Barred from Fort Mchenry.

Started Feb 12, 2009 | Discussions thread
klinux Regular Member • Posts: 380
Copyrights and Photographing in National Parks

But, she asked if he would SELL her a picture, and he responded YES.
That, by law, constitutes COMMERCIAL purposes.

WRONG!

But in the rules it is considered "Commercial photography" only if
you are taking pictures of vehicles or "articles of commerce". Here
is the relevant sentence from the rules:

"Commercial photography permits are required if photography is to be
done of vehicles or other articles of commerce or models for the
purpose of commercial advertising or for resale."

I am assuming that the OP was taking pictures of the scenery and not
of "articles of commerce".

BUT I think that the OP may have run afoul of the "Commercial Use
Authorizations" rule which reads:

"A Commercial Use Authorization (formerly known as an Incidental
Business Permit) is required for engaging in any business in the
park."

Correct!

Exactly. He would have been fine if he would have answered NO, to
her question. He was not entitled to sell any of the photographs
without express written permission from the copyright holders, which
is the NPS, and Fort McHenry.

Wrong, there is not copyright for Fort McHenry. NATIONAL PARKS ARE NOT COPYRIGHTED! Pictures of national parks may be copyrighted by the person taking the picture.

Check their posted rules. The only issue is whether is he was willing to sell the picture IN the park. (The park itself is not copyrighted.)

The only area where the ranger has a point is if she was referring to his being willing to engage in business in the park. Then he would need a permit. If he goes home and decides to sell his pictures later, there is no problem, and there is nothing she can do about it. Given her response about coming back with a camera, I think she misunderstood the laws about permits, and if I was the original poster, I would request clarification from the Park itself, and if the posted permit instructions are correct, I would go back and if she interferes, ask her to read the relevant part of the code which he is breaking, because according to the posted regulations, he was not in violation. He only needs a permit if he is going to shoot ARTICLES of commercial nature. The park itself does not qualify as an item of commercial nature.

For example look at all the pictures that people have sold to stock agencies of the the various national monuments. No one is asking for permission to sell those pictures. Those are public. They are not copyrighted. The OP is well within his rights to go there, shoot and sell the pictures later. He is not be allowed to go there, shoot and sell his pictures within the park without a permit.

This is without bringing up the issue of entrapment, because one has to be asked to engage in illegal activity in order for there to be entrapment. Since the OP did nothing illegal, there was no entrapment, however, if taking pictures to sell were illegal, then the ranger would be guilty of entrapment.

Regards,
klinux

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