Copyright confusion: The SMH, a duck and the Sydney Opera House

2013-01-25

I'm no lawyer so this is where I get confused about who is right and wrong around intellectual property, particularly with photos.

The Sydney Morning Herald runs a series of articles about photographers intellectual property rights being infringed.

Then they inappropriately use a picture that they discovered through Twitter, but didn't actually check the ownership.

But then looking at that photographer's site, I notice a picture of the Sydney Opera House that is available for purchase.

Now I recall the Sydney Opera House is pretty strict about its intellectual property too:

If SOH forms the exclusive subject or dominant image of the photo, our concerns regarding commercial use apply.

Now, I don't have a lot sympathy for the SMH - I try to be careful about my use of photos and generally pick those that are marked for commercial reuse under Creative Commons. Mistakes can be made, but the SMH just sounded lazy on this occasion, trying to meet a deadline. But is the other photographer also in breach himself of someone else's intellectual property???

The world of intellectual property seems to be full of pitfalls.

To quote Judge Dredd:

The innocent exist only until they inevitably become perpetrators...

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