Phoenix, AZ asked in Copyright and Intellectual Property for Arizona

Q: Can I use pictures (that I took) of artworks in galleries or museums on my blog?

I am starting an art opinion blog, writing about museums, galleries, and exhibitions. I take my own photos of the artwork in these spaces when allowed. I would like to post these pictures on my blog to add detail but am worried about the legality of posting pictures of someone else's creative/intellectual property. Is this allowed? I would always include the artists name with the pictures to give credit.

2 Lawyer Answers
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA

A: This will most likely fall within the exception of "fair use" in copyright law, but be sure to check to see if some of sculptures are also subject to a trademark registration (see, e.g., Space Needle, Golden Gate Bridge).

Also check the Terms of Entry with every single museum to be sure you're not violating your contract to enter the premises.

Also, you're not likely to attract the attention of rights-holders until your blog gets popular. But to be absolutely certain of your risk profile, you should consult an IP attorney.

Marcos Garciaacosta agrees with this answer

Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Colleague is correct.

Check on other books to see how the handle it.

Most likely you should get permission from each entity that owns the properties.

You may be limited based on the terms of use when you entered the museum.

Best luck.

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