If you are considering selling your pictures as stock photos, or you want to showcase your talents and offer free stock photos, or maybe you are a small entrepreneur or advertiser that is using paid or free stock photos on your website, or social media, there are lots of legal issues that you must know.

Not everyone knows this, which is why you are fortunate to be on this site at this time. There are lots of buildings that are trademarked or copyrighted these days. However, the buildings might not be copyrighted or trademarked, but their designs are. So if you are using or selling photos that include those buildings, you could end up getting yourself into a legal mess. And that is the last thing you want to happen to you.

This legal mess is not limited to the people who sell the photos alone; it also applies to people or entrepreneur who tries to use these pictures for their marketing and advertising materials. No matter where you got the photo, or how much you paid for the picture, if the original photographer did not get a property release, then you are using the photos illegally. And using photos illegally will get you wrapped up in a lawsuit that you might have to pay lots of money to get out of it.

However, trademarked building designs are not your only concern. There are several monuments, statues, and public artwork displays across the world that are copyrighted or trademarked. Although in some cases, monuments and statues are considered public domain because they are government-commissioned shows.

But fortunately, stock photo websites do not allow such pictures in their database. But the truth is that no one is above mistakes, a picture like that could slip in on the website. That is why you have to get covered. In this post, I will give a few examples of typical architecture that are covered by trademark and copyright laws:

  1. The sears tower. Any photo that features this building can’t be sold for commercial purposes. However, if the picture features a cityscape which includes a small part of the building, it might be acceptable.
  1. The Eiffel Tower. Daytime photos of the tower are not trademarked or copyrighted, but the nighttime light display of the tower is copyrighted.
  1. Various zoos, aquariums, and theme parks. Most zoos, theme parks, and aquariums state that no commercial photography is allowed.