Photographing home-made items

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Lumberjack
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Photographing home-made items

Post by Lumberjack » Mon Apr 01, 2019 8:38 am

I make small models that I sell, but recently, I have been getting people asking for permission to photograph them when I exhibit them anywhere. Can't understand this, as I have always thought that it was OK to photograph models without asking permission (I am not talking about in museums, but just general displays). I often photograph models made by other people and it has never entered my mind to ask permission! So - is permission required or not. The models in question have not special security aspect to worry about as they are of ships that are all long gone.
Al

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AndyJ
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Re: Photographing home-made items

Post by AndyJ » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:24 pm

Hi Lumberjack,,

Assuming that the models are works of artistic craftsmanship* (which I guess is almost always the case with the ships you are interested in), and they are not on permanent display in a public area, then yes permission should be sought before photographing them. If you are sure that a model is out of copyright due to its age then permission wouldn't be required.

The problem may well be that the person (such as a curator or current owner of the model) who is exhibiting the model may not always be its maker and therefore they cannot give permission, unless of course the maker has said beforehand that this would be permissible.

Where a work is on permanent display in a public place or a place to which the public has access, section 62 will apply and permission would not be required.


*If someone was displaying a Airfix model which they had built, it is unlikely that copyright would apply to the finished model because the product itself was manufactured by industrial means and the input by the model maker probably wouldn't meet the threshold of 'craftsmanship'.
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

Lumberjack
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Re: Photographing home-made items

Post by Lumberjack » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:42 pm

I was referring to models completely built by myself or others, not kits. But if permission is required to photograph such things, surely that would render the camera more-or-less obsolete because the majority of photograps show things that are made by someone else. I know I have taken photographs of large numbers of such items without seeking permisson, over the past 50 or 60 yars, and have never minded at all if anyone photographed my models. I was amazed when someone told me this recently. A model is three dimensional, and a photograph is two dimensional and in a completely different form, not even made from the same or similar materials. I just hope no-one takes me to court over it! Thanks for confirming this.
Al

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AndyJ
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Re: Photographing home-made items

Post by AndyJ » Mon Apr 01, 2019 7:50 pm

Hi Lumberjack,

My previous answer was just a statement of the law; I don't think anyone is going to start issuing claims against you for any past actions. And even if they did, you (and others who do this sort of thing) would probably have grounds for opposing a claim due to the exception to copyright contained in section 29, provided that the photographs were for the purpose of private study and research and not intended for publication.

Like most copying done on a private basis it is quite hard for rightsholders to detect and take action over activities like this, even if they were predisposed to doing so. I imagine many amateur enthusiasts would not be concerned about it .

On your point about a model being three-dimensional and a photograph is two-dimensional, the law specifically addresses this issue in section 17(3), and sub-section (2) addresses the point about different materials.
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

Lumberjack
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Re: Photographing home-made items

Post by Lumberjack » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:08 am

Thanks, but problem is it is not on a private basis, as I have written a number of well-illustrtaed books over the years, and always felt that as I took the photographs myself, it would be OK to use them. From time to time, I have even been told that it is illegal to take photographs of ships because they themselves are copyright. But I am in good company, because thousands of books have been written using photographs of them, and there would be too many for the courts to deal with. Also been told that it was illegal to build and sell model ships made from plans, but that is not something I can do anything about, because I have been doing it for over 60 years, and would never be able to stop as long as I am physically able to carry on. Where individuals or organisations have used my photogrpahs without permission, I have done nothing, because I have little faith that I could win any copyright case against large organisations who could afford the best legal teams. It is only to be hoped that a little common sense will come into play before they finalise things. Thanks for the clarification though!
Al

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