their landmarks in people’s visual coverage. It will cause people to tell their friends about how pretty the Eiffel tower is at night – “Unsolicited ads” leading to publicity that was not remunerated but still would lead to financial gains for the “landmark owners”?

      – Just to show how stupid things can get if rights for this kind of thing are really to be debated on a level ground.

  24. Charles 'Chuck' Fisher Avatar
    Charles ‘Chuck’ Fisher

    here is a link that is very interesting for this discussion. http://www.ibtimes.com/arne-svenson-neighbors-exhibit-it-legal-take-secret-photos-people-their-apartments-1267631

    This is a photographer who shot photos of people in their homes (aprts) and then later had a gallery opening with their photos with out releases. The second article says some of his photographs are selling for up to $8,000. which would meet the rule of selling for a profit as commercial photographs even though they are being sold as fine art

    second article: https://www.facebook.com/artprecedent/posts/460167430731189

    So as cut and dried as this article makes it seem, it is still open for discussion or decision by a court as to the real results. If you want to be safe always get a release, or ask for permission but then some times its easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

  25. Anon Avatar

    Oopsie. I’ve shot the Eiffel at night and sold the image!

  26. anonymous Avatar

    > In fact, the Queen’s copyright is so restrictive that you can’t even

    > photograph currency that contains the Queen’s likeness

    Somebody better tell the producers of “Peep Show”


  27. R Thomas Berner Avatar
    R Thomas Berner

    Regardless of where you might be, don’t (or don’t get caught) photographing military installations and prisons.

  28. Clint Whitmer Avatar
    Clint Whitmer

    Add MSU-Bozeman to the list. I showed my images to campus personell and was directed to an authority with claimed copyright to the interior confines of the campus.

  29. Colin Avatar

    First, I believe Uluru (Ayers Rock) is covered because of its religious significance.

    Second, and most important-you can photograph these buildings all you want (except maybe the Eiffel Tower at night) as long as you don’t sell the photos. The restrictions are for commercial use ONLY. No restrictions on tourist photos.

    The Eiffel tower thing is that the tower is not copyrighted (it’s been around too long to enforce anything anyway), but the light show is.

    Where they have MASSIVE restriction is in North Korea-aparently almost impossible to take any photos there. People have ended up in jail for photography there.

  30. Fact or Fiction Avatar
    Fact or Fiction

    I thought it was only the Eiffel Tower lights that were restricted – so if you shoot the Eiffel Tower at night when the lights are off, then you will be OK. I am sure the local Electric Company holds the licence.

  31. Chris Avatar

    this isnt entirely accurate. Publicly observable architectural works are exempt from copyright protection under 17 usc 120(a), and the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame case holds that there is very limited trademark protection for buildings based on the angle of the shot.

  32. Chris Scoggins Avatar
    Chris Scoggins

    Here is my question. Say I go on a trip to France and I take hundreds of photos including so great shots of a Cathedral or some other property. Now I want to sell prints of this shot on fine art america or etsy, etc… Whats the rules on that?

  33. johnstoner Avatar

    Burning Man is more complicated than they lead you to believe here. They’re trying to make an environment for ‘radical self expression,’ which for some people means walking around naked.

    That means that they need an enforcement mechanism behind the common courtesy of asking first before you take someone’s picture. So as part of the agreement of going to Burning Man, you assign ownership of all copyrights to your pics to the BMOrg. Not so they can profit from them, but so if there’s a dispute, someone with deep enough pockets to hire a lawyer can make you take your unauthorized pics down.

    You can take all the pics you like at Burning Man, as long as you get permission.

  34. GABE WALTER Avatar

    Is there a way if I have photos being took by a
    surveillance company at my residence to cause the photos to come out fuzzy? I
    have heard there is a way, but I never asked how and forget who told me? ( ANY

  35. Jackson Mullins Avatar
    Jackson Mullins

    And that’s why we failed as a human race. That also goes to you Australian and your “Copyrighting nature” bulls***!!

  36. graphotogapher Avatar

    Apparently, however, the things are so that getty images manages to license photographs of the Eiffel Tower, night or day, at the same prices. I’d suppose they do their work right, with a legal team to keep everything legit for their clients. I didn’t dig deeper to see whether there were additional somewhat-hidden costs, not blatantly advertised.

    I’m suspicious that things are more nuanced than that. Possibly stock or “stock-like” photography/footage within a larger context, such as appearing in a movie to make it obvious they’re in Paris, doesn’t require a special copyright license. But a product whose main definition is a derivative of a given work, such as Eiffel Tower at night posters/prints, then it would require a license. And then it would possibly not even include “Paris at night” if the Eiffel tower’s lights are not standing out as a key element.

    By the way, what about “photoshopping” Eiffel tower’s lights into a different pattern of lighting? Does that deviate enough or would it be “plagiarism” from the idea of lights around the tower? I think it couldn’t be “plagiarism” without being a tower replica or at least something being sold in a way that competes as some sort of “Sorny Waio”, “Hike Shoes”, “Nokla camera” phony “replicas” of authentic Eiffel-at-night postcards, with the intent to deceive that “this is how the Eiffel tower is really lit”, rather than, “this is how the Eiffel tower could be lit, theoretically, wouldn’t it be nice / but that’s not the main point”.

    An analogy perhaps would be that, as I recall, there’s (I think) this reasoning/legal stand that “generic” photos of public domain things (or art/architecture) can’t be “copyrighted”, there has to be some sort of distinctiveness to it, otherwise it’s just a copy of something that is in public domain. A sort of corollary would be that something that transforms it enough, or something that can be said to be merchandise or a derivative of that thing, would also not be infringing it’s copyrights.

    But now I recall it’s kind of more troublesome than that with logos specifically, so perhaps it would be more complicated with everything else as well, unless logos/trademarks have special legislation in addition to that. Which is a significant possibility, to avoid the trademark to be associated with something their owners don’t approve, but perhaps even that should be more arguably really happening, something being indirectly but objectively told about the brand, rather than just being there, say, on an outdoor it happened to be at a location.

    But I don’t really know much, I’d like to see texts about that from people with legal expertise on the subject, laying out actual cases and whatnot.

    1. graphotogapher Avatar

      I meant “A sort of corollary would be that something that transforms it enough,
      or something that can ***NOT*** be said to be merchandise or a derivative of that
      thing, would also not be infringing it’s copyrights.”

      1. graphotogapher Avatar

        “Its copyrights”.


  37. graphotogapher Avatar

    What a shutterstock page says:

    “Eiffel Tower – Located in Paris, France – Daytime shots are acceptable for commercial use. Images depicting the Tower’s lighting design are unacceptable for commercial use.”


  38. graphotogapher Avatar

    “(…..) Generally you don’t need permission to be in a public place and
    photograph a public building. There may however, be trademark issues at
    play. For example use of the Empire State Building in an ad for “Empire
    State Fashions” without a release, contract or consent from the
    building owners may lead to legal disputes likely resulting in a trademark action.

    You don’t need permission to stand on a public street and photograph an
    office building, sports stadium or mansion. This so-called
    “photographer’s exception” to the copyright-owner’s rights applies only
    to buildings. Works of art, sculputres, monuments, painting and so on
    have their own protection. (….)”


  39. Alex Avatar

    How many people abide by these restrictions? I recall photographers in Sydney staging a protest over the Opera house fiasco turning up en mass to photograph the building and its a very popular location for wedding photographers as well, they can’t really enforce it. Unless it’s something derogatory or it’s taking money from the copyright owner prosecution isn’t often taken up, it seems to be more of a failsafe in case something gets seriously out of hand. I doubt for example the queen would sue the advertiser (Survey Compare) whose add appears on this very page with her image on AU $5 notes and the text “Earn up to $75 per day” (I did have a giggle scrolling down and seeing that, which I’m sure the author was unaware of when posting) something tells me the palace lawers have better things to do with their time.

  40. SamSigelakisMinski Avatar

    You are not allowed to make money off of photography of The Moulin Rouge in Paris either.

  41. Janet Aldrich Avatar
    Janet Aldrich

    A local photographer (Cleveland, Ohio) took a great shot of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and turned it into a poster, which he was successful in selling. The R&RHOF tried to get an injunction against the photographer, but the court ruled that pictures of buildings do not violate trademarks.


    Wonder if that only applies in Ohio?

  42. Andrew Currie Avatar
    Andrew Currie

    I’m not convinced by this article that any law can prevent the selling of photos of these famous landmarks. Who holds the copyright? What is copyrighted, the building or a photo of the building? Exactly what law is being broken? Who decides precisely which photos are ok or not ok?
    I can understand that the architect or designer of an object has copyright but I’m not intending to build a copy of the Eiffel Tower and selling it – I’m taking a photo which, albeit maybe only slightly, but is different to any other photos of that object.

  43. Andrew Currie Avatar
    Andrew Currie

    Having read some comments, it is somewhat ironic to realise that someone could buy a plot of land in central Paris, get planning permission to build a copy of the Eiffel Tower and as long as they lit it in a way that was significantly different from that on the original tower, could attract millions of visitors away from the original tower with no legal consequences. Absurd!

    1. Bruce Grubb Avatar
      Bruce Grubb

      Welcome to the wonderful world of Public Domain.

  44. Darkguardian Avatar

    After the tragic fire of Notre Dame De Paris if every TV and Internet outlet violated copyright laws showing pictures of the building. Crazy as it sounds how would it fly under Article 11 and 13.

    1. Bruce Grubb Avatar
      Bruce Grubb

      The Notre Dame De Paris has (AFAIK) no post 19th century updates to it. This is why daytime shots of the Eiffel Tower do not violate copyright…it fell into the public domain a long time ago.

      1. feralcatadvocate47 Avatar

        I’m curious how a building (i.e., viewable from the outside, especially from public, taxpayer-funded property) could ever be in a “private domain” to begin with.

        1. Bruce Grubb Avatar
          Bruce Grubb

          Welcome to the wonders of copyright law where things like logic and reason give way to control happy companies with more money then brains.

  45. as Avatar

    If you are taking salfie, in your eye there is a camera reflecting… and you don’t have a right to the camera look, so… sad news dude, but you can’t take even selfie with completely clear conscience

  46. stefano Avatar

    Please stay away from the rip-off uluru. It is unbeliavable the way they try to make money out of everything!!!!!!!

  47. DeeperDish Avatar

    According to United States copyright law, buildings that can be viewed from a public space do not have copyright protection. So no, Las Vegas hotels do not have copyright, although it may still qualify for trademark.