Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Chicago and Copyrights

Photograph: John Hancock building in the fog. Chicago, Illinois, United States.

Jo and I spent a rainy February weekend in Chicago. The weather, plus a world class head cold, dampened any desire to do much other than lounge around our wonderful room at the Chicago Sofitel Water Street Hotel and enjoy a quite morning with the excellent pastries and French pressed coffee. We did manage to take the El over to the China Town area where we ducked into a crowded restaurant for Dim Sum - and to avoid the pouring rain. As we left, the rain let up, and the streets suddenly came alive with shoppers and revelers. We also visited the Art Institute of Chicago, although around 30% of the exhibits (including their photographic section) were closed.

Photograph: Festival in Chinatown, Chicago, Illinois, United States.

About the time we left, I noticed a couple of articles about the entire image rights issue. As a photographer and ASMP member, I understand the value of image rights, but sometimes, things get out of hand. A recent article in Fast Times describes how it's become illegal to photograph the Eiffel Tower due to copyright restrictions. But what really hit home on this trip was how photographers were being prevented from photographing the sculpture in Millennium Park in Chicago, again due to copyright restrictions. These folks seem to have gone too far - especially for a publicly owned space to have such restrictive copyrights. Where does it end? (For an interesting list of "Copyrighted Public Spaces" see the Picture Archive Counsel's web page.)