Photo Attorney

Mar 13, 2009

Photography Not Allowed - 26 (Photos of Copyrighted Works)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has lent to The University of Texas at Austin 28 middle to late 20th century sculptures that have been installed across the campus as part of the university's public art program. While you can look at the sculptures, you are not supposed to touch or photograph them.

As previously reported in my March 20, 2008, blog, courts have disagreed about whether photographing copyrighted works violates the copyrights in the works. UT Austin has taken the position that photographs of the sculptures are not allowed. As explained in its "Frequently Asked Questions,":

The University of Texas at Austin and its affiliates enjoy a limited right to reproduce photographs of Landmarks' projects for educational and promotional purposes. The university does not, however, own the copyright to these works of art and it may not reproduce these images for commercial purposes. Any party who seeks to reproduce art in the Landmarks collection for commercial gain must first obtain permission from the copyright holder, which typically belongs to the artist or the artist's estate.

Until the law is made clearer, it's a risk to photograph other copyrighted works without permission. Always respect the copyrights of others!

Thanks to Rob Strong for submitting this alert and for providing the photograph shown here.