Using photographs of public places in children's book

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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onedearworld
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Using photographs of public places in children's book

Post by onedearworld » Fri Aug 11, 2017 10:40 am

Hi I'm a newbie here. I am working on a children's book and the main characters travel to iconic public places in London like the tube, London bus, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Southbank Centre to see the grafitti etc.

I am using photographs I took and some stock images under CC0 license and I wonder if I can use them in my book without getting property release (considering the freedom of Panorama)?

A few photos that bother me in particular are those with the London Eye, the London underground rondel inside the book and the Lonon bus image on the cover. Can I use them directly considering it as editorial use? or I could still use the images but need to modify/distort/blur them?

Having read many articles online, I am still unsure what I can and cannot do, so appreciate if anyone can help me out.

Thanks a lot!

Winnie
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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:12 pm

Hi Winnie,

There should not be much problem with what you want to do.

UK copyright law permits the making of graphical representations of buildings and works of art or sculpture which are situated in public spaces. It also allows the publication of such images, without infringing copyright. This would obviously cover any buildings, whether iconic or mundane, such as Buckingham Palace and the graffiti at the Southbank. The London Eye might also possibly qualify as an architectural work or possibly at a stretch, as a work of sculpture, and if so, it would be included in the exception. And if it wasn't, it would not be protected by copyright at all. London buses are not protected by copyright so can be freely photographed and published.

ImageThe most problematic bit is the London Transport roundel. The original (shown here) is now out of copyright, but it has been subtly altered many times over the years, and so, the current symbol probably qualifies for copyright protection. But more importantly, it is a registered trade mark, so you need to be very careful about how it is displayed in the book. If it appears in a photograph on a building or bus or train etc, then clearly the use is not infringing because no-one would understand that use to mean that you are selling goods which originated from Transport for London, and the use is merely incidental to displaying a normal London scene. The same applies to any other trade marks which might happen to appear in the backgound of any images you want to use, for example on advertising hoardings etc.

However, if you wanted to use the TfL roundel on its own or in a way which could possibly be interpreted as being in the course of trade, then it would be worth getting permission from TfL first. At the very least this latter use should be accompanied by a disclaimer acknowledging TfL's trade mark and making it clear that your book has no connection with, and is not an authorised publication by, TfL.

There is no defence in the UK arising from editorial use - this misconception probably came from American sources where this may be a permissable use of images etc of people which are otherwise protected in many states under Right of Publicity legislation. Similarly there is no need to blur or distort anything, as you should be covered in virtually all instances by Section 62, linked to above.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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Using photographs of public places in children's book

Post by onedearworld » Sun Aug 13, 2017 4:45 pm

Thank you Andy for your reply. From what you suggest, it's legal to include pictures of public places in book, but what is your opinion of including a picture of a business like a cafe or restaurant? Will you suggest me to make its name?
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Post by AndyJ » Sun Aug 13, 2017 10:16 pm

Hi again Winnie

The outward appearance of a business like a cafe or restaurant etc is normally not subject to copyright unless there is a fair degree of artistic workmanship in the decor or graphics. but this would also be covered by the section 62 exception mentioned in my earlier response. If the business has a registered trade mark visible on its exterior then this would not be infringed by just including it in a picture in a book. Infringement of trade marks only comes into play when a mark which is identical or quite similar to a registered mark is used in connection with products or services, particularly on trade packaging, advertising or point of sale displays such that the public would be mislead into thinking the goods on sale originated with the owner of the registered mark. There are several other conditions but I won't cover them here because they are not relevant to this question.

So long as you use any photographs which may contain trade marks in them just as illustrations for your story you will be fine. However, for example, if you wanted to name the book something likeImage
"The Ivy Guide to London" along with a picture of the Ivy in Covent Garden, then you would be infringing the Ivy restaurant's trade mark.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007

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Post by onedearworld » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:11 am

Thank you Andy, that's really clear and helpful!
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