Provided by Attorney Carolyn E. Wright.
1. You don’t need permission to photograph a work of art that is in a public area.
This rule is based on copyright law. United States Copyright Law grants exclusive rights to the copyright owner of a creative work, including the rights to: reproduce the copyrighted work; prepare derivative works based on the copyrighted work; distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public; and/or display the image. (See 17 USC §106.)
When those rights are infringed the copyright owner is entitled to recover damages suffered as a result of the infringement. (See 17 USC §504). So even when a creative work is in a public area you may photograph it only if the work is in the public domain or your photograph makes a fair use of the work.
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