Meridian, ID asked in Copyright, Animal / Dog Law and Intellectual Property for Idaho

Q: Can I legally sell an image I took of a friends cow without their written consent or do I need a property release?

I took photos of a friends cows about 3 years ago. Last week discovered that she was trying to sell my images on Etsy. When I asked her not to she then proceeded to tell me I am not allowed to sell images of her cows, that she has never given me permission. Do I need a property release from her if her? The cows are not famous or zoo animals. Honestly didn’t question anything and didn’t know she was upset about any of it until I asked her not to use my art work for sale under her own name.

2 Lawyer Answers
Fritz-Howard Raymond Clapp
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  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Beverly Hills, CA

A: You own the copyright in photos that you took of the cows and have the exclusive right to copy and sell copies of them. Permission of the cows' owner is not required.

Robert E. Wasserman and Daniel Michael Luisi and 2 others agree with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Robert E. Wasserman
Robert E. Wasserman
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Los Angeles, CA

A: Yes, you can legally sell the photographs. The practical enforcement of your copyrights, however, is a bit more complex. Recording a collection of a work of photographs with the U.S. Copyright Office should provide you with a useful tool to swiftly remove infringing articles from major online U.S. marketplaces. Good Luck!

Daniel Michael Luisi agrees with this answer

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