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Can you use Pictures of Times Square in commercial product?

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I have pictures I would like to use in a Commercial Software application. They would be purchased and i would have license to reuse the picture for commercial purposes. But my question arises when I have a picture of times square with all those "ads" and "company logos" on all those buildings. Can I display a picture of "Times Square" in a commercial application? I am wonder if this is Ok based on the "trademarked logos" and company names you can see in the picture on the outside of the building. Also, would this be the correct forum? Or would this be a trademark issue?

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I can not imagine that it would not be allowed, as that would mean that it would be impossible to use pretty much any picture of a public area, as there's always going to something with a logo on it, like a plastic bag, or a car, or whatever.

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Many companies (not just games) have been sued for using photos of famous places like that. Many companies have been sued for modifying photos of famous places. Courts have said certain uses are legal, others are not, but they all needed to survive the lawsuit.

Can you afford the costs of a lawsuit?

If you can, then you can afford an IP lawyer. Talk to your lawyer and understand the risks of using this image.

If you cannot afford to survive a lawsuit, then don't use the image.

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You would need to consult a lawyer. Different localities have different laws. For instance, you can't have a recreation of the Eiffel Tower in a game under french law without approval (or at least you couldn't as of a couple years ago). There are certain exemptions in the US with respect to "public places" but check with a lawyer because that crap is complicated.

-me

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Quote:
Original post by quasar3d
I can not imagine that it would not be allowed, as that would mean that it would be impossible to use pretty much any picture of a public area, as there's always going to something with a logo on it, like a plastic bag, or a car, or whatever.
Is there such thing as a 'public area' in that sense? Those buildings have owners, and exploiting photographs of them is their right. Government buildings are public places I guess, but don't quote me.

This is just like NASA, who allows use of it's images, but you need permission from people who might be identifiable in these images.

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If you're concerned you may want to contact the Time Square Alliance to see if they can give you the information you need: i.e., if you need and can get permission and if so, how to get it. As frob said, photographs of public spaces are frequently determined on a case-by-case basis-- for instance, I know that Millennium Park has created problems for Chicago photographers.

However, even with permission to use photographs of the public space, there is the issue of trade identity/trademark. Using photographs that contain trademarks may create grounds for a suit from the trademark owner under dilution or tarnishment statutes. If the Time Square Alliance can't answer questions concerning the various trademarks displayed @ time square, you may want to consider talking to an IP attorney for a full risk analysis.

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