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Photographs taken by me on a famous golf course, can I sell them? Trademark

Discussion in 'Copyright, Trademark, Patent Law' started by xpoz, Feb 1, 2013.

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  1. xpoz

    xpoz Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I took pictures with my digital camera while on a golf course. I took the images during the practice round. The images do not show any logo's or famous golfers. They do show 3 famous holes known around the world. I was selling the images online and received a letter from a law firm informing me I was in Use of Intellectual Property Owned by XXXX Course.

    My questions is this, can I sell the images by giving them a name I create, without reference to city, tour, golfers name or the golf course? In other words the images would be titled Golfers on Bridge with the price and size.

    Since I took the pictures with my camera I own the copyright of them as the artist. By can they be sold under this generic label without stirring up more issues with an over zealous firm?


  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    You are under NO legal obligation, nor do you have any legal duty to even respond to a letter.

    What would you do, if I sent you such a letter? Ignore it, right?

    That's what I would do with a letter from a lawyer, too.

    No one here can advise you as to what you should do.

    Ultimately, that must be your decision.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2013
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  3. mightymoose

    mightymoose Moderator

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    It seems you are profiting from the golf course. Surely a picture of you standing anywhere else does not have the same value.

    I would expect that your listing for the item names the location. If you remove the name of the golf course or any popular reference to the location from your listing then you may take the teeth from their complaint.

    As said, you have no obligation to comply with the letter, but you can make things easier on yourself and get off their radar.
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    This has been a difficult question to answer regarding many venues, especially sports venues.

    So let me ask this - when you were playing on the course, were you required to sign anything? When you purchase a ticket to a stadium, typically you'll see terms listed on the ticket (or referring to terms listed elsewhere) that may prohibit or limit the ability to take photographs within the premises. This comes from the masters.com website of the Augusta National PGA Golf Tournament.


    Cell phones, beepers and other electronic devices are strictly prohibited on the grounds at all times. Cameras are strictly prohibited on Tournament days. Violation of these policies will subject the ticket holder to removal from the grounds and the ticket purchase to the permanent loss of credentials.

    Cell phones / PDAs
    Bags, backpacks, purses, packages*
    Beepers, electronic devices
    Weapons of any kind (regardless of permit)
    Alcoholic beverages/
    Beverage containers / coolers
    Flags, banners, signs
    Folding armchairs, rigid chairs or stools
    Ladders, periscopes
    Radios, TVs, Tape recorders
    *Personal bags, belt bags, purses no larger than 10"W x 5"H x 5"D are allowed.
    **Cameras are allowed for personal use only on Practice Round days—Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

    I can't say whether you were subject to rules like this, but I'm just giving you an idea of where to look for clues regarding how these clubs protect the rights to sell photographs taken on their property. Now if you were standing on an adjacent property, took a photograph from an airplane or not within the confines of the club area which require you to agree to their terms of use of the course, that could be a very different story.

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