Photo Attorney

Sep 22, 2006

No Bull - Don't Shoot That Copyrighted Work Without Permission

Photographers often photograph sculptures in parks or other publicly accessed areas. While sculptors have difficulty preventing all unauthorized reproductions of their copyrighted works, it can be worth the effort to prosecute those who make money off of them.

Take, for example, the famous bull sculpture that has come to symbolize Wall Street. It took the sculptor, Arturo Di Modica, two years and $350,000 to create the bull. He originally placed it in front of the New York Stock Exchange but the police had it moved to Bowling Green Park.

Modica registered the bull sculpture in 1998. As the copyright owner, he has the exclusive right:

- To reproduce the copyrighted work;
- To display the copyrighted work publicly;
- To prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work; and
- To distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale, rental or lending, and/or to display the image.

Arturo has made money from display of the bull in movies and advertising. But he recently filed suit against Wal-Mart, galleries, and others for selling photos and reproductions of the bull without his permission. He has asked that the alleged infringers stop their activities and give him a share of the profits.

We will have to wait for results of Arturo's litigation. In the meantime, get permission from copyright owners before shooting their work or they may first see red and then later green.

Take my advice; get professional help.
PhotoAttorney®

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