Copyright issues are one of the most confusing and frustrating among contributors in today's dynamic and profit-driven world. Where ever there is some new architectural structure or a new product or even word of speech - there is always someone who wants and has it protected from unlicensed use. Believe me, it makes you feel that just about ANYTHING can, under circumstances, be copyrighted these days and the vision of a free world and free speech is a daydream. You have to be cautious when you take a step, because it might be someone's property you are stepping on; even more so, you have to be educated when posting a picture you've made, because it might contain elements that are prohibited public exposure (without written consent). Things get even more complicated and strict when money is involved (ie. when you get paid for the piece or when you sell it directly to customers).
We, editors and admins, must constantly update our knowledge base and be up to date with relevant court cases regarding what is a "go-go" and what's a "no-no". During the years we've accumulated quite a list of objects and architecture that we must refuse as RF stock. Not to restrain your creativity so much, we have created the Editorial section, but as everyone knows, it is quite elaborate to get images into that section and to use them as well.
Below I have compiled an index of not EVERY restricted aspect of photography, but rather a list of the most CURIOUS ones, that are not so obvious. Some of them surely will bring out a smile ;)
• Eiffel Tower illuminated at night, this is common knowledge already, but still puzzles many. Daytime captures of it are all fine (not that we have a too few of them already online).
• Not far from that is the Louvre Museum. Everything else is ok, but the two glass pyramids, which cannot be in the picture - entirely or partially.
• The Red Cross emblem. This is relatively new case and, personally, was a jaw-dropper. It has become so common, that you cannot imagine someone might still claim rights upon it. But if you think of it, indeed, the pharmacies are using rather a green version of the cross. More can be read here »
• The Vitruvian Man. Yes, the same Da Vinci's naked man with stretched out arms and legs and within a circle. The work itself appears to be public domain, but direct photographs of it must also be public domain - if you sell them, they are not - hence the restriction.
• Adidas stripes. Apparently Adidas has acquired the rights to all parallel 2, 3, or 4 stripes that appear on clothing and accessories, and footwear. 5 stripes, curiously, is considered not too similar to Adidas 3-stripe trademark and is not an issue. Read more »
• The words World Cup and derivatives. That includes FIFA World Cup 2010, Football World Cup 2010, South Africa 2010... It is neatly laid out in this article »
• Related is the Jabulani football, also by Adidas - http://www.jabulaniball.com
• The word "Champagne" cannot be used in images and in descriptive fields for the image, unless the image itself is of the region Champagne, in France.
• The five Olympic rings, the olympic torch - WIKI link »
• Shapes of cars: Porsche, Ferrari. There is a gray area about other exotic supercars like Lamborghini, Lotus, etc. This means, that a photo will be rejected even though the LOGO of the manufacturer is not visible, but the image is recognizable as one of the two manufacturers' products (can apply to details even).
• Lego figurines (little yellow men), and proprietary parts. Case here »
• Monopoly houses (little red and blue houses).
• John Deere yellow/green machinery. It is accepted as an abstract trademark, hence it should be dealt with like any other trademark - omit from images to be sold as RF. Reference »
• Rubick's Cube. Applies for photography and illustrations. Clear statement »
• Uluru aka Ayer's Rock in Australia.
• The word ASPIRIN on pills, or with a capital "A" spelled in the image. WIKI
. Please DO NOT include the keyword "aspirin" to every kind of pill or tablet. It is irrelevant.
• One of the funniest and most curious cases is the one of "Rubber ducks with black sunglasses". The copyright of these ducks (and their devilish friends) belong to Accoutrements, Inc.
Well, and everybody surely knows that: Sydney Opera House, The London Eye, Millenium Bridge, any Calatrava building, The Empire State Building, Filatron Building, China's Olympic "Bird's Nest", intricate tattoos and walls of graffiti (recognizable details as well), and others, are all prohibited in RF stock.
Feel free to add, but with accurate links for reference please.
Happy shooting! :)))