Interesting question asked of the Orlando Sentinel.....
Q: If I take a photograph of a privately owned building or object, do I own the copyright to that photograph? For example, if I took a photo of Spaceship Earth at Epcot, would I be allowed to make and sell postcards made from that photograph?
A: In this situation, the question of ownership of the copyright in the photograph is separate from that of the right to distribute and sell copies of the photograph.
You are the owner of the copyright for your original photograph, regardless of whether it was taken on private or public property. In general, that gives you the right to reproduce it, sell it, and to display the work publicly.
However, these rights are not always unlimited. A copyrighted work can incorporate pre-existing material or structures, such as Spaceship Earth at Epcot. But if that pre-existing structure is itself protected under the Copyright Act, the use of your copyrighted work is subject to certain restrictions.
Assuming your photo was taken on Disney's private property, your right to commercially distribute and display the photograph in postcards is restricted by Disney's rights under copyright laws. You would need to contact Disney's licensing or permissions department to obtain consent for your commercial distribution of the photographs.
So, suppose you publish your own photos of Disney on your website. And suppose the website has Google Ads on it, and then you are incredibly fortunate and start getting thousands of hits a month so that Google has to pay you a whopping $1.67 or something like that.
So... do you have to give part of your $1.67 to Disney, because you used pics of their copyrighted objects on your website and made money off it?
(anyone who has looked into Google Ads is now nodding with a knowing smile, or possibly even LOLing - apparently monetizing your website can be akin to trying to make it in showbusiness. There's lots of talent out there, but very, VERY few will actually make money doing it.)
Luckily, I do generate enough to cover at least 1/2 of the hosting costs here at TheWDBoards and enough to cover the hosting costs at WDBuddies.com ... but, it's very little per day, that's for sure. I gotta find more clever ways to get visitors to click on those things!
By the way, that's a good question about the pictures though, Tink. I would think (not legal advise, just a 'common sense' thought) that since you are not generating income directly off of those pictures, but off of the ads that are being clicked that it would be okay and not have to pay a piece of that $1.67. But again, I'm not 100% on that one.
Anyone else have any info on the 'legal' aspects of taking pictures at Disney and then selling products and/or the pictures themselves?
As I am reading this you are fine by doing that. I believe the way the law is written, they are referring to me taking a photo of Spaceship Earth, then making say a 1,000 copies of it, and selling those copies. I am selling my photograph of a copyrighted object and making money on it directly, so I would have to chat with Disney about that. Having photo's on your site, and having traffic brought to you by ad clicks doesn't fit this description.
This is interesting though, because there are those out there that are doing this, and either they have all worked something out with Disney, or Disney is choosing to allow this to go on. I have a tendency to believe it is the latter of the two.
What about the photopass photos you get on CD as you have paid Disney for the copyright surly it is entirely up to you what you do with them and if that means making a postcard set and selling it, so be it.
Although Jeff, I would assume that the use is strictly prohibited to personal uses of the pictures.
For example, you could say that since you had a picture taken and put it on a photopass CD and paid for it that it is now yours. Then, take that same picture that you have now paid for and put it on a book cover to be published. You would still, I assume, need to clear it with the Disney lawyers before doing so. At least, it seems that way to me
You know, it somehow doesn't seem right. If someone was on my street and took a picture of my house and then used it for profit, do you think they would owe me any money? I don't really know, but I'm kind of doubting it! But the House of Mouse, now that's a different story!
Can you imagine, if every time someone took a pic of the NYC skyline and used it in a publication - can you imagine having to pay each and every owner of all the buildings in the photo?