Photos of high-design furniture

by Walter Olson on January 24, 2012

The French courts have ruled that it is a violation of intellectual property rights to disseminate photographs of armchairs and sofas designed by famed modernist Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouart Jeanneret). Per Getty Images in an email to creative contributors, “while you may hold a copyright in a particular image or clip, if it contains even a fraction of a Le Corbusier piece then you may not have all the necessary rights under French law to provide that content and therefore may be liable for copyright infringement under French law in respect of the furniture featured.” Getty has told its contributors that they may not feature in licensed content objects by some other designers as well, including the furniture of Mies van der Rohe. What about images of his buildings? [British Journal of Photography]

{ 4 comments }

1 boblipton 01.24.12 at 7:54 am

A cat may look at a king, but a cat may not look at a picture of a king.

Bob

2 John Burgess 01.24.12 at 8:42 am

A cat may not record an image of an image of the king.

Is this any different, really, from the copyright tangles that ensue when a film company wants to create a DVD of a film that has–for instance–a scene with a TV show in the background or a tune on a jukebox for either of which copyright clearance and/or license must be obtained?

It strikes me that rather than the promotion of ideas, the original conception behind copyright, they are now exclusively used to protect the financial interests of the copyright holder.

3 David Schwartz 01.24.12 at 3:44 pm

Imagine if this was a tattoo!

4 D 01.25.12 at 7:21 pm

Whatever happened to free advertising?
Last year, I read a blog by a musician who discovered his songs being uploaded to YouTube. He contacted the uploader and started a conversation. He then encouraged the uploader get all his friends to buy the whole album. Then they set up a gig for the band, which amounts to more recognition and more sales.
You can beat the tar out of your fans or you can ask them for money, but you cannot do both for long.

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