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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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I write a free community newspaper area. A housing

Resolved Question:

I write a free community newspaper for my area.
A housing development firm wants to build on a local green field, and I want to show people via the community newspaper what the housing development would look like.
I went to an exhibition where the architects were getting residents' feedback ahead of putting in the planning application. An artists' impression of the proposed development was beamed onto a projector screen and I took a photo of it.
Can I print the photo in my newspaper? If not, how can I represent what the development would look like?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Have you sought the artist's permission to publish the impression they created?

Customer:

No, I didn't. I want to criticise the proposed scheme a bit, because it is ugly as hell. I don't know how the artist would respond to that.

Ben Jones :

If you are going to use the artist’s impression then you are most likely going to breach copyright. As the original creator of the work in question, the artist owns automatic copyright over it. Therefore any unauthorised distribution of the work in question would breach his copyright. Even trying to make your own sketch of his work by using his impression can be a breach as that would amount to derivative work, as long as it is clear that it was his work you used as a basis. So unless you can obtain his consent, you would have to simply describe the work in question rather than using a photo or other drawing of it.


Ben Jones :

Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you Hope this clarifies your position? If you could please let me know that would be great, thank you

Customer:

Okay, it's fine.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, if you need me to clarify anything else please ask

Customer:

I also went and took a photo of the field where the housing development would be built.

Strictly speaking it was trespassing because I walked into the field. It isn't a public area. But there was nobody there to tell me not to come in or take photos. It's just a field of grass.

Can I reproduce that photo on my community newspaper without getting in trouble?

Ben Jones :

that is less risky - it is not copyright breach and the trespass issue is unlikely to be brought up as a reason not to publish the photo, it would not automatically prevent that anyway

Customer:

So I can't be sued for reproducing the photo of the field?

Customer:

(the landowner isn't a very nice guy and has threatened to bring 40 motorbikes to the field, if he doesn't get houses built)

Ben Jones :

no, taking the photo and trespassing are separate matters - the trespass you may be sued for but it's unlikely, taking the photograph is not illegal even if you were trespassing so that is not really an issue

Customer:

Okay, I'm nearly done. But if I was sued just for walking onto the field, do we have an idea what the amount would be?

Ben Jones :

this was trivial trespass, you have not used or damaged the land so it will be nominal damages, nothing to be concerned about

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