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Alamy just sent me an email saying they heard about legal issues regarding copyrights of Sanssouci Schloss images in Potsdam and have removed my images of the palace.

This is the second time it happened, first was with the british historical buildings some months ago.

I am not questioning Alamy, just want to know your opinion about this.

I don´t agree with that, public places, hundred years old.

What exactly are we protecting here?

It´s not an artist copyright (that, BTW, become public after 50 years, I think), but they can keep the copyrights, forever!

Those palaces were built to show off, not to be hidden under copyright laws in my opinion.

Eventually we won´t be able to take pictures of anything!

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I have had the same. To be honest, I was not surprised, German agencies removed them a few years ago after a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice of Germany which applies to all images taken from the grounds of palaces, ie Sanssouci

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Whatever happened to Panoramafreiheit?

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Panoramafreiheit  only applies on public land. The grounds of the palaces are not public, they are private property. 

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I have had the same. To be honest, I was not surprised, German agencies removed them a few years ago after a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice of Germany which applies to all images taken from the grounds of palaces, ie Sanssouci

 

Interesting that I can find Sanssouci images in almost all stock agencies. If you go to google maps there are hundreds of images of it.

As I said, I dont understand what are they trying to protect here.

Those images can only enhance tourism to the place.

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I have had the same. To be honest, I was not surprised, German agencies removed them a few years ago after a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice of Germany which applies to all images taken from the grounds of palaces, ie Sanssouci

 

Interesting that I can find Sanssouci images in almost all stock agencies. If you go to google maps there are hundreds of images of it.

As I said, I dont understand what are they trying to protect here.

Those images can only enhance tourism to the place.

 

 

I quite agree, even if not surprised it happened! If the organisation who owns the palaces and parks are on a campaign to clean up all images then they will have a hard time. And yes, they lose a lot of publicity. They already lost my support anyway by making the decision, I no longer visit them

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Alamy are trying to save the photographer from a billion $ lawsuite.

 
All of these restrictions strike at the heart of the stock photography business, except for hard news.
 
I don’t know what can be done about it. With stock photography prices trending towards zero $, I don’t particularly care.
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Alamy are trying to save the photographer from a billion $ lawsuite.

 

All of these restrictions strike at the heart of the stock photography business, except for hard news.

 

I don’t know what can be done about it. With stock photography prices trending towards zero $, I don’t particularly care.

Bill I do understand the reasons of Alamy and I am not complaining of them.

I just dont agree with image copyrights restricting historical buildings.

In my opinion after a few years they should be public domain.

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I am in the same position, and so must be (almost all of) the Alamy photographers who have uploaded 3,000+ other images taken on this property.  Is Alamy seriously going to wade through all of these images?  Has any Alamy contributor attempted to negotiate a release from SPSG, the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg? 

 

So many questions arise... why would any property manager, whose continuing success depends on tourism, take such a hostile and negative attitude to free publicity?  (my experience late last year was that SPSG seems not to give a damn about visitor amenities or satisfaction). 

 

Should photographers expect the same rigid mindset to prevail throughout Germany? Does German law really support such an all-encompassing definition of property rights? I hope we can generate some input from people more knowledgeable about the German situation. 

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Alamy is simply removing what it is asked to remove if there appear to be legal grounds however tenuous. In the case of National Trust images, it declined to remove images which were obviously taken from public property but one assumes that in the German case it is less able to determine what the SPSG is entitled to, so is taking its usual line of least resistance.

Alamy isn't proactively looking for images itself as far as I can see but it is responding to requests from those who claim to be rights holders.

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Should photographers expect the same rigid mindset to prevail throughout Germany? Does German law really support such an all-encompassing definition of property rights? I hope we can generate some input from people more knowledgeable about the German situation. 

 

Philip I really don't think the same exists throughout Germany, although someone may correct me here! But as an example I can say, a German agency I deal with who are very strict on property rights and also the rights of photographing people in the streets here will not accept images taken of Sanssoucci and other palaces of SPSG but they are perfectly happy to accept images of other palaces from other German states, also church interiors etc. German law is also good with regards to the freedom of panorama, certainly better than I have experienced in other European countries. To quote from another German photo site:

"According to § 59 UrhG of the Copyright Act principle of "Freedom of panorama from street view", permission from the creator is not needed if their work is permanently situated in open paths, roads or places and the image was taken from an area that is accessible to the general public.

When photographing a copyrighted modern building from the street, no PR (Property Release) is required."

When Alamy removed my images of Sanssouci they did say "If you believe you do have the correct permissions to sell these images then please send us proof of this. " I am sure that if I could have contacted them to indicate they were taken from public property the images would be re-instated, the same as happened with the National Trust images.

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Thanks Callie.  Your comments are very helpful (and I also found the 2013 discussion focussed on Cologne cathedral). 

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Evidently whenever some organisation gets a hot-shot new employee (NT had someone from Alamy apparently) said employee starts throwing their weight about over IP if they can find legal cover however partly-baked.

Perhaps it makes them look good when their work is reviewed.

Whatever the reason, we're on the receiving end and have to fight them one at a time. PITA but I suppose one way of looking at it is that it's a cost of doing business if you don't pay for releases.

Edited by spacecadet

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Well at least they haven't blamed it on Brexit!

 

. . . tick tick tick . . .

 

dd

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Thought this was going to be a thread about tongue-twisters. Disappointed. 

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We have the same issue in the UK with the National Trust. These restrictions are put in place so that the "owners" can charge their licensed photographers.

 

 

dov

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We have the same issue in the UK with the National Trust. These restrictions are put in place so that the "owners" can charge their licensed photographers.

 

 

dov

More specifically to the German case, it is misusing English law (a byelaw passed 51 years ago intended to control itinerant photographers on NT land) to threaten picture libraries and strengthen the monopoly of its own picture library, and without reference to the courts, I suspect because it does not want the law tested.

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This puzzles me, at least as to images used editorially. For example if a travel magazine wanted to do a story of Sanssouci Palast that's free speech right? Or what if a publication wanted to do a story about the poor condition of a historic site or otherwise critical piece about a place that claimed the rights to control all types of photos (including editorial.) If such an institution controlled all photos the media might access it would make telling a completely legit story impossible. Of course I don't know the laws in Germany (though I did once live there and never heard of such a thing back then,) but even if Germany or the EU could come up with such restrictive laws the same photo could be completely legal for use in other parts of the world where Alamy also licenses. 

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The German law of course refers only to Germany but Alamy still has to protect itself- it could be sued anywhere it has a business presence- so it tends to take the line of least resistance.

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