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Can I Sell RR Train Pics??

Tom PotterTom Potter Registered Users Posts: 226 Major grins
edited January 9, 2016 in The Big Picture
Hey All,

I took a photo of a RR train here in Colorado. I am concerned with copyright. Is it legal
for me to sell such an image for profit? For what it's worth, it is a pic of the Cumbres & Toltec
Scenic Railroad (Natl Historic Landmark)

Thanks,

Tom
Tom Potter
www.tompotterphotography.com
Email: tom@tompotterphotography.com
Landscape, Nature Photographic Prints For Sale
Focusing On Colorado

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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,805 moderator
    edited January 2, 2016
    Copyright law is somewhat complex and convoluted. I think that the DGrin community has one individual qualified to speak to the subject, but I doubt that they would volunteer a free recommendation.

    Generally, anything you do without profit and for personal use is pretty much OK, but if you try to distribute a photo with a recognizable trademark without permission you may get into trouble. Charging money for a photo containing copyrighted material is usually not permitted without written permission. Exceptions are when the item is explicitly in the public domain and where the copyright owner has waived their rights for any and all public use.

    Ideally, you should contact the copyright holders to ask permission. Whether you use an attorney for that purpose is entirely your decision. if you should decide to retain legal representation, be sure to find an attorney who specializes in copyright law.

    As of 2012 contacts for the CTSRR appear to include:

    Tim Tennant: (505) 880-1311 (President & CEO of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Inc.)

    Peter R. Foster: (970) 259-7411 (Chairman of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission)

    Again, any permissions need to be in writing in order to have legal relevance.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    Tom PotterTom Potter Registered Users Posts: 226 Major grins
    edited January 3, 2016
    Hey Ziggy,

    You said about everything in your reply that I expected to hear. I appreciate your help with this, and for going to the trouble of getting me those contacts. One was around all this, I was thinking, is for me to remove the name with software. That way, there would no longer be any identifying marks, correct?

    Thanks,

    Tom

    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Copyright law is somewhat complex and convoluted. I think that the DGrin community has one individual qualified to speak to the subject, but I doubt that they would volunteer a free recommendation.

    Generally, anything you do without profit and for personal use is pretty much OK, but if you try to distribute a photo with a recognizable trademark without permission you may get into trouble. Charging money for a photo containing copyrighted material is usually not permitted without written permission. Exceptions are when the item is explicitly in the public domain and where the copyright owner has waived their rights for any and all public use.

    Ideally, you should contact the copyright holders to ask permission. Whether you use an attorney for that purpose is entirely your decision. if you should decide to retain legal representation, be sure to find an attorney who specializes in copyright law.

    As of 2012 contacts for the CTSRR appear to include:

    Tim Tennant: (505) 880-1311 (President & CEO of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Inc.)

    Peter R. Foster: (970) 259-7411 (Chairman of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission)

    Again, any permissions need to be in writing in order to have legal relevance.
    Tom Potter
    www.tompotterphotography.com
    Email: tom@tompotterphotography.com
    Landscape, Nature Photographic Prints For Sale
    Focusing On Colorado
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 3, 2016
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Copyright law is somewhat complex and convoluted. Very I think that the DGrin community has one individual qualified to speak to the subject, but I doubt that they would volunteer a free recommendation.

    Generally, anything you do without profit and for personal use is pretty much OK, Not true but if you try to distribute a photo with a recognizable trademark without permission you may get into trouble. May is the key, context is everything here showing a street photo with your girlfriend next to a Coco Cola truck is not going to be a problem word Charging money for a photo containing copyrighted material is usually not permitted without written permission. True but this applies whether or not your charging money Exceptions are when the item is explicitly in the public domain and where the copyright owner has waived their rights for any and all public use. True

    Ideally, you should contact the copyright holders to ask permission. Copyright and trademark are different animals, but yes if needed Whether you use an attorney for that purpose is entirely your decision. if you should decide to retain legal representation, be sure to find an attorney who specializes in copyright law.

    As of 2012 contacts for the CTSRR appear to include:

    Tim Tennant: (505) 880-1311 (President & CEO of the Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, Inc.)

    Peter R. Foster: (970) 259-7411 (Chairman of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad Commission)

    Again, any permissions need to be in writing in order to have legal relevance. True

    Them's is my thoughts, I bought and paid for them myself, and any use of these thoughts without prior written permission is forbidden.:D

    Sam
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    Tom PotterTom Potter Registered Users Posts: 226 Major grins
    edited January 3, 2016
    Laughing.gif - Thanks Sam! :O)
    Sam wrote: »
    Them's is my thoughts, I bought and paid for them myself, and any use of these thoughts without prior written permission is forbidden.:D

    Sam
    Tom Potter
    www.tompotterphotography.com
    Email: tom@tompotterphotography.com
    Landscape, Nature Photographic Prints For Sale
    Focusing On Colorado
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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,805 moderator
    edited January 4, 2016
    Tom Potter wrote: »
    Hey Ziggy,

    You said about everything in your reply that I expected to hear. I appreciate your help with this, and for going to the trouble of getting me those contacts. One was around all this, I was thinking, is for me to remove the name with software. That way, there would no longer be any identifying marks, correct?

    Thanks,

    Tom

    If there are any identifiable marks relating to any trademark you may still be at risk in a strict sense.

    Any strictly private showing is not putting you at risk, but any public showing, including semi-public, like your own office, can put you at risk. Asking money for a copy of the image puts you in greater risk simply because it's easier for the injured party to prove the possibility of damages to them.

    Even if the train or locomotive is not central to the image, if the train or locomotive is recognizable in the image, you may be at risk. Recognizable means anything about the image which the trademark holder can use to identify that particular train or locomotive, in this instance, as being theirs; i.e. it is not your decision as to whether or not it is identifiable and your opinion does not matter. It only matters if they, the injured party can demonstrate to a judge that the item in question is theirs.


    Sam is correct regarding my error in the use of the word, "copyright", in my previous post. This is a discussion primarily relating to "trademark" laws. However, Copyrights may also need to be considered. (No, I won't elaborate.)

    I believe that Sam is incorrect about his use of the term, "context", as context does not necessarily matter.

    As a "for instance" (and simply because I am most familiar with this instance), in Chicago there is a rather well known sculpture, "Cloud Gate", AKA "The Bean". The artist who sculpted the piece is rather well known for suing people for any image which includes a recognizable part of the artwork in the image.

    The city of Chicago is also somewhat aggressive in pursuing photographers of Millennium Park, the site of "Cloud Gate".

    http://newurbanist.blogspot.com/2005/01/copyrighting-of-public-space.html

    http://newurbanist.blogspot.com/2005/02/millennium-park-photographing-update.html

    Since these articles, there has been a relaxation of these restrictions (mostly because they are difficult to enforce), but that doesn't mean any individual is safe from a lawsuit and prosecution.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 4, 2016
    Ziggy,

    "in Chicago there is a rather well known sculpture, "Cloud Gate", AKA "The Bean". The artist who sculpted the piece is rather well known for suing people for any image which includes a recognizable part of the artwork in the image."

    Good luck with that. There's only about a billion photos online of this "bean". :D

    Also I can go online and find a billzilian squared photos containing trademarks.

    Sam
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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,805 moderator
    edited January 4, 2016
    Sam wrote: »
    Ziggy,

    "in Chicago there is a rather well known sculpture, "Cloud Gate", AKA "The Bean". The artist who sculpted the piece is rather well known for suing people for any image which includes a recognizable part of the artwork in the image."

    Good luck with that. There's only about a billion photos online of this "bean". :D

    Also I can go online and find a billzilian squared photos containing trademarks.

    Sam

    Absolutely correct. The problem is he really does sue people and no one is safe.

    I cannot recommend to a DGrinner that they do something which might be legally risky, even if the risk might be small.

    As for,
    Sam wrote: »
    ... There's only about a billion photos online of this "bean". :D

    Also I can go online and find a billzilian squared photos containing trademarks.

    Sam

    ... that sounds dangerously close to the "Golden Rationalization", or “Everybody does it” defense. Just because others do anything is neither a good reason to do the same thing ourselves, nor is it a legal defense.

    My recommendation for the original poster of this thread was, is, and will remain,
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    ... Ideally, you should contact the copyright holders to ask permission. Whether you use an attorney for that purpose is entirely your decision. if you should decide to retain legal representation, be sure to find an attorney who specializes in copyright law.
    ...

    Again, any permissions need to be in writing in order to have legal relevance.

    I truly believe that written permission is the only relatively safe course of action to apply when anyone wishes to publicly use a photograph of, or including, any identifiable and legally protected works. It's what each of us would ask of others relating to our own works, is it not?
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 5, 2016
    wave.gif My lawyers are on retainer.

    i-MzcQR7n-X2.jpg
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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,805 moderator
    edited January 6, 2016
    Sam wrote: »
    wave.gif My lawyers are on retainer.

    Do I take it correctly that if the original poster of this thread, our user "Tom Potter", takes your advice and gets into legal difficulty that you, "Sam Linville", will personally fund your attorney to defend our user "Tom Potter"? (Your statement does not mutually exclude others.)

    Since this is an open forum, and you are effectively giving advice to others to do the same, if anyone takes your advice and gets into legal difficulty will you, "Sam Linville", personally fund your attorney to defend them as well?
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2016
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Do I take it correctly that if the original poster of this thread, our user "Tom Potter", takes your advice and gets into legal difficulty that you, "Sam Linville", will personally fund your attorney to defend our user "Tom Potter"? (Your statement does not mutually exclude others.)

    Since this is an open forum, and you are effectively giving advice to others to do the same, if anyone takes your advice and gets into legal difficulty will you, "Sam Linville", personally fund your attorney to defend them as well?

    Ziggy,

    Can you kindly point out where I gave any advise?

    Sam
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    puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2016
    Well, having watched the occasional courtroom drama on the big silver screen - or the Beeb's Iplayer - I can just imagine a besuited member of the legal profession uttering stuff like ...

    What - precisely - was your purpose / motive behind making post #9 Mr Linville?
    What - precisely - did you think it would add to the OP's understanding of the issues being discussed in the thread?
    Do you think your post #9 was a positive contribution to the thread? ... If so, how, if not ... I'll let you fill in the dots on this one :)

    etc etc

    pp
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2016
    Well, having watched the occasional courtroom drama on the big silver screen - or the Beeb's Iplayer - I can just imagine a besuited member of the legal profession uttering stuff like ...

    What - precisely - was your purpose / motive behind making post #9 Mr Linville?
    What - precisely - did you think it would add to the OP's understanding of the issues being discussed in the thread?
    Do you think your post #9 was a positive contribution to the thread? ... If so, how, if not ... I'll let you fill in the dots on this one :)

    etc etcpp

    Your post must be some kind of UK humor that went right over my head. headscratch.gif

    The original question was about selling a train photo. From there the discussion revolved around copyright / trademark. Ziggy and I seem to disagree on many of these points.

    Since a detailed discussion of copyrights and or trademarks would take up the entire bandwidth of Digital Grin Ziggy and I have posted a few talking points. Post #9 was kind of in jest saying here is a train photo, I have no concern over being sued.

    Sam
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    puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited January 6, 2016
    Sam wrote: »
    Your post must be some kind of UK humor that went right over my head. ..

    Sort of ...and a bit of blue sky pondering about possible questioning re your #11 :)

    All in a similar vein to your 'pic posting' approach maybe?

    pp
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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,805 moderator
    edited January 6, 2016
    Sam wrote: »
    ... Ziggy and I have posted a few talking points. Post #9 was kind of in jest saying here is a train photo, I have no concern over being sued.

    Sam

    Hopefully Tom, the original poster, can make sense of all of our "topic points".

    My primary recommendation is, was and always will be the one which provides Tom, or anyone in a similar situation, with the lowest level of risk while respecting the rights of the intellectual property owner. As such, asking permission of the property owner first is the direction I would personally follow.
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 7, 2016
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    Hopefully Tom, the original poster, can make sense of all of our "topic points".

    My primary recommendation is, was and always will be the one which provides Tom, or anyone in a similar situation, with the lowest level of risk while respecting the rights of the intellectual property owner. As such, asking permission of the property owner first is the direction I would personally follow.

    There is nothing wrong with this approach. It is the super safe risk adverse course of action.

    Sam
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    ziggy53ziggy53 Super Moderators Posts: 23,805 moderator
    edited January 8, 2016
    Sam wrote: »
    There is nothing wrong with this approach. It is the super safe risk adverse course of action.

    Sam
    ziggy53 wrote: »
    ... while respecting the rights of the intellectual property owner. ...

    Respecting other's property is equally as important. thumb.gif
    ziggy53
    Moderator of the Cameras and Accessories forums
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    puzzledpaulpuzzledpaul Registered Users Posts: 1,621 Major grins
    edited January 9, 2016
    Incidentally, the nearest I've been to this sort of situation - photographing wildlife - was during a visit to St James's Park, London a few years ago.
    The end use of my pics was queried by one of the rangers, with me being isolated for questioning because of the gear I was using, I suspect (40D + 400 /5.6 + tripod).

    So, if there are any DGrs intending to visit such places during a visit to the UK ...

    https://www.royalparks.org.uk/park-management/licences-and-permits

    pp
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    SamSam Registered Users Posts: 7,419 Major grins
    edited January 9, 2016
    Incidentally, the nearest I've been to this sort of situation - photographing wildlife - was during a visit to St James's Park, London a few years ago.
    The end use of my pics was queried by one of the rangers, with me being isolated for questioning because of the gear I was using, I suspect (40D + 400 /5.6 + tripod).

    So, if there are any DGrs intending to visit such places during a visit to the UK ...

    https://www.royalparks.org.uk/park-management/licences-and-permits

    pp

    While many here might not care or have any interest in what restrictions England has for it's parks, they should pay attention to what is happening in America.

    National parks are trying to require permits for any photography that, could, might, possibly, etc, etc, etc end up being sold. IE: Posting your image on a SmugMug website.

    Check out Hearst Castle in CA. They claim total ownership and copyright to any photos taken by anyone and forbid any posting or publication without written permission.

    I have done some research on this and spoken with my ( cough, cough) state representative office. I, the great unwashed are not permitted to speak with the elected ones without the proper tithing.

    You must take the time to read and understand just how ridiculous these requirements are.

    Also beware the park rangers are not that well versed on the rules so you will get all kinds of conflicting info.

    Sam
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