Understanding Copyright Laws For Photographers and Designers

It's come to my attention that several photographers and designers building products for their customers do not understand copyright laws. So, with permission from Cathy Aron, executive Director of PACA (Picture Archive Council of America), I posted a link to a video on copyright education on the contributing artists' page of the PhotoSpin site. Our goal is to educate not only the photographers we represent but all people using or who are interested in selling stock images commercially.

Here is one tidbit of info I feel is most helpful:

As a service, PACA members have compiled a list of properties and objects that may cause problems if shown photographically. Some of the properties and objects are alleged to be covered by trademark, others by contract (i.e. the terms by which a photographer was granted access to the property). PACA does not have a position as to whether the use (either commercially or editorially) is in violation of any applicable laws, but merely advises users to seek advice from their own legal representation to determine if any additional permissions are required under the circumstances. The list is not intended to be a complete listing of all subjects, but merely ones that particular members have brought to our attention.

The Cadillac Ranch (sculpture of Pink Cadillac sticking out of the ground like Stonehenge)

Interiors of the New York Stock Exchange (ok from the street), the Pacific Exchange, the Mercantile Exchange, Commodities Exchange and Chicago Board of Trade

Rolls Royce car and logo/hood ornament

Disney's Epcot Center and Disneyland' including any depictions of the Disney characters

The Lone Cypress tree at Pebble Beach, California Hollywood Sign

Mystic Marine Museum

Williamsburg and its re-enactment actors/performers

Newport Mansions

Coca Cola World

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The Mississippi, Delta Queen and Natchez paddle steamers

Rockefeller Center ' all buildings and sculptures

Olympic Athletes, Logo and torch

Hollywood Walk of Stars, Chinese Theater

Pro Sports teams and insignias

Maserati Car

Porche Car

McDonald's Arches

NASCAR images

Biltmore (Virginia house) and San Simeon Estate

Beverly Hills Sign

Busch Gardens

Sea World (Florida & California)

Universal Studios

Oscar Award Statue

The British Concord

The Louvre & I.M. Pei's Pyramid

Major League Sports

Indy 500 race

The Grand Ole Opry

The TGV (French high-speed train)

Chevrolet logo/hood ornament

Mustang Horse Logo

Thunderbird Logo

Barbie ' the dolls, name and any product

Dartmouth College and the "tower"

San Diego Zoo

Eiffel Tower at night (the lighting design is copyrighted)

Japanese Bullet Train

Exterior of NY Stock Exchange (we have heard the exterior is now problematic)

Vehicles with recognizable designs (Jaguar, Porsche, Lamborghini, etc')

Emmy and Grammy award trophies

Swan Boats in Boston's Public Gardens

The Flatiron Building, NYC

The Chrysler Building, NYC

The New Orleans Superdome

This is just a partial list. Companies like do their best to edit the images to avoid any problems for our customers. If you're a working photographer selling stock images I highly recommend you become a member of PACA. If you're a graphic designer using stock images check out the information they offer. The information you'll receive about the stock industry will more than pay for your annual dues.