Copyright for photos taken in German museums

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I have a question regarding the photos taken in public museums (Staatliche Museen) especially the ones in Germany.

I took some photos from wall paintings and engravings from ancient Egypt in the Neue Museum in Berlin. There is no other thing like building of museum or people in the photos.

Does anybody know how is it regarding the copyright?

Do I need release notes for each photo to be able to sell the photos?

Note: Entry to the museum was not free but taking photos for most objects of the museum was allowed.

I appreciate any comments,
Kiarash
 

Nitroplait

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Consult a Lawyer if you need legal advise of any importance to you.

Anyway, artefacts from ancient Egypt are not covered by copyright.
 

Jesper

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With regards to the copyright in the EU it expires 70 years after the death of the artist which places ancient Egypt well outside this time frame. No copyright, but there may still be a ban on taking photos in the museum but this will have nothing to do with the copyright
 

AgX

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The "copyright" (there is no such term in german legislation) of your photo as such will be yours.

But some content of your photo as people, architecture or works of art may be protected.

Furthermore you have to differenciate between taking and printing those photos for your own and your family pleasure or for publishing.

To make it even more complex, you have it about a place which is not public, in the meaning of a public street with no restriction of access. In your case the museum may prohibit taking photographs at all or restrict their use beyond the above.
 

DonJ

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I have a question regarding the photos taken in public museums (Staatliche Museen) especially the ones in Germany.

I took some photos from wall paintings and engravings from ancient Egypt in the Neue Museum in Berlin. There is no other thing like building of museum or people in the photos.

Does anybody know how is it regarding the copyright?

Do I need release notes for each photo to be able to sell the photos?

Note: Entry to the museum was not free but taking photos for most objects of the museum was allowed.

I appreciate any comments,
Kiarash

You need to find the photography policy for each museum. I would expect them to be similar to this one, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

“Photography at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters is permitted for private, non-commercial use only. Photographs cannot be published, sold, reproduced, transferred, distributed, or otherwise commercially exploited in any manner whatsoever.”

You agree to this policy the instant you enter the museum.
 

Nitroplait

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You need to find the photography policy for each museum. I would expect them to be similar to this one, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art:

“Photography at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters is permitted for private, non-commercial use only. Photographs cannot be published, sold, reproduced, transferred, distributed, or otherwise commercially exploited in any manner whatsoever.”

You agree to this policy the instant you enter the museum.

I kind of doubt this is universally enforceable (although it might be in the US). Where I live, a shopping mall - for example - can prohibit photography, yet the only enforcement available to them is to ask me to leave if they see what I am doing.
Since the shopping mall is public accessible space (even though it is privately owned) I have the exact same rights regarding usage of the photos as if it was a photo taken in the street.
A museum may make up whatever rule they like, but it does not mean that it is enforceable.
Local law will be have to be consulted for a definitive answer.
 

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Said policy would appear to be unrelated to copyright law, but instead to contract law.

Yes. The OP would own copyright, but his publishing and monetizing options, which he also asked about, are limited.
 

Nitroplait

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Yes. The OP would own copyright, but his publishing and monetizing options, which he also asked about, are limited.

but only if the local law honours a contract that has not be actively accepted by the museum guest - as with a signature.
Those forms of implied contracts are often void.
 

DonJ

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but only if the local law honours a contract that has not be actively accepted by the museum guest - as with a signature.
Those forms of implied contracts are often void.

Ok, so in addition to researching the museum policy, the OP will have to research local law, and also have to decide if they want to engage in a legal battle with an entity that may have much deeper pockets.
 

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Yes. The OP would own copyright, but his publishing and monetizing options, which he also asked about, are limited.

I would say may be limited. As pointed out above, the enforceability of any purported contract is, at best, a bit suspect.
 

Mike Crawford

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Sounds like you're talking about the wonderful Pegamon Museum. There's a link on their website to legal information on all the State museums in Berlin. Section VI states permission is required for any commercial usage.
https://www.smb.museum/fileadmin/website/Bildung_Vermittlung/pdf/Benutzungsordnungdeutsch_engl.pdf


VI. Photos and Film Footage
The written permission of the museum management board is required to show lm footage and photographs taken in the museums for commercial purposes of any kind. The museum management board also has the right to impose a general ban on photography in exhibitions and exhibition rooms.

Edit. Just noticed it was the Neue Museum, but will be the same rules.
 

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In the U.S., some buildings (the Chrysler Building in particular comes to mind) cannot be photgraphed and used commercially without permission. There may be similar circumstances for art and artifacts owned by a museum.
 

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In the U.S., some buildings (the Chrysler Building in particular comes to mind) cannot be photgraphed and used commercially without permission. There may be similar circumstances for art and artifacts owned by a museum.

Out of extreme curiosity... what law prohibits photographing a building that is in plain sight? Or commercial/editorial use of a photograph taken from public areas of items within plain view?

I have seen this, which deals largely with commercial and editorial usage of taken/created images, but it is not clear to me if this is based on trademark/licensing rights or something else.

 
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ic-racer

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If the ancient relic is used as a symbol for the museum and trademarked, photography for commercial purposes could be regulated. For example Angkor Wat.
 

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The building owner owns the right for commercial usage of the building's image. Anyone can take photos or make a drawing of the building, they just cannot sell it commercially without the owner's permission. Another example is the lighting on the Eiffel Tower. The tower itself is not protected, but the lighting scheme is. No commercial usage without permission. Of course, if the building in question is part of a larger cityscape or a skyline, then it is fair game, as long as it is not the obvious focus or subject of the image. Sort of like if you were to take a photo of a celebrity on the street. Then you try to sell it for usage in an ad. No go.
 
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DonJ

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Out of extreme curiosity... what law prohibits photographing a building that is in plain sight? Or commercial/editorial use of a photograph taken from public areas of items within plain view?

I have seen this, which deals largely with commercial and editorial usage of taken/created images, but it is not clear to me if this is based on trademark/licensing rights or something else.


It’s based on trademark registration:

 

Duceman

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It’s based on trademark registration:


But even trademark protection would seem to be quite limited. Protection afforded by the Lanham Act generally requires a likelihood of confusion in order to prevail. It's one thing to use a photo, image or likeness of a building, for example 30 Rockefeller Center, to promote one's goods or services. It's another thing to simply sell a photo of 30 Rockefeller Center solely as a photo.
 

Duceman

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The building owner owns the right for commercial usage of the building's image. Anyone can take photos or make a drawing of the building, they just cannot sell it commercially without the owner's permission.

Supporting statute or case law, please.
 

Bob_Brooks

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Supporting statute or case law, please.

pieter12 is correct, if the museum/building owns the art, paintings ect. anyone can take pictures for personal use only. Like what I did right here. Image taken in the Dallas Museum of Modern Art. Attendants on every floor will remind you of what can be photographed or not.
_DSC4139.jpg
 

momus

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Could you post it on a public internet forum or something like that? I would here in the US IF the artist isn't living, your country will be different. If the artist is still hanging around, it would depend on whether the artist or the museum/gallery has the image rights.

This isn't what you asked, but it's quite good to know if you're photographing art: You could totally copy a well known dead artist and sell the print if you put "after" in the title. Miro and Chagall did a million of these things and almost never signed them. You need to know someone like Chagall well to separate the right ones from the "After Chagall" prints.

Dali had a better scheme. He just signed a bazillion blank sheets of paper, and the lithographers went to town printing them up. Hey, the signature was real! In any other line of work, most of the people involved would be behind bars (which would only add to their notoriety, and increase the selling price of stuff).
 
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