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When is it ok to declare an image does not contain property?


Cal
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I understand the title is somewhat loaded so I'll explain better what I mean.


I've read massively conflicting views in various places about where to draw the line when declaring an image does not have property. Some cases are obvious, like brand names, symbols or even patented shapes like the iPod click wheel, and I am not talking about these. Other cases are much harder to decide, like landscapes containing a single distant house in shadow that is virtually unrecognisable, or generic looking property on a distant horizon. Where do you draw the line? 

 

In many ways I've been very cautious with a lot of photos in my port, marking as property even if there are no logos or brands visible at all. If you take the meaning of the word "property" literally, then any photo I take inside my own house needs a release, as does anything "owned", which is err, nearly everything. How many photos of durdle door bereft of people are marked as "no property" - I wonder? To my understanding durdle door is NOT public land, but I wonder how many people take the risk anyway? Just how far do you go in defining what "property" is? This is a question I am struggling to answer but generally I draw the line at "how likely am I to get sued if I mark this as no property and someone sees it used commercially" and if the answer is "not a cat in hell's chance" I do it.

 

I've questioned my own judgement too often though. A couple of bricks from a house in an image of a flagpole. Does that require to be marked as property? What about a distant landmark, a literal spec on the horizon, from dozens miles away? The aforementioned house nestled deep in the pixels of a landscape photo? The foot of a boot that contains no recognisable branding but to an expert in the field could be placed to a single manufacturer? I once read from someone who appeared to be a seasoned pro that images of cityscapes, so long as they don't contain recognisable brands or symbols, can be marked as not containing property. I do wonder how the owners of the buildings feel about that, and I've not been brave enough to risk it. Is there a general consensus that once you are a certain distance away from something, the owner of that building loses the ability to claim it in an image? 

 

It's a dicey situation to be in given the wrong answer could result in a lawsuit, but I also feel like I am stealing potential sales from myself by being overcautious. The guidelines say what they say about property, but there are far too many grey areas not covered. Who in the know can clarify at least some of this and distill into a common sense approach?

 

 

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If I have property in an image, I tick 'image contains property' and 'no, I haven't got a release'.

 

That way I am covered and it is up to the end user to make sure they use the image correctly.

 

John.

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49 minutes ago, Stokie said:

If I have property in an image, I tick 'image contains property' and 'no, I haven't got a release'.

 

That way I am covered and it is up to the end user to make sure they use the image correctly.

 

John.

 

Thanks John... not disagreeing with that, but I am hoping to dig down a little deeper into the discussion.

 

The issue is, how far do we interpret the meaning of property? There are cut and dry cases as you suggest, but in photography it is virtually impossible to define rules for everything.

 

One interpretation suggests that if I take a photo of my carpet, I can upload it and say "no property". There are no distinctive markings or logo. No intellectual property.  Another school of thought suggests I should mark it as property as it is my property - my carpet. It belongs to someone.

 

I don't doubt there are many landscapes out there (for instance) sold commercially under the impression they contain no property, but can you (general, not you personally) prove that beyond doubt? Is the use of the word "property" here meant to cover property as in a possession of land, as well as IP or logos/brands? Because in that case I suspect many landscape photos actually do contain property, ie owned land, but may not necessarily be marked up as such.

 

I guess what I am saying is, an expansive definition of what property covers and in what situations would be nice, but again I understand you can't cover every situation. 

 

I have an old poster of a photo taken of the NYC skyline. It's pre (or early) 2001 for obvious reasons and I guess it must have been taken on film. Beautiful photo. It's been sold commercially obviously, but I highly doubt the photographer obtained permission from every single owner of each building in the image. That would be absurd. Are rules being broken here? See my earlier comment about cityscapes and not needing to mark them as property. Is this true?

Edited by Cal
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This was much more of a pressing issue under the previous AIM system where this question had to be answered for every image.

 

Now it is an optional field. I just ignore it and leave it to the buyer. To be clear I simply do not complete this optional field. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, geogphotos said:

This was much more of a pressing issue under the previous AIM system where this question had to be answered for every image.

 

Now it is an optional field. I just ignore it and leave it to the buyer. To be clear I simply do not complete this optional field. 

 

 

 

Ah, the pragmatic approach. I was actually doing this in the beginning but through a misguided sense of "doing the job properly" I went back and filled out most of this info. I actually wish I hadn't bothered.

 

I got spooked when I sold a photo taken in New York that I hadn't annotated the optional field at all. Crapped myself thinking I was about to be sued up the wazoo, saw it had been sold for editorial purposes, breathed a massive sigh of relief then went and annotated them all. Only to later twig that it was indeed an optional field and there was no harm done. Sometimes I miss the bleeding obvious...

Edited by Cal
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7 minutes ago, Cal said:

 

Ah, the pragmatic approach. I was actually doing this in the beginning but through a misguided sense of "doing the job properly" I went back and filled out most of this info. I actually wish I hadn't bothered.

 

I got spooked when I sold a photo taken in New York that I hadn't annotated the optional field at all. Crapped myself thinking I was about to be sued up the wazoo, saw it had been sold for editorial purposes, breathed a massive sigh of relief then went and annotated them all. Only to later twig that it was indeed an optional field and there was no harm done. Sometimes I miss the bleeding obvious...

 

 

If this is worrying you the easiest thing is to do nothing and let the buyer make all the decisions. 

 

I do complete the MR section on the rare occasion that I have one. Actually I need to check pics I have taken of my own house and say that there is a PR. 😃

Edited by geogphotos
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2 hours ago, Cal said:

A couple of bricks from a house in an image of a flagpole. Does that require to be marked as property?

The flagpole is property of somebody too. I always err on the side of caution and let the buyer decide, but rarely tick the editorial only box so that option is available to them.

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