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12last
Photographer
ms-photo
Posts: 470
Portland, Oregon, US


This sign is in in a public place, but if you plan on taking pictures of it and publishing them anywhere, the city wants you to pay up.  I don't see how this is legal.

http://www.katu.com/news/local/Want-to- … 89981.html
Jan 29 13 08:43 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JOEL McDONALD
Posts: 608
Portland, Oregon, US


ms-photo wrote:
This sign is in in a public place, but if you plan on taking pictures of it and publishing them anywhere, the city wants you to pay up.  I don't see how this is legal.

http://www.katu.com/news/local/Want-to- … 89981.html

Interesting. Not sure how they can. I suppose if it were used in a commercial way maybe. But for editorial, artistic and other non-commercial images I can't see it holding up.

Besides it's named a historic landmark as of 1977, which puts it squarely in the public domain like any other public landmark.

Should be interesting to see where this goes.

Jan 29 13 08:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Farenell Photography
Posts: 17,857
Albany, New York, US


Not sure of Portland's specific reasoning behind this plan(?) but its not entirely w/o precedent.

I don't remotely claim in knowing the exacting reasoning for theirs but I know when you take a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night, the city of Paris claims copyright.
Jan 29 13 08:51 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JOEL McDONALD
Posts: 608
Portland, Oregon, US


Farenell Photography wrote:
Not sure of Portland's specific reasoning behind this plan(?) but its not entirely w/o precedent.

I don't remotely claim in knowing the exacting reasoning for theirs but I know when you take a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night, the city of Paris claims copyright.

Really? Wow, I never knew that! Maybe because they're paying for the lighting costs?

Jan 29 13 08:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Ken Marcus Studios
Posts: 8,426
Los Angeles, California, US


For cities to function properly, they need revenue. As long as some ignorant people think that taxes are evil, and refuse to allow governments to utilize them, cities and states will have to raise money in whatever ways they can.

Welcome to the new world !
Jan 29 13 09:03 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SPV Photo
Posts: 763
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Doesn't the same apply to the Hollywood sign?
Jan 29 13 09:10 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chuckarelei
Posts: 9,268
Seattle, Washington, US


That's how a typical democrat controlled city (county, state, country for that matter) run. Tax and wasteful spending other people's money. This is not the last of it.
Jan 29 13 09:14 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Robert Lynch
Posts: 2,482
Bowie, Maryland, US


JOEL McDONALD wrote:
Besides it's named a historic landmark as of 1977, which puts it squarely in the public domain like any other public landmark.

Sigh.  Such fail here.

Ignoring the sign that is the subject of this thread for a moment, most National Historic Landmarks are actually in private hands, and designation as a landmark does not put the property "in the public domain" or in anyway encumber or limit the rights of the property owner.

Jan 29 13 09:32 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JOEL McDONALD
Posts: 608
Portland, Oregon, US


Robert Lynch wrote:

Sigh.  Such fail here.

Ignoring the sign that is the subject of this thread for a moment, most National Historic Landmarks are actually in private hands, and designation as a landmark does not put the property "in the public domain" or in anyway encumber or limit the rights of the property owner.

Really. That's interesting. Didn't know that.

Jan 29 13 09:41 pm  Link  Quote 
Body Painter
Monad Studios
Posts: 9,285
Santa Rosa, California, US


Regardless of what a local government might be entitled to under IP law, it ought to be more concerned with long-term promotion than short-term collection of licensing fees.  Allowing free use of the city's symbols helps promote the city.

This is just one example of short-sighted public bureaucrats trying to collect petty revenue for things that belong rightfully to everyone.
Jan 29 13 09:44 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marc Damon
Posts: 6,562
Biloxi, Mississippi, US


ms-photo wrote:
This sign is in in a public place, but if you plan on taking pictures of it and publishing them anywhere, the city wants you to pay up.  I don't see how this is legal.

http://www.katu.com/news/local/Want-to- … 89981.html

Sigh. It's not a copyright issue. It is a property use issue. If you go to Microsoft's office in Redmond, WA and take a photo of their sign, don't plan on using it for commercial purposes. It's trademarked and they own the right to control how it's used. Same thing with the sign in Portland. The city owns the sign. They have the right to control how it's used. There are some errors on proper use in the linked article but that could be the reporter who made a mistake. I'm sure the city attorney has had a hand in trademarking the sign and ensuring what they're doing follows the letter of the law.

Now here's a couple of questions. How many of you photographers bother to actually obtain property releases for your shoot locations? Do you think you would lose in court if you were sued for commercial use of property that didn't belong to you?

Jan 29 13 09:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light and Lens Studio
Posts: 1,194
Sisters, Oregon, US


The "Peoples Republic of Portland" is controlled by left wing, extremist, tax and spend, liberals whose appetite for spending other peoples  money has no limits.  It's just another money grab to fund the excessive and obscene public unions (whose leaders also seem to have no limits on appetites for spending).

Welcome to the world of "Hope and Change".
Jan 29 13 09:48 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Marc Damon
Posts: 6,562
Biloxi, Mississippi, US


Light and Lens Studio wrote:
The "Peoples Republic of Portland" is controlled by left wing, extremist, tax and spend, liberals whose appetite for spending other peoples  money has no limits.  It's just another money grab to fund the excessive and obscene public unions (whose leaders also seem to have no limits on appetites for spending).

Welcome to the world of "Hope and Change".

When did SB move here? Are you guys planning an invasion or something?

Jan 29 13 09:53 pm  Link  Quote 
Body Painter
Monad Studios
Posts: 9,285
Santa Rosa, California, US


Light and Lens Studio wrote:
The "Peoples Republic of Portland" is controlled by left wing, extremist, tax and spend, liberals whose appetite for spending other peoples  money has no limits.  It's just another money grab to fund the excessive and obscene public unions (whose leaders also seem to have no limits on appetites for spending).

Welcome to the world of "Hope and Change".

A very pleasant city to visit, IMHO.

Jan 29 13 09:54 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
JOEL McDONALD
Posts: 608
Portland, Oregon, US


Light and Lens Studio wrote:
The "Peoples Republic of Portland" is controlled by left wing, extremist, tax and spend, liberals whose appetite for spending other peoples  money has no limits.  It's just another money grab to fund the excessive and obscene public unions (whose leaders also seem to have no limits on appetites for spending).

Welcome to the world of "Hope and Change".

Actually I think it's more about cities and communities trying to make up revenue losses from the near collapse of our economy in 2008 as well as the loss of sales tax revenues and reduced property taxes.

When you cut and or lose tax revenue then things like this happen.

It's not a left wing or liberal thing, it's just simple economics.

Jan 29 13 09:55 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chuckarelei
Posts: 9,268
Seattle, Washington, US


Marc Damon wrote:
When did SB move here? Are you guys planning an invasion or something?

It's not SB. It's just truth and fact.

Jan 29 13 09:59 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Orca Bay Images
Posts: 32,233
Lodi, California, US


Good luck to them on charging for news/editorial use.
Jan 29 13 10:01 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Chuckarelei
Posts: 9,268
Seattle, Washington, US


Light and Lens Studio wrote:
The "Peoples Republic of Portland" is controlled by left wing, extremist, tax and spend, liberals whose appetite for spending other peoples  money has no limits.  It's just another money grab to fund the excessive and obscene public unions (whose leaders also seem to have no limits on appetites for spending).

Welcome to the world of "Hope and Change".
JOEL McDONALD wrote:
Actually I think it's more about cities and communities trying to make up revenue losses from the near collapse of our economy in 2008 as well as the loss of sales tax revenues and reduced property taxes.

When you cut and or lose tax revenue then things like this happen.

It's not a left wing or liberal thing, it's just simple economics.

When the economy was good, property values were high as well as tax revenues. I didn't see these goon refund the windfall tax money back to the citizens. ???


Regardless, I can't wait to see someone would challenge them in court for chargeing something belongs and already paid for by the tax payers.

Jan 29 13 10:02 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light and Lens Studio
Posts: 1,194
Sisters, Oregon, US


JOEL McDONALD wrote:
Actually I think it's more about cities and communities trying to make up revenue losses from the near collapse of our economy in 2008 as well as the loss of sales tax revenues and reduced property taxes.

When you cut and or lose tax revenue then things like this happen.

It's not a left wing or liberal thing, it's just simple economics.

Duhhhhh.  This is not rocket science.
1. Oregon has never had a sales tax to lose.
2. Oregon income taxes are in the top 5 in the US
3. It's not a revenue problem, it's a spending problem.  Problem is spending more than you take in.

Now, hang on for this one:  When you spend more than you take in, you go broke.  It is definitely economics and, yes, it is simple.

Jan 29 13 10:08 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ontherocks
Posts: 22,206
Salem, Oregon, US


i took some pictures of that sign at night from a boat on the river. sounds like a strange sort of precedent.
Jan 29 13 10:15 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Kevin Connery
Posts: 16,656
El Segundo, California, US


Moderator Note!

Chuckarelei wrote:

Marc Damon wrote:
When did SB move here? Are you guys planning an invasion or something?

It's not SB. It's just truth and fact.

Standing on a soapbox and proclaiming "truth and fact" is still standing on a soapbox.

Please keep it out of the other forums.

Jan 29 13 11:07 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Z_Photo
Posts: 6,901
Huntsville, Alabama, US


"the pine tree" on the 17 mile drive at pebble beach is another example
Jan 29 13 11:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
DougBPhoto
Posts: 37,557
Portland, Oregon, US


Chuckarelei wrote:
When the economy was good, property values were high as well as tax revenues. I didn't see these goon refund the windfall tax money back to the citizens. ???


Regardless, I can't wait to see someone would challenge them in court for chargeing something belongs and already paid for by the tax payers.

Even when property values were high, there were still more projects to fund than there was tax revenue for.  The city never had a surplus in tax revenues, not even when property values were at their highest.

The state law actually refunds excess income tax revenues when they surpass projections, it is called the kicker law, and it is repaid back to the citizens.

You know, those pesky little details called the truth that are conveniently ignored when many people are trying to make their points.

The irony with this sign though is that IIRC, the city only recently took a financial interest in it to keep it from being torn down, and since I don't think there has been a revenue stream to repay that expense, it really would not have already been paid for by the tax payers, more like a loan from the city that they are trying to generate revenue to repay.

Personally, I will wait until tomorrow morning when the full story is released, and get far more details.

Jan 29 13 11:17 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
SKPhoto
Posts: 25,779
Newark, California, US


Jan 29 13 11:39 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NothingIsRealButTheGirl
Posts: 32,026
Los Angeles, California, US


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/1/1d/Welcome_to_fabulous_las_vegas_sign.jpg/577px-Welcome_to_fabulous_las_vegas_sign.jpg

Willis intended to design a sign that was unique in its shape, style and content. Young Electric Sign Company (YESCO) currently owns the sign, which leases it to Clark County, while the design itself is in the public domain. The design of the sign was never copyrighted since Willis considered this her gift to the city and wanted it to be in the public domain. This has resulted in the image being ubiquitous on Las Vegas souvenirs.
Jan 29 13 11:45 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
NothingIsRealButTheGirl
Posts: 32,026
Los Angeles, California, US


SPV Photo wrote:
Doesn't the same apply to the Hollywood sign?

http://ask.metafilter.com/88293/Hollywo … rademarked

Jan 29 13 11:47 pm  Link  Quote 
Photographer
ms-photo
Posts: 470
Portland, Oregon, US


Z_Photo wrote:
"the pine tree" on the 17 mile drive at pebble beach is another example

Wrong because that can only be accessed from private property.

Jan 30 13 12:14 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Light Writer
Posts: 18,387
Oakland, California, US


I don't see how it's any different from a building owner requiring a fee to photograph the building. Why should governments have fewer property rights than companies? The populace of the town will benefit from the revenue generation (though minimally), why should representative governments give their shareholder's (the resident's) stuff away for free to non-residents? Some "foreigner" ( non-resident ) wants to monetize the natural resource of a locale's indigenous people? How shocking. That's never happened in North America before.
Jan 30 13 12:19 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Shot By Adam
Posts: 5,549
Las Vegas, Nevada, US


Marc Damon wrote:

Sigh. It's not a copyright issue. It is a property use issue. If you go to Microsoft's office in Redmond, WA and take a photo of their sign, don't plan on using it for commercial purposes.

Not entirely true. Actually, for the most part, it's not even partially true. If you take a picture of the front of their building from the street, you are on public property and shooting their building and their sign, even for commercial purposes, is 100% fair game. However, if I were to step on to their property, that's an entirely separate issue and it still does not have anything to do with commercial use of the images, now it becomes a trespassing issue for which Microsoft can enforce upon you if they don't want you taking photos from their grounds and they can pursue a civil action against you for such trespassing as well.

It's trademarked and they own the right to control how it's used.

That's not even remotely close to how trademark law works. Stop playing armchair attorney if you don't know because it's clear you don't know in this matter. As someone who has actually worked with attorneys and filed for over 50 trademarks over the last ten years, I can state quite factually that you don't know how trademark law works.

A trademark is literally a "Trade" "Mark"...two separate words put together. When you file for a trademark, or "mark of your trade" you must file the mark for specific intended usage of that mark. For example, taking your Microsoft example, if they create a unique logo, they need to tell the United States Patent and Trademark Office that I want to register my logo for a specific use. Let's say that use is for software boxes. The USPTO has a category for trademarks on packing, so they are going to file for any specific application they can dream up as it pertains to packaging. Hence, the trademark will encompass envelopes, boxes, software boxes, CD sleeves, DVD cases, etc. Should a new form of box come out on the market that's unique in nature, Microsoft can always go back and modify their mark with the new update.

At this point, it is still 100% legal to use their logo on a t-shirt. Why? Because Microsoft has not yet filed for a trademark for clothing. As soon as they do, it's no longer fair game. That mark will be much more intensive than the packaging one as it will encompass everything from t-shirts to BBQ Aprons and everything in between. You really want to make your head spin, go look at the trademarks filed by Lucas for all the Star Wars merchandise. Countless other trademark filings used their exact verbiage as they left no stone unturned in their filing.

Back to the point though, there is no such trademark you can file for "use of logo on our sign as taken from a public street". You can't file for that. This is why I can go and take pictures of their building and their logo all day long from the street and use it for editorial purposes, portfolio purposes, anything I want. I can publish a photo of a girl in a bikini standing out in front of their sign and it's completely fair game, as long as it was shot on the street. Now, if I take that photo with the bikini model and the clearly visible Microsoft sign and put it on a t-shirt, THEN, and only then can Microsoft have anything to say about it because they have a mark of trade or "trademark" of that logo as it could appear on clothing, protected.

Same thing with the sign in Portland. The city owns the sign. They have the right to control how it's used.

Not when it's in public and the fair-use laws have something to say about it, they don't. Now, if you shot it from private or government property, that's one thing. They can also trademark the sign and require you to purchase a license in order to use it for certain commercial purposes, but they legally cannot tell you that you can or cannot take a picture of the sign, from a public street, and then ask you for money. That's illegal.

The problem is, most money-hungry politicians are fucktards when it comes to the law. They pass these laws either out of ignorance or out of desire to collect taxes knowing that the general population won't challenge the policy.

We have a law here in Nevada that states it is illegal to ride a moose, wearing socks, on railroad tracks. Yep, you read that right. Now, whether it is the moose wearing the socks or the rider wearing the socks, that part of the law is unclear, but it's been on our books for over 100 years. Go try and get that removed and see what happens. It's an idiotic law that was passed as a rider to keep the main bill from passing and when it did, the rider got passed too. Sure you can get it removed but it's going to cost lots of time and lots of money, so most people would never bother with it. The same thing applies to these idiots who pass laws such as charging you shoot something, in public, from a public place. It's 100% illegal, but go argue that with the scumbag politicians who don't care. They know that once that law is passed they can go shake you down for money if you snap a picture of it and to get that law removed is going to cost way more money than any photographer like you or I are going to spend on it to get it repealed.

Jan 30 13 12:37 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
studio36uk
Posts: 21,535
Tavai, Sigave, Wallis and Futuna


Shot By Adam wrote:
We have a law here in Nevada that states it is illegal to ride a moose, wearing socks, on railroad tracks. Yep, you read that right. Now, whether it is the moose wearing the socks or the rider wearing the socks, that part of the law is unclear, but it's been on our books for over 100 years.

Subject to interpretation by the courts - - - LOL

Studio36

Jan 30 13 02:45 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Mike Collins
Posts: 1,741
Orlando, Florida, US


This reminds me of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame case, which IS private property but lost this case. 

http://www.jurisnotes.com/IP/articles/t … kblues.htm

Good luck Portland.  Public sign shot from public property?  If this holds up, we could solve the national debt just from all the photos taken in D.C. alone!
Jan 30 13 03:07 am  Link  Quote 
guide forum
Photographer
Robb Mann
Posts: 10,006
Baltimore, Maryland, US


ms-photo wrote:
This sign is in in a public place, but if you plan on taking pictures of it and publishing them anywhere, the city wants you to pay up.  I don't see how this is legal.

http://www.katu.com/news/local/Want-to- … 89981.html

Im going to Portland soon. I'm totally going to shoot that sign and facebook it.

Jan 30 13 03:08 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
AaronPawlak
Posts: 2,703
New York, New York, US


Governments can do anything they can get away with.
Right and wrong is not defined black and white simple.
Jan 30 13 03:26 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Art of the nude
Posts: 11,781
Olivet, Michigan, US


Robert Lynch wrote:
Sigh.  Such fail here.

Ignoring the sign that is the subject of this thread for a moment, most National Historic Landmarks are actually in private hands, and designation as a landmark does not put the property "in the public domain" or in anyway encumber or limit the rights of the property owner.

Getting a little off topic, but a great deal of the "historic landmark" legislation most certainly DOES limit the rights of the property owner.  Mostly in relation to modifications, but there may be other aspects.

Jan 30 13 03:52 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
TomFRohwer
Posts: 589
Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany


Farenell Photography wrote:
I don't remotely claim in knowing the exacting reasoning for theirs but I know when you take a picture of the Eiffel Tower at night, the city of Paris claims copyright.

The light installation is protected by french copyright laws so if you publish an image of the illuminated Eiffel Tower in France you need a permission and for several kinds of usage have to pay a fee.

Taking photographs of the illuminated Eiffel Tower does not require any permissions or fees by French laws. (Using large tripods and professional equipment on public ground may result in being regarded as a professional photographer by French authorities nevertheless and may result in some legal complications.)

Publishing an image of the illuminated Eiffel Tower is governed by the laws of the country in which you publish this image.

In Germany for instance you are entitled to publish an image of the illuminated Eiffel Tower without permission because even if the light installation is reckoned as an artwork protected by copyright laws (it is, by the way) that does not matter legally. Reason: German copyright laws allow to publish photographs or paintings etc. of copyright protected works, buildings, artwork etc. as long as these are installed permanently on or along public streets and places and the image is taken from public ground.* (ยง59 UrhG)

This rule includes any kind of commercial use, too.

(A lot of other European countries have copyright laws quite similar to those in Germany.)

Besides coyright matters the brand "Eiffel Tower" (Tour Eiffel, Eiffelturm, ...)  is protected as a trademark worldwide.

______________________

*) For this reason Christo's wrapping of the Reichstag in Berlin did not fell under this law. Christo's installation was a temporary one.

(In simplified terms under German law a copyrighted work is installed "permanently" if there is no fixed date of de-installation at the time of installing that stuff. So if you say "It's for a month or one year" it's temporary. If you say "We put it there and time will show when it's put down again" it's permanently. If it's evident that the stuff had been already installed for some years it will be seen as "permanently installed" regardless what you say...)

Jan 30 13 04:38 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
varton
Posts: 2,264
New York, New York, US


Marc Damon wrote:
Now here's a couple of questions. How many of you photographers bother to actually obtain property releases for your shoot locations? Do you think you would lose in court if you were sued for commercial use of property that didn't belong to you?

I DO.

Jan 30 13 04:58 am  Link  Quote 
Model
Caitin Bre
Posts: 1,798
Naperville, Illinois, US


I could understand them charging some china company planning on using it to make millions of trinkets, for sale.(like Vegas sign)

I don't understand this though. Maybe there is a big expense keeping the sign lit and replacing its custom bulbs that are expensive and the city can no longer afford it.
But I would think they would explain that.

On the other hand what would this mean for google maps street view? can everyone charge google now for the use of there property in there maps?
Jan 30 13 05:22 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
KMP
Posts: 4,667
Houston, Texas, US


JOEL McDONALD wrote:
Really? Wow, I never knew that! Maybe because they're paying for the lighting costs?

.....and maybe because they paid and designed the sign?  News stories are probably more a control issue.  BUT when money exchanges hands..it is a game changer for rights and usage.....

There are some very good forum entries on here about usage..written by an MM member who is also a lawyer..but I'm too lazy to find the links smile smile

Jan 30 13 05:44 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Halcyon 7174 NYC
Posts: 20,109
New York, New York, US


Orca Bay Images wrote:
Good luck to them on charging for news/editorial use.

No doubt, but I think this is more about t-shirts and postcards.

Jan 30 13 06:40 am  Link  Quote 
Photographer
Andrew Thomas Evans
Posts: 23,941
Minneapolis, Minnesota, US


Monad Studios wrote:
Regardless of what a local government might be entitled to under IP law, it ought to be more concerned with long-term promotion than short-term collection of licensing fees.  Allowing free use of the city's symbols helps promote the city.

Not sure how some random-ass photographer selling some random-ass picture of their city sign would really help them promote the city. In fact, better placement in movies/tv/ads would reach more people and give them a little more control over the image thus making the promotion more impactfull.

Kind of reminds me of this - http://garden.walkerart.org/artwork.wac

Can go all day long taking pictures of it, but try to do somethings with that image and it will bring trouble.



Andrew Thomas Evans
www.andrewthomasevans.com

Jan 30 13 07:18 am  Link  Quote 
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