Demonike recently published a very interesting blog about unexpected copyrights.
One of the "objects" mentioned was Uluru aka Ayer's Rock in Australia. Having been there at the beginning of the year, I'd like to share my experience.
Uluru stands in a National Park in the red centre of Australia, and in fact the whole National Park is protected by copyrights. That also includes Kata Tjuta aka The Olgas.
All commercial film crews, still photographers, artists and sound recordists need to apply for a permit to carry out commercial work in the park and the permit should be obtained prior to visiting the National Park. The permit is granted for a small daily fee. Photographers are required to follow very strict guidelines as some areas, considered sacred by the aboriginals are not allowed to be photographed. In fact viewing areas have been built so that people can safely photograph from there. This obviously slightly limits creativity...
It is not very expensive nor very difficult to obtain the permit, just a bit time consuming and it is more complicated if you're not an Australian resident. It is advised to submit the photos taken to the Media Officer of the National Park; they give the go or no go and will store them in their archive.
There is, however, a big problem when it comes to stock photography. I went to Uluru, got my permit to sell my pictures commercially, got my photos approved, uploaded the Property Release to DT and yet selected the Editorial section when uploading my photos. This is because the Permit, which is in fact a contract between the National Park and the Photographer, specifies that the images of the rock cannot be used to promote certain products (Sic No permits will be issued for advertising and promotion of motor vehicles, fashion, food, drink, banking and investment, insurance, cleaning products, sporting goods/activities, medical/health products, religion and religious events, camping equipment, rural and urban industries, extreme sports, racing and other similar products or services
. Also pictures can not be retouched in any way expect for some basic light enhancement, noise reduction...
For more details on the Permit you can check the National Park Website
Having gone through all the process to publish them as Editorial only is frustrating, I must admit, but then again I feel safe that I'm not breaking any law since my photos were approved. I wish here was third type of photo category, not fully commercial but not only editorial either...