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Safari photos in my book - would there be any restrictions

Posted: Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:41 pm
by fabben
I'm guessing that the answer would be "No". But when I think about how big these game reserves are I can't imagine that some entity could have a monopoly on all photographs taken - but I could be wrong.

But then if I don't state which game reserve was used, who's to know. One lion sitting under a tree looks like any other, it could be anywhere.

However, I believe that Zebras can be identified by the patterns of their stripes. These patterns being like finger prints.

I'd be interested to have your thoughts on this



Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 8:03 am
by AndyJ
Hi fabben,
I'm not clear if you are talking about your own photographs, or those taken by others which might be used in a book. Clearly if it is the latter, then you would need the photographer's permission to use their images, and the views of the park or game reserve would be immaterial.
But if you mean the former, I think the way to find out about this would be to check the terms and conditions of the companies offering safaris. Alternatively, you could try asking on a wildlife photography forum. This then wouldn't be a copyright issue, but one of contract. This is much the same as if you go to a rock concert, where generally speaking there will be a condition of entry which bans commercial photography without permission from the venue or promoter. Even the Royal Parks in London require a licence to be obtained for any commercial photography carried out within them.
However, since one of the principal aims of a modern safari is to shoot the animals in the photographic sense, I would be very surprised if many obstacles were placed in the way of the keen wildlife photographer. Assuming that you go on a safari and take the photographs you want, you would own the copyright in them and this would not/could not be overridden by any terms of entry which the game reserve might wish to apply, although you might be in breach of contract if their terms forbade commercial use of photographs. Only then would it be necessary for them to prove that the disputed photographs had been taken in their reserve, rather than elsewhere. Plus there would be the added complication of selecting in which jurisdiction to bring the case. This would be costly and, I suspect, damaging to the image of the game reserve, so not something they would contemplate lightly, given the meagre damages which would be in prospect.

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:09 am
by fabben
Hi AndyJ

Yes, I was specifically concerned with my images. Something I hadn't considered before, although it seems obvious now, is that when I take a photo anywhere (Stately home, Museum, Royal Park). The photo's copyright will always be mine. But what I'm allowed to do with that photo is governed by their terms and conditions?

What about drawings, sketches? I've been to art galleries where photography is prohibited but you'll see artists doing their thing. Do the same rules of "what they can and can't do with their images" still apply or are works of art treated differently to photographs?

Posted: Sat Mar 08, 2014 10:54 am
by AndyJ
Hi fabben,
When you buy a ticket (or even if entry is free) to go into a museum or art gallery, you are entering into a contract of sorts with the gallery. They may impose terms and conditions (although if the T&Cs are non-obvious the attention of patrons must be drawn to these terms in order for them to be deemed 'fair') about what patrons may do during their visit. So for instance if the condition of entry says 'no photography', that would not include sketching, just as a notice which said 'no dogs' would not also bar cats.

It is important to separate copyright - a right for the owner of that right to decide if and how to exploit his work - from the right of a property owner to decide what is or isn't permissible by members of the public when they are allowed access.

These terms are not really there because of any copyright in the art on display, which of course may or may not be subject to copyright depending on their age. If you photograph a Damien Hirst work in a gallery without permission that would be an infringement* of his copyright even if there were no conditions of entry. The same would not apply to a painting by Rembrandt because his work is out of copyright.

So where the work on display is not in copyright, and you take photographs even though photography is banned, you own the copyright in your photograph. Where the thing you photograph (eg a Damien Hirst installation) is itself covered by copyright, there may be no valid copyright in your photograph of it, because yours would be an infringing copy. In either case the property owner cannot insist that the film is handed over or that digital images are deleted; that would amount to criminal damage if the photographer refused to comply and the camera was seized by a security guard etc. The correct approach is for the property owner to sue for breach of contract if the patron had failed to abide by the T&Cs of entry, or in the second case, the copyright owner (and not the gallery) would need to pursue an action for infringement. Needless to say, this doesn't happen very often. Usually the offender would just be asked to leave.

* There is a special case where the works of art are "sculptures, models for buildings and works of artistic craftsmanship, if permanently situated in a public place or in premises open to the public" (see section 62). In such cases, it does not infringe copyright in those types of work (or buildings) if a photograph is taken of them (but of course it may still be contrary to the terms of entry in certain instances, such as National Trust properties or the Royal Parks for instance, if the photography is for commercial purposes).