Copyright question?

Yep its a copyright question again. Actually maybe its more of a ethics and false advertising type of question. You’ll need to decide and I would really like your opinion.

I have had at least one trip to Berlin over the last few years (except last year). Most times I stay at The NHow hotel.

When I stay elsewhere I am just content with a clean bed, room and half decent shower but when I’m in Berlin the NHow get my cash. Why? Because its clean, modern, a bit funky, has a late(ish) bar and for the most part the staff are really friendly and happy to accommodate a Londoner speaking German very badly.

But I’m not doing a hotel review or a review of the staff, its about photography!

So the NHow has a little twist. It is a music hotel, I’m told they have recording studio facilities and they also had some Mini cars for hire by their guests. Thats pretty cool.

Anyhow, I took a photo of one of these cars with the parking space sign. What can I say, it just made me smile.

I  was treating it as a little composition exercise. There is a lot that can and should be done to improve the image if it was a publicity photo but its not. The image was also shot on a compact point and shoot that I was testing (for myself).

When I was going through some files I found the image below and was going to post it onto Instagram  and then thought I might stick a watermark on the photograph. Not for concern about it being used or re-blogged but to direct people to this page in the hope they’d look at other posts and perhaps like, comment or even get an idea for a project of their own.

So the reason I did not post it elsewhere as it is in this post is for the simple fact that I do not know if it is wrong.

Watermarking ones own work is a photographers right and is done for various reasons. As a photographer I can shoot whatever I want in a public space (To the best of my knowledge this stands in the UK but I am not sure about other countries so please do not quote me).

Here is the dilemma: If badly done I think watermarks can spoil a viewers enjoyment of an image. They can be huge and really ugly but they can also be easily removed. So, getting to the point of this post, this question; take a look at the photograph:

nhow mini for punks

Taken with the Canon G5X

To the best of my knowledge I can do pretty much what I like with this image. Its mine; my intellectual property and my copyright. That is the case the moment I pressed the shutter release and took the photo.

That is also provided I do not use the image in anyway to misrepresent any of these companies or their associated organisations.

I have chosen a pink watermark for aesthetic purposes. The same reason for choosing this position of the watermark is for it to be subtly in keeping with the image but also visible.

I have chosen a different pink to that used by the NHow chain and kept a particular vibrancy so that it does not look like part of the cars paintwork.

For the record I have not paid for advertising or been sponsored by NHow or anyone associated with the Mini Cooper. However, if either would like to sponsor my further photography education please do get in contact.

I have also not intentionally set out to mislead in anyway.

I’m not sure if the question is one of law or ethics or something else…

If you are a photographer, lawyer, interested party or any other, What is your opinion on watermarks and what is your opinion on this particular copyright mark (© relates to the image only).

I’m sure I am not the only photography student to be concerned about copyright and image use. So comments will hopefully benefit more than me.

Thanks for stopping.

Kind regards, Jim Jimmy James

Another example….

 

4 comments

  1. Nothing very constructive to add here, Jimmy. Is the hotel car park a public place, or is hotel property, therefore private? I suppose that’s the question. If it’s public, then I see no problem with photographing anything. I would sugest that an email to the hotel to get their opinion might stop any issues in the future. Hopefully, someone used to the copyright rules will be able to give you a better answer.
    Cheers, Pete.

    1. Cheers Pete. I’m fairly certain that I was on public land taking the photo. The car may have been on private property. My main concern is whether or not the colouring and location of the watermark is misleading? It all seems a bit of a minefield to be honest. Thanks for your reply though.

  2. I can’t see any problems. It’s your photograph wherever you took it and you can do more or less what you like with it.

    The Mini and NHow logos are protected so you couldn’t sell the photo for advertising purposes but other than that it’s yours to do with what you like.

    The fact that you might have been standing on private property is fairly irrelevant. Of thru have a rule about taking photographs but don’t tell anyone then they can’t be too surprised if it gets broken on occasion.

    Your watermark makes it perfectly clear that it is the image which you are protecting so I can’t see any problems with that either.

    1. Hi Ian. On this occasion I put the image copyright just to try and be extra clear.
      I’m not so sure where I’d stand if it was just ©2016 NAME.
      Interesting about the NHow and Mini brand logos. I wonder where street photographers stand when the sell their work? I guess they just remove brand names?

      Thanks for your input.
      Jim.

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