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Author Topic: City skylines - do we have to remove all logos from buildings?  (Read 7035 times)

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j2k

« on: April 10, 2008, 07:21 »
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Hello everyone!


I have a number of shots of city skylines at night. On many buildings there are neons with corporate logos, hotel names etc.  Obviously the logo itself is never the subject of the photograph, but it is visible nevertheless.

Do we have to remove all those neons when submitting a photo for stock agency? I've got some of my photographs accepted in the past, however recently I get rejections because the photograph contains copyrighted elements.  I'm just a little bit concerned about the previously accepted images.

I'll appreciate the help. Thanks!

J.


« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2008, 07:56 »
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Yes you have to remove them all

michealo

« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2008, 08:14 »
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You can always clear them up on the old ones resubmit and swap them out

j2k

« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2008, 09:36 »
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Thanks for answers! I'll remove the logos from older photos. It's a shame, the neons make it look pretty  ;)

michealo

« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2008, 09:43 »
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You could selectively gaussian blur them to retain the colour but make the logo unreadable

j2k

« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2008, 09:44 »
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One more question. I assume that I don't have to erase logos/billboards etc in case of editorial images?

Thanks!

« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2008, 10:42 »
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Yes, j2k, it would be editorial if you don't remove. 

This is one that has always bugged me.  How can you call it a Toronto Skyline if you remove Air Canada from the Centre, CN from the Tower, Skydome or Rogers or whatever it is now from the Dome, BMO from the tallest tower????  It's just not a Toronto skyline anymore - it's just a stock photo and "Toronto" should be keyword spamming ;)

Although - keeping today's names on these buildings is one way of dating your photo - they buy and sell naming rights to these places all the time.

j2k

« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2008, 12:17 »
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I guess I have the same peeve with the idea....


... going to blur now the heck out of that bright red "Rogers" on the "Rogers Centre" ;)

« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2008, 16:02 »
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I've been required to every where I submit them.  My Las Vegas shots were a downright pain in the .... backside to conform.  So much so, out of the hundreds I've shot there,  I have maybe a dozen spread across the board. 
     I shot a boatload of pix on Beale Street in Memphis last summer. Couldn't use even one of them... of course, unless I wanted to go edtiorial. 8)=tom
« Last Edit: April 10, 2008, 16:05 by a.k.a.-tom »

« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2008, 16:09 »
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To me the irony of this whole system is that companies buy advertising space on buildings to gain exposure, trademark laws effectively mean that these companies loose out on a whole lot of extra free advertising.

« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2008, 16:32 »
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Fat Coincidence Time:   Just went over to check today's sales.  I have an EL on  Shutterstock.  A pic of the Memphis skyline as shot from Mud Island Park.  I put a lot of work into that shot removing trade-marks.... such as the Coke logo on the side of a truck.  One of the drawbacks of those hi-rez city shots...  You can zoom in and see signs on trucks, cabs, newspaper boxes... etc. 
   Lot's of work if you want to avoid an 'editorial'  tag.   8)=tom

« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2008, 06:09 »
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I do not know...of course "the law is the law" - I am just wondering if anybody really knows what that means. To me - a picture of a trademarked item or a name is NOT the same as using a trademark or breaking copyright. If Coca-Cola name is in the pic - I am not using a Coca-Cola name to sell anything or to promote a product - I am selling an IMAGE. I think maybe it is time to undertake a class action and get a Supreme Court ruling on the issue  :D

But seriously - at which point it has become a no-no to have a name or a logo in the pic ? I just can't believe that any of the mentioned laws were conceived with the intention to forbid photographing logos or trademarks. Or - maybe the consumer should undertake a class action against the owners of the trademarks - let them have the trademarks etc. just do not display them in public nor in TV, as this violates my privacy by forcing me to view all this crap.

I think we all have become a race of slaves. We do not think anymore, just repeat "it is forbidden, do not do that, of course you can't have any trademarks or logos in your image". I am just wondering how does this look like from a sound legal ground.

There are two possibilities here: either the law actually does not forbid this (in which case we, including the microstock sites, are just overcautious), or it actually forbids this - in which case the world is seriously f....d up (and no smile).

« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2008, 06:43 »
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 - in which case the world is seriously f....d up (and no smile).

I think you hit the nail right on the head here, leszek !!!  Especially here in the U.S.  ..... Heck, now, you have micros rejecting the back of people's heads!!   8)=tom

« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2008, 07:40 »
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I think what it comes down to, especially here in the U.S., is The Letter of the Law Vs. The Spirit of the Law. The Letter of the Law is the law itself. The Spirit of the Law is why it was enacted in the first place. Unfortunately, in our litigation-happy society, the letter of the law has become closer and closer to absolute and the spirit of the law has become mostly ignored.

Let me give an example of this: About ten years ago or so in Colorado, a 6 or 7 year old girl grabbed her mother's lunch instead of her own and took it to school. When she opened it at school, she found a knife her mother had placed in there to cut an apple. The little girl did the right thing and immediately told her teacher about it and what had happened. Despite the fact that is was simply a mix-up, the girl was EXPELLED for bringing a weapon to school. Even when the confusion was cleared up and the school admitted the girl had done the right thing by informing her teacher, the expulsion was not reversed because the "no weapons tolerated" law was broken. Even the state supreme court would not overrule the school's actions. So even though the law was enacted in order to quell violence in schools and the girl's intentions were never even remotely violent in nature, the law refused to concede the point, thus the Letter of the Law trumped the Spirit of the Law.

Now, to apply this to the argument of trademarks in photos - if one takes a shot of a city skyline with several trademarked logos in focus the question becomes what is the selling point of the image. Is it the skyline or the logos that make it marketable? If the image has market value without the logos, then you could argue that you are not making money on the logos. If the logos are required to make the image marketable, then you would be in violation of the trademark issues. Since it would be difficult to prove it thus without removing the logos, it then becomes an issue of a company's right to protect their brand - which many companies pursue vigorously. In this case, the law will almost always side with the company and the Letter of the Law. It becomes extremely tricky, but most of the microstock agencies are erring on the side of caution rather than get bogged down in legal conflicts which they probably wouldn't win anyway.

I don't necessarily agree with the way the issue is represented, but it is the way things work here in the U.S. Trademark regulations were enacted in order to prevent rival companies from creating a similar look in order to market their products - not to prevent photographers from plying their trade. But it has been corrupted by the Letter of the Law to such a degree that corporations vigorously combat any usage of their logos and trademarks without permission.

On the other hand, Roadkills R Us , www.rru.com, has proven that the big boys can be fought and at least annoyed enough to quit. Scroll down the left side to the Toys R Us link to read this poor guy's battles against the corporate bully.

« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2008, 08:35 »
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"...in our litigation-happy society..."

I doubt that as a society we are really that happy to sue everyone. I think this litigation culture has been invented and promoted by lawyers, for whom this is a gold mine. Perverting the original meaning of law, order and its implementation has become a subject of laborious studies for a lot of people who subsequently make a living out of it.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2008, 08:39 by leszek »

« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2008, 09:16 »
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"...in our litigation-happy society..."

I doubt that as a society we are really that happy to sue everyone. I think this litigation culture has been invented and promoted by lawyers, for whom this is a gold mine. Perverting the original meaning of law, order and its implementation has become a subject of laborious studies for a lot of people who subsequently make a living out of it.

True, that is part of it. But part of the issue is that of the "get rich quick" mentality. Lawyers merely play on the greed of the public that already exists. They suggest to people "Hey, sue them and you may never have to work another day in your life." So yes, lawyers do play a part in the overall scheme, but if people weren't already ready to sell their souls for a lifetime of ease, comfort and hedonism, the lawyer scheme wouldn't work. The lawyers use the exact same tactic that lotteries use. However, you are more likely to win a lawsuit than the lottery.

And perverting the meaning of the law and holding it as absolute are two different things. IMO the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling considering eminent domain as it pertains to commercial enterprise is a perversion, the case I stated above about the little girl mistakenly taking a knife to school because she grabbed the wrong lunch is holding the law as absolute. At times the difference can be subtle, but it is there. The story of Les Miserables is not so different from what is happening today. Yes, there are still some judges out there that exercise judicial discretion and common sense, thank goodness, but nearly enough. Until common sense is returned to our judicial system, expect microstock sites to take the safe path.

« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2008, 15:35 »
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"lawyers"     I thought Leaf had a rule about using dirty language here..... 8)=tom


« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2008, 09:18 »
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Yes, j2k, it would be editorial if you don't remove. 

This is one that has always bugged me.  How can you call it a Toronto Skyline if you remove Air Canada from the Centre, CN from the Tower, Skydome or Rogers or whatever it is now from the Dome, BMO from the tallest tower????  It's just not a Toronto skyline anymore - it's just a stock photo and "Toronto" should be keyword spamming ;)

Although - keeping today's names on these buildings is one way of dating your photo - they buy and sell naming rights to these places all the time.


pixart please clarify,  you mean to say that your toronto skyline you have to remove all the logos on the bldgs and you cannot use the keywords toronto ,ontario, canada ?

if so, i need to remove one of my nightscapes of montreal and cleanup the neons too. shoot! ???

« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2008, 11:17 »
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I think it has to do also with the way the photo may be used.

For exemple, if  the main subject of a photo is someone eating fast food and it is used to illustrate something bad about fastfood, of course every logo must be removed from the food wrapping etc.

But if in the background you have a bright sign of Coca-Cola on a building, I'm not sure that Coke will appreciate...

Claude

« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2008, 11:36 »
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Micros don't accept logos of any kind.  That would include logos on buildings in skylines.   But they can be posted as editorial.  That's not to say you can't try and submit it and see if it will stick.  But on Istock for example, they find a logo even if it's only an itty bitty spec that you have to zoom to 300% to see.

I guess I was being sarcastic about not including the name of the city - in my example, the Toronto skyline is world recognized because of the tower - but if you are removing the logos, which ARE part of the skyline, is it still the Toronto skyline?  What use is it to anyone when it has been altered?

That's not to say you can't sell a skyline yourself.  Every postcard and poster you will find in any city in the world has all the logos intact. 

Does anyone know how the macros deal with this type of logo?

I read recently, for the life of me I can't remember but I've got a feeling that it was on a new site... it stated that they would not accept a photo of a building with a logo on it... but they did state they would accept a skyline with not a single building (with a logo) as the focus of the photograph. 

« Reply #20 on: April 12, 2008, 12:34 »
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Micros don't accept logos of any kind.  That would include logos on buildings in skylines.   But they can be posted as editorial.  That's not to say you can't try and submit it and see if it will stick.  But on Istock for example, they find a logo even if it's only an itty bitty spec that you have to zoom to 300% to see.



Amen to that, my friend.  IS ...whoa..  no exageration there.  Had a shot, 'photographer at grand canyon',  my son taking a shot over the edge.  They found a Nike logo on his sock that I really did... have to blow up 300% to see and remove it. Could hardly make out what it was at resolution.. none-the-less, it had to go. 
    Shot of a kayak on a canal bank, there was a life vest on it.  IS kicked it back for a logo on the vest.  At 200%,  it maybe, looked like one, I couldn't tell what it was....couldn't read it..  could have been a smear of mud far as I could tell,   but.. it had to go.
   IS made me take the Hoover Dam name and logo off one of the buildings there.  That's not even a corporate thing. It's a gov't buidling.
 Hard as it is, I now do the best I can to leave them out of my cityscape shots,  or,  compose it so that there is minimal 'shopping'.
   Micros were touchy about logos before, and now... they are getting tougher.
    8)=tom
« Last Edit: April 12, 2008, 12:41 by a.k.a.-tom »


 

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