Publishing photos of businesses

JackFP

TPF Noob!
Joined
Jun 8, 2013
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
Hi. I'm thinking about writing a travel guide e-book about some of my favorite bars and restaurants in New York. On each page, I'd like to include a photograph of the place in question. I've done some research, but haven't found any conclusive answers as to whether copyright would or wouldn't apply, so I figured I'd ask here: Am I allowed to take pictures of privately-owned businesses and publish them in a book for commercial use?

Some additional info:

First, all the photos would be taken from the outside, on public property. I just want the front of the establishments, nothing on the inside.

Second, as I said, it's a list of places I consider to be good and/or noteworthy. So for what it's worth, all the reviews would be positive in nature.

Third, I know the obvious solution would just be to ask permission from each establishment, but several of them are corporately-owned, so that could prove difficult.

Thanks!
 

tirediron

Watch the Birdy!
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2005
Messages
45,747
Reaction score
14,804
Location
Victoria, BC
Website
www.johnsphotography.ca
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
There are several members far more versed in the applicable US law than am I, but as I understand it, there should be nothing that would prevent you taking the photographs and using them in the manner you describe.
 

CCericola

Been spending a lot of time on here!
Joined
Jan 5, 2011
Messages
1,922
Reaction score
567
Location
Washington
Website
www.csjstudios.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
You may need a property release because it is for commercial work not editorial. I would ask the legal dept of your publisher or pay an attorney if you are self-publishing.
 

KmH

In memoriam
Supporting Member
Joined
Apr 9, 2009
Messages
41,401
Reaction score
5,706
Location
Iowa
Website
kharrodphotography.blogspot.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
An online photography forum is not a good place to be seeking reliable legal information. the safest course is to consult with an attorney trained in NY publication law.

If the photos are taken from public property outside the businesses, you don't need a property release, commercial use or otherwise.

Copyright would not apply in any event. Business names cannot be copyrighed.

http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-protect.html#title
Can I copyright the name of my band?
No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information.
Trademarks, like the name on the businesses sign that is visible from public property, are also fair game (no release needed).

This book has a section on property release - A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things
 
Last edited:

orljustin

No longer a newbie, moving up!
Joined
Oct 20, 2010
Messages
694
Reaction score
89
An online photography forum is not a good place to be seeking reliable legal information. the safest course is to consult with an attorney trained in NY publication law.

If the photos are taken from public property outside the businesses, you don't need a property release, commercial use or otherwise.

Copyright would not apply in any event. Business names cannot be copyrighed.

U.S. Copyright Office - What Does Copyright Protect? (FAQ)
Can I copyright the name of my band?
No. Names are not protected by copyright law. Some names may be protected under trademark law. Contact the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, 800-786-9199, for further information.
Trademarks, like the name on the businesses sign that is visible from public property, are also fair game (no release needed).

This book has a section on property release - A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things

Of course, that's incorrect, in part. You can't take a picture of a McDonald's, from public property and use it commercially.

However, a travel guide is most likely editorial, so you would not need a release, on or off property.
 

Most reactions

ClickASnap

New Topics

Top