Friday, January 18, 2013
Can I Photo Miami Landmarks?
Right, you had a question. We've said it before in other blog entries, but we're happy to repeat it here: Anyone is free to photograph publicly viewable buildings in the U.S., (even those constructed after architectural copyrights were legitimized). Under copyright law, building owners cannot prevent you from taking photos from a public spot and they can't hassle you over manipulations or other "pictorial representations." As for hassling you over patents, that's a non-starter. The design and appearance of a building can't be protected by a utility patent. Arguably, it may be protected by a design patent but that could only be infringed if someone created a similar building. As for trademark protection, it's possible that uniquely shaped structures such as the 1111 Lincoln Road parking lot may claim trademark rights (we found a registration for the mark, "1111," Serial No. 77816143) but even if the parking lot achieved trademark/trade dress status, the owners can't stop artistic or editorial uses such as a photo exhibition, or a book from an exhibition (or even for use on postcards).