Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Church Steeple Copyright
Right, you had a question. We believe you can proceed with your book without seeking authorizations. Here are the general rules:
Anything created before 1990 is fine to reproduce. The appearance, architectural plans, drawings, or photographs of an architectural work (a building) created after 1990 cannot be reproduced without the consent of the owner of copyright -- usually the architect or developer. However, there are exceptions that would permit photos of post-1990s steeples -- for example, pictures of a church can be taken, distributed, or publicly displayed without permission if the church is located in a place that is ordinarily visible to the public. In addition, copyright will not protect standard architectural features (and a steeple seems pretty standard). Perhaps there exists a modern steeple that has ornate or other artistic details that make it protectable -- for example, maybe if this steeple were new. But even if it were protectable, your use of the photos in your book seems excusable because it is intended to comment upon the steeples -- precisely what fair use was intended to permit.