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Restaurant Signs Copyright

Posted by: Penny Hunt on 02/03/2013 - 10:10 PM

I tried to do a search as far as signs. I just posted a new photograph and now wonder about the copyright. Should I ask the restaurant owner? It is for art and in the public but there is a trademark sign on their sign. I would think any advertising is great advertising but wonder about when someone is reselling? This is the print. Thanks for any assist.

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Oldest Reply

Posted by: Roy Erickson on 02/03/2013 - 10:24 PM

You might ask - bur "I" cannot imagine anyone refusing to give you a release - free advertising!!


Posted by: Janine Riley on 02/03/2013 - 10:33 PM

Good question. should be some interesting replies.....


Posted by: Jimmie Bartlett on 02/03/2013 - 11:09 PM

When in doubt, ask permission. Then you have no worries.


Posted by: Michael Hoard on 02/03/2013 - 11:44 PM

Hello Penny, very good observation and question, the copyright laws are there to protect the individual artist and or company. The sign was designed by a neon sign company would you hae to ask them permission as well, and its now the logo was turned into a piece of art neon art. I do know its how the commercial work is presented in the photo. In this case you took the photo of just the sign and nothing else. According to copyright laws pertaining to anything in the public domain. If there is other activity in the foreground and a sign may be in the background this is acceptable, all the laws vary globally. I did post a little information about the copyright laws for members to read up on them and use there own discretion.


Posted by: Penny Hunt on 02/04/2013 - 6:58 AM

Thank you all for your replies. @ Michael, yes I have other photos with signs in the background and pretty much found they are considered incidental and ok. I must not be doing search correctly, I will try to go back and find info. If I were the restaurant owner I would be thrilled, never thought the trademark probably belongs to the person who designed the sign or perhaps the artist who did the neon work. This sure gets complicated LOL.


Posted by: Paul Cowan on 02/04/2013 - 8:19 AM

It's really a pretty straightforward case of copying an artist's work and offering it for sale. I don't know the legal technicalities but I think I would avoid doing that. I can't see why anybody would want to hang it on their wall, either.


Posted by: Mike Savad on 02/04/2013 - 8:26 AM

i think if it's just the sign, i would beware, it's both a copyright and an artwork. if it's a part of the building (like you show the sign and the building etc), then it's safe.

---Mike Savad


Posted by: Charles Kozierok on 02/04/2013 - 8:38 AM

My usual safe answer: talk to a lawyer.

My usual general answer: the basic test for copyright is originality. Have you added anything to this piece of art by photographing it? If not, it's hard to argue that you have any copyright in the image.


Posted by: Chester Williams on 02/04/2013 - 8:48 AM

Mike, if you show the building too, then you may be violating the architects copyright too! This is getting soooo complicated. :-D


Posted by: Mike Savad on 02/04/2013 - 9:07 AM

actually your not. copyright law doesn't extend to building design, unless you building the building. it has to do with uniqueness, and it's not a work of art. it's a utility based thing. as art you can copyright it, but not as a building. i looked it up, and while some may fight it, your free to shoot it. just like you can shoot and sell people as long as they are in public. the law is very complicated and it will vary per trial. like if you were to shoot a building - who would get the permission from? the architect? the owner, the business?

---Mike Savad


This discussion is closed.