copyright infringments and violations of commonly photographed sites

as a photographer, the one thing that scares me is copyright infringements and violations.  while researching the topic i’ve found several useful links that help explain the copyright process.

i’ll start with a site that i found that provides a list of properties and objects that may present violation issues if photographed.  the site is Picture Archive Council of America.

here are a few examples that could be a problem:

  • Hollywood Sign
  • Williamsburg and it’s re-enactment actors/performers
  • Rockefeller Center – all buildings and sculptures
  • NASCAR images
  • McDonald’s Arches
  • Barbie – the dolls, name and any product
  • San Diego Zoo
  • Eiffel Tower at night (the lighting design is copyrighted)
  • The New Orleans Superdome

 these are just a few examples, but i was rather surprised that some of these actually presented issues.

another site that i found useful was at and here they had an article about

Copyrights and Wrongs; A basic, easy to understand guide to copyrights.

just about any question you can think of is answered here.  the article is broken down in 3 segments: 

  1. introduction to copyrights in general
  2. when copying is ok
  3. protecting yourself (web content images)

and then of course the way of getting your copyrights squared away is by going to the US Copyright Office the US Copyright Office website is pretty to the point, at least i think so.  it will guide you  through each step of the process, tell you what forms to fill out, how much to pay, and where to mail the work off to.

so if you have any questions about the copyright process, hopefully these links will provide some answers for you.


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