Copyright for photos taken in German museums

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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.

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.

Great, Thank you for the link!

Yes, Neue Museum is very close to it. :smile:
 

VinceInMT

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It’s always an interesting topic. It also brings up the topic of “Appropriation Art” and the works of Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine, and others who photographed the work of others and argued that it was new work. A direct copy would not be covered under “fair use” but one that is “transformative” would be.

I have a friend who likes to do audio mixes/mashups by sampling existing music and is upset that everything he does gets a take down notice from YouTube. I suggested that he just create his own, original music. I get the look like I am the crazy one but that is the antidote to copyright issue: make original work.
 

Duceman

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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. ...

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. ...

^-- This is what Pieter12 stated, and what I was referring to when I requested supporting statutes or case law.

However, what you talk about below is something a bit different:

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.

To be clear, my request for supporting statutes/case law is not in connection with photographing artwork inside a building, but instead is in connection with photographing the outside of the building. As was previously pointed out, this may raise issues in connection with U.S. trademark rights--as limited as those may be--but what Pieter12 stated was a blanket prohibition on photographing buildings and using those images commercially. I'm aware of no U.S. statute or case law supporting this, hence my question.
 

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^-- This is what Pieter12 stated, and what I was referring to when I requested supporting statutes or case law.

However, what you talk about below is something a bit different:



To be clear, my request for supporting statutes/case law is not in connection with photographing artwork inside a building, but instead is in connection with photographing the outside of the building. As was previously pointed out, this may raise issues in connection with U.S. trademark rights--as limited as those may be--but what Pieter12 stated was a blanket prohibition on photographing buildings and using those images commercially. I'm aware of no U.S. statute or case law supporting this, hence my question.

Here ya go. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/copyright-architectural-photos.html

It only took 0.02 seconds for google to produce this.
 
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It’s always an interesting topic. It also brings up the topic of “Appropriation Art” and the works of Richard Prince, Sherrie Levine, and others who photographed the work of others and argued that it was new work. A direct copy would not be covered under “fair use” but one that is “transformative” would be.

I have a friend who likes to do audio mixes/mashups by sampling existing music and is upset that everything he does gets a take down notice from YouTube. I suggested that he just create his own, original music. I get the look like I am the crazy one but that is the antidote to copyright issue: make original work.

I have stuff on Youtube where I included commercial music but it hasn't been taken down. In fact, Youtube gives links to sites to buy the music so I guess it's free advertising for the music owner. Only some music is taken down, other is left. I think it's up to the originator. I don't know what the rules are anymore.
 

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Here ya go. https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/copyright-architectural-photos.html

It only took 0.02 seconds for google to produce this.

You should have spent those 0.02 second reading what you linked to:
  • The law does not apply to buildings created before December 1, 1990 (e.g., the Chrysler Building as alluded to by Pieter12) (so architectural photos of such works can be taken and reproduced without permission).
  • Except for buildings that cannot be viewed from a public space, the copyright owner of a post-1990 building (the architect, developer, or building owner) cannot prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the building. See 17 U.S. Code § 120, which covers the scope of exclusive rights in architectural works.
Therefore, photographers need to be concerned only when entering private property without permission to take a photo of a post-1990 building.

And just as I thought... there is nothing in copyright law preventing the taking of exterior photos of a building in a city and doing with those photos as the photographer pleases.
 

Bob_Brooks

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You should have spent those 0.02 second reading what you linked to:
  • The law does not apply to buildings created before December 1, 1990 (e.g., the Chrysler Building as alluded to by Pieter12) (so architectural photos of such works can be taken and reproduced without permission).
  • Except for buildings that cannot be viewed from a public space, the copyright owner of a post-1990 building (the architect, developer, or building owner) cannot prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the building. See 17 U.S. Code § 120, which covers the scope of exclusive rights in architectural works.
Therefore, photographers need to be concerned only when entering private property without permission to take a photo of a post-1990 building.

And just as I thought... there is nothing in copyright law preventing the taking of exterior photos of a building in a city and doing with those photos as the photographer pleases.

You are correct, and if I had taken another 0.02 seconds to reconsider commenting on such a trivial subject, I could helped myself to some extra cornflakes for breakfast, but instead I chose to spend that time for you. I knew the answer, maybe not to the text "verbatim", but you could have simply posted the same thing I had just done, instead you only offered a snarky "Supporting statute or case law, please."

I'm ending this here because I'm growing tired armchair law professors.
 

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You should have spent those 0.02 second reading what you linked to:
  • The law does not apply to buildings created before December 1, 1990 (e.g., the Chrysler Building as alluded to by Pieter12) (so architectural photos of such works can be taken and reproduced without permission).
  • Except for buildings that cannot be viewed from a public space, the copyright owner of a post-1990 building (the architect, developer, or building owner) cannot prevent the making, distributing, or public display of pictures, paintings, photographs, or other pictorial representations of the building. See 17 U.S. Code § 120, which covers the scope of exclusive rights in architectural works.
Therefore, photographers need to be concerned only when entering private property without permission to take a photo of a post-1990 building.

And just as I thought... there is nothing in copyright law preventing the taking of exterior photos of a building in a city and doing with those photos as the photographer pleases.

But the Chrysler Building is trademarked. For example, it never appears in Spiderman Movies. Many landmark buildings have such protection"

From the an internet article about trademarks, copyrights and photgraphing buildings:

"...Trademark registration of a distinctive architectural design is not required as trademark rights accrue through use of the mark in commerce (not the registration process). In most cases, architectural features are service marks typically used by restaurants, hotels, or other service-oriented businesses. For example, in New York City, the Empire State Building (Reg. No. 2,753,356), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (Reg. No. 1,962,821), and the 5 Times Square (Reg. No. 2,411,972) have all been registered as trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in connection with services offered in those buildings.

Other examples of registered buildings include the Wrigley Building in Chicago (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,037,109 for use in connection with “social clubs; providing banquet and social function facilities for special occasions”);” the Chrysler Building in New York (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 1,126,888 for use in connection with “leasing office space and attendant services to tenants”); and the Space Needle in Seattle (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,775,235 for use in connection with “restaurants and providing banquet facilities for special occasions”)..."
 

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But the Chrysler Building is trademarked. For example, it never appears in Spiderman Movies. Many landmark buildings have such protection"

From the an internet article about trademarks, copyrights and photgraphing buildings:

"...Trademark registration of a distinctive architectural design is not required as trademark rights accrue through use of the mark in commerce (not the registration process). In most cases, architectural features are service marks typically used by restaurants, hotels, or other service-oriented businesses. For example, in New York City, the Empire State Building (Reg. No. 2,753,356), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (Reg. No. 1,962,821), and the 5 Times Square (Reg. No. 2,411,972) have all been registered as trademarks in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in connection with services offered in those buildings.

Other examples of registered buildings include the Wrigley Building in Chicago (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,037,109 for use in connection with “social clubs; providing banquet and social function facilities for special occasions”);” the Chrysler Building in New York (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 1,126,888 for use in connection with “leasing office space and attendant services to tenants”); and the Space Needle in Seattle (U.S. Trademark Registration No. 2,775,235 for use in connection with “restaurants and providing banquet facilities for special occasions”)..."

We've already gone over this. Trademark rights in the Chrysler Building are very, very limited, and are only enforceable under the Lanham Act to the extent any use of the depiction would cause a likelihood of confusion with the associated listing of goods/services. As a photographer, who is not in the business of "leasing office space and attendant services to tenants", I can assure you that I can take a photo of the Chrysler Building, and am free to distribute said photo, with the only limitation being that I can not license it for use in connection with "leasing office space and attendant services to tenants." So, for example, if I sold my photo of the Chrysler Building as a poster to be hung up in personal residence, there's nothing the owner of US TM Reg No 1,126,888 could do to prevent me. This is a far cry from the blanket prohibition that the Chrysler Building "...cannot be [photographed] and used commercially without permission."
 

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We've already gone over this. Trademark rights in the Chrysler Building are very, very limited, and are only enforceable under the Lanham Act to the extent any use of the depiction would cause a likelihood of confusion with the associated listing of goods/services. As a photographer, who is not in the business of "leasing office space and attendant services to tenants", I can assure you that I can take a photo of the Chrysler Building, and am free to distribute said photo, with the only limitation being that I can not license it for use in connection with "leasing office space and attendant services to tenants." So, for example, if I sold my photo of the Chrysler Building as a poster to be hung up in personal residence, there's nothing the owner of US TM Reg No 1,126,888 could do to prevent me. This is a far cry from the blanket prohibition that the Chrysler Building "...cannot be [photographed] and used commercially without permission."

Try it. Their lawyers will be all over you. Like Disney. The Eiffel Tower lighting at night is also a no-no for commercial use.
 

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My understanding and experience is not that the lawyers are all over you (me) but it is their security bullies, who too often try to prohibit public photography without one iota of understanding of the law and their legal limits in the situation.
 

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None of the above links is of relevance for the German legal situation.

Neither are most of the posts.


Concerning any restrictions laid upon by the managent of places of this topic, something not being restricted by them does not necessarily mean that that you are free to go.
There still may be legal restrictions beyond their interest or knowledge.


Germany has about the oldest legislation on photo rights, but recent added legislation made it even more confusing.

Even within the EU there are grossly differing legislations.


A bit of trivia:
I was stopped at a belgian photo-museum for sporting a Super-8 camera, with the argument that taking photographs was not allowed, whereas anybody else was using their phones. One may now wonder whether this was an upgrading of Super-8 by that warden.
 
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Pieter12

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None of the above links is of relevance for the German legal situation.

No, it shows that you can easily find the answers online, it just takes a bit of effort to do some research. Similarly, one should be able to find out if there are restrictions on the usage of the image of the building and the relevant German law. Someone fluent in German and the internet would probably have no problem with the task.
 

AgX

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But the situation in Germany is/became very complex.


I ran into legal trouble already at the age of 15 when doing the photography for my school's magazine and I was legally threatened by a couple I photographed on street. The chief editor decided to skip the photo.
 
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The other thing that hasn't been mentioned is copyright of what? The example I like to use is a ballet performance. There is a choreographical score that has been created, there can be a musical score. The score is performed on stage and is videotaped to produce a DVD. Each of these individual items:
The dance score,
the musical score,
the live performance,
the video recording,

are copyrighted automatically when created. However, each of these 4 items can be created by different people and each can hold a copyright on their own work, thus any of the 4 can be bought and sold independently.

Bringing in back to the original question, a piece of art in a museum may still be under copyright ( or it may have expired). However, if I take a photo of the piece of art, that photograph is my own creation and I am the copyright holder of the photograph - not of the original piece of art; each is considered a separate, original work. Same if I sit in front of the piece of art and make a drawing of it. The drawing's copyright is mine, as I am the creator.

Copyright is the narrowest form intellectual property, as it cover copying. Not something similar, not a likeness of etc. A photograph of a sculpture can't infringe the copyright of the sculpture, because a photograph isn't a sculpture - it can't be a copy of a sculpture.

An important thing to remember also is that copyright, trademark and patent all cover different things and offer different protections. You can't get a copyright and a trademark on the same piece of intellectual property. An example might be if I write a book, copyright protects me from somone putting the book in a photocopier and copying the book. It offers zero protection for an ideas I may have written in the book; anyone can use the ideas I have written about. Copyright protects form, not content.
 

Pieter12

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The other thing that hasn't been mentioned is copyright of what? The example I like to use is a ballet performance. There is a choreographical score that has been created, there can be a musical score. The score is performed on stage and is videotaped to produce a DVD. Each of these individual items:
The dance score,
the musical score,
the live performance,
the video recording,

are copyrighted automatically when created. However, each of these 4 items can be created by different people and each can hold a copyright on their own work, thus any of the 4 can be bought and sold independently.

Bringing in back to the original question, a piece of art in a museum may still be under copyright ( or it may have expired). However, if I take a photo of the piece of art, that photograph is my own creation and I am the copyright holder of the photograph - not of the original piece of art; each is considered a separate, original work. Same if I sit in front of the piece of art and make a drawing of it. The drawing's copyright is mine, as I am the creator.

Copyright is the narrowest form intellectual property, as it cover copying. Not something similar, not a likeness of etc. A photograph of a sculpture can't infringe the copyright of the sculpture, because a photograph isn't a sculpture - it can't be a copy of a sculpture.

An important thing to remember also is that copyright, trademark and patent all cover different things and offer different protections. You can't get a copyright and a trademark on the same piece of intellectual property. An example might be if I write a book, copyright protects me from somone putting the book in a photocopier and copying the book. It offers zero protection for an ideas I may have written in the book; anyone can use the ideas I have written about. Copyright protects form, not content.
There are a number of issues here. First, I have no idea of what German law may or may not protect under copyright. In the U.S., unless otherwise posted, I can take photos in any public setting of anything or anyone I want for personal use. If I am producing artwork, that is, images not used to sell or market anything, then I do not need permission to use or sell the image. If, on the other hand, the image is being reproduced on a book cover, poster, ad or other marketing material including online, then I would need releases, both from people and property in the image. An artwork in a museum may be public domain, but it is possible that the museum setting or display could be copyrighted. Also, artwork based on another artist's work could be considered copyright infringement--Jeff Koons' use of a photograph by Art Rogers as the basis for a sculpture for example. On the other hand Richard Prince's artwork mainly consists of his appropriation of others' images that he takes from magazines and the internet, and he goes unconstrained.

Secondly, here ideas are protected here by intellectual property laws.
 

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In the U.S., ...

So much misinformation, don't know where to begin. How about at the U.S. Copyright Office website?

What is Copyright?​

Copyright is a type of intellectual property that protects original works of authorship as soon as an author fixes the work in a tangible form of expression. In copyright law, there are a lot of different types of works, including paintings, photographs, illustrations, musical compositions, sound recordings, computer programs, books, poems, blog posts, movies, architectural works, plays, and so much more!

What rights does copyright provide?​

U.S. copyright law provides copyright owners with the following exclusive rights:
  • Reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords.
  • Prepare derivative works based upon the work.
  • Distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership or by rental, lease, or lending.
  • Perform the work publicly if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work; a pantomime; or a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
  • Display the work publicly if it is a literary, musical, dramatic, or choreographic work; a pantomime; or a pictorial, graphic, or sculptural work. This right also applies to the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work.
  • Perform the work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission if the work is a sound recording.
Copyright also provides the owner of copyright the right to authorize others to exercise these exclusive rights, subject to certain statutory limitations.
Note: There is no distinction made above with respect to "personal" versus "commercial" use.

When can I use works that are not mine?​

Agreements, Exceptions, and Limitations​

It is important to know that we are all also copyright users. When we read books, watch movies, listen to music, or use videogames or software, we are using copyright-protected works.

So, even if you are not the owner of a work, you still may be able to use it. In addition to buying or licensing works (or some other way of seeking permission to use the work), you can also use one of the Copyright Act’s exceptions and limitations, or rely on works in the public domain.

The Copyright Act’s exceptions and limitations found in sections 107-122 include fair use, the “first sale doctrine,” some reproductions by libraries and archives, certain performances and displays, broadcast programming transmissions by cable and satellite, to name a few. Interested in more information on fair use? Take a look at our Fair Use Index. The complete list of exemptions to copyright protection can be found in chapter 1 of Title 17 of the United States Code.

You can also use works that are in the public domain. Works in the public domain are those that are never protected by copyright (like facts or discoveries) or works whose term of protection has ended either because it expired or the owner did not satisfy a previously required formality. Currently, all pre-1926 U.S. works are in the public domain because copyright protection has expired for those works.
 

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So much misinformation, don't know where to begin. How about at the U.S. Copyright Office website?

What is Copyright?​



What rights does copyright provide?​


Note: There is no distinction made above with respect to "personal" versus "commercial" use.

When can I use works that are not mine?​


Not misinformation, just information about another aspect of the rights to use an image. I never stated that this was the specific definition nor interpretation of copyright law.
 
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