What Attribution is Expected on a Photo Blog?
August 10, 2011 1:46 PM   Subscribe

What etiquette and legal issues must one be aware of for running a photo blog?

I recently started a photo blog - pictures only, no text - of various things around town. No people. Lots of signs. Gallery openings. Local storefronts. I have not done anything like this before and do not want to commit any major blog faux pas.

What is 'fair game' to photograph? What is off-limits (both legally and socially)? I love artwork - how much of the art am I allowed to photograph? Do I need to ask permission? Do I need to link to the artist's website? Do I need to name the artist?

Does this make a difference whether the picture is of the artwork alone or if the artwork is just in the shot?

Any help or cautionary tales are welcome!
posted by amicamentis to Computers & Internet (5 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Awesome! Welcome to the fold.

About artwork:

1) When you walk into a gallery, introduce yourself as an art blogger and ask permission to take photos. Frequently they'll want a business card because they keep track of their publicity. They'll like you being there. I've rarely been told no.

2) You don't need to link to the artist's or the venue site, but they'll like it if you do.

3) You DO need to include the artist's name. That's a big deal. You should also include the venue's name. Bonus points if you include the work's name and date (but no big deal if you don't). Expect artists to be [very] upset if you leave their names off. You'll also be breaking copyright laws. Big mistake.

4) This all holds true if the image is primarily the artwork. If the artwork is in the background and the subject is something else than it depends on your best interpretation (and err on the safe side).
posted by Murray M at 2:25 PM on August 10, 2011


Beware that public art, notable buildings, monuments, etc. may be subject to copyright. If you publish photos of these things without the copyright holder's permission you may be asked to take them down, or - worst case - sued. An egregious example of this is Jack Mackie, who sued a photographer over a 10-year old photo that pictured a tiny bit of public art on Seattle's Capitol Hill. Mackie demanded the legal maximum $60K over a photo that made $10 on a micro stock site, and ultimately forced the photographer to settle out of court for an undisclosed (but reportedly nontrivial) sum. That's a worst-case scenario, but lesser copyright action over photos of public art are common and distracting.

Anything thing: if you're making any money off the photos (even Google ads on your site) you'll need a signed model release for any photos that contain recognizable people.
posted by SakuraK at 9:40 PM on August 10, 2011


Murray M's post is incorrect. If you take a picture of art that's not in the public domain, you need the copyright owner's consent. The copyright owner is almost definitely not the gallery.
posted by pollex at 5:23 AM on August 11, 2011


"Beware that public art, notable buildings, monuments, etc. may be subject to copyright."

Does this mean if I take a photo of empire state or sears tower (from outside, standing on a public property like sidewalk), I need permission from them to sell the photo?
posted by WizKid at 8:32 AM on August 11, 2011


Er,

Pollex has no idea what they're talking about. Although she's technically correct about copyright, she's 100% wrong about how interested artists and galleries are in being published. I've had MANY artists and galleries excited about my art blog. I've never had one say anything other than "could you please replace your image with the one I'm sending you that's higher quality".

Rock on Art Blogger
posted by Murray M at 2:34 PM on August 11, 2011


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