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Rights of owner of object photographed

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  #1  
Old 08-30-2008, 07:02 AM
Michael Chapman Michael Chapman is offline
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Rights of owner of object photographed

A photographer has taken pictures of my boat which he sells.

As the owner of the boat (the only thing in the photo apart from the sea), do I have any rights at all?

E.g.
1) to use the photographs for my own use

2) to put them on my web site

3) to link to them from my web site
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  #2  
Old 08-30-2008, 07:59 AM
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Swampy Swampy is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

Hi, Michael! Welcome to RTP!

I'm not a lawyer, but my first gut reaction to your question is:

1: NO, the photos belong to the photographer
2: MAYBE: You would need the photographer's permission or at least give him photo credit.
3: YES

I'm operating on a premise that if I stand on a public street and take pictures of cars going by, the owners of those cars do not have any rights to the photos. Or if I stopped my car on a country road and took photos of a farmer's cows, he cannot claim any kind of ownership or rights to the pictures.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:16 PM
olivierphoto olivierphoto is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

I am not a lawyer either, but I am a photographer and what I have read about property rights is confusing. It seems that the more the property is identifiable with its owner (i.e. people can tell that it's your boat, as opposed to a generic "boat") the more rights you have as the owner and that the photographer would be responsible for asking YOU to sign a release form. There's a photo attorney blog out there you should google for more info.

Have you contacted the photographer? I would think that it would be common courtesy for the photographer to allow you any and all uses that do not infringe upon his/her marketing of the prints.
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Old 08-30-2008, 01:51 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

Unless you had the boat in your garage or at least under a tarp, and he snuck in or uncovered it, "no" on 1 and 2. There's no expectation of privacy on the water, and objects have no inherent right to privacy as people do. 3 will always be yes, though some consider it rude without permission.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:02 PM
ktg222 ktg222 is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

Isn't the TransAmerica tower in San Francisco copyrighted? Are there not other private buildings that are copyrighted and cannot be photographed and published? I don't mean to infer this boat is a copyrighted object.

k
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:54 PM
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Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

Copyright and right to privacy are two very different things. Copyright does not affect your right to photograph, but could affect possible usages of that photo (almost always involving money). Any publicly viewable object is fair game to photograph, as long as it doesn't affect national security or have your agreement to their rules (ie: if you buy a sports or museum ticket). Usages of those photos, however, gets a bit more complicated.
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Old 10-13-2011, 04:18 PM
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crimper crimper is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

FWIW. A boat (identifiable) could require a 'property' release if the photo is used commercially IE for postcards. It's the same as a photo of your house or garden.
If you need to check this out, go to Getty Images and check out their requirement for 'stock' photos. Getty has the most stringent release requirements of all stock photo agencies.

derek
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:10 PM
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daygraphics daygraphics is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

Hey Derek,

I agree that those sites (Getty and others) are good resources for what you can and can't do - but I think they go above and beyond the legal constraints. They do this for "obvious reasons". They just don't want to even consider the possibility of a lawsuit based on the use of an image purchased at their site. I have a few images available on these sites and had a few rejected initially - until I removed sign names, Company Logos and even partially readable license plates. All the conceivable comeback concerns!!!
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Old 11-28-2011, 10:32 PM
RobertAsh RobertAsh is offline
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Re: Rights of owner of object photographed

It's my understanding (without being a lawyer or playing one on TV) that if your boat was photographed on private property then a property release form should be required. On the open ocean might be another story.

If it's private art sale, e.g. in a gallery, then a release is not necessarily required, those were protected as free expression in some court case I read about awhile back if I recall correctly. But, as Derek said, if they're used in commercial usage (brochures, postcards, advertisements, etc.) then it should require a property release from you.

But again, talk to a competent attorney or post the question on www.findlaw.com or a similar site for at least an initial assessment of your situation.

The photo itself, though, is automatically copyrighted by the photographer at the time of exposure, though if he's not registered it he could only go after someone for lost income and would have to prove loss.
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