Media Bakery ID: LUV0016942 A mid-adult man taking a photograph of Tower Bridge

Stock Photos of Trademarked & Copyrighted Work

We often receive questions about what buildings and pieces of artwork can and can not be photographed. So keep in mind the following things while you are out shooting stock photos that you intend to sell.

– All private property requires a property-release form to be signed by the owner if you want to sell an image that includes a house, building, or structure. If a building is on public property or if it was built before December 1, 1990 then you may not need a property release because buildings did not have copyright protection until after the 90’s and are therefore considered to be in the public domain. Property Release Form

– If you are standing on public property and take a photograph of a block of homes or a cityscape there is no infringement as the building(s) is visible from a public place and you are on public land.

– When art is in the photograph there could be a problem. You need to get permission from the owner of the copyright to take a picture of any piece of art inside or out, even when it is in the proximity of a building or structure. If your intention is not to photograph the piece of art and it is in the background and is not the main subject of the photograph your picture may fall into the area of ‘fair use’ but it is always a good idea to ask permission. *This does not include photographs taken for use as educational, research, news, or public interest use.

Media Bakery ID: PDI0296045 Italy, Liguria, Genoa, woman taking picture of lion statue at Cathedral of San Lorenzo
Media Bakery ID: PDI0296045 Italy, Liguria, Genoa, woman taking picture of lion statue at Cathedral of San Lorenzo

– Always do your homework when seeing if buildings and artwork are in the public domain before you decide to use them to promote your business or product.

Here is a brief list of buildings, art, and objects that could cause problems if you decide to photograph and sell your images online as stock photos

The Cadillac Ranch
(sculpture of Pink Cadillac’s sticking out of ground like Stonehenge)
Interiors of New York Stock Exchange (OK from 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, CA
Hollywood Sign
Mystic Marine Museum
Williamsburg and it’s 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
Olympics 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 & IM 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

Source: PACA Special Releases List

*This is not intended to be a full list so please make sure to check with copyright and trademark owners before taking a photograph of any building or artwork.

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