Today, C. wanted to take some pictures at the local shopping centre/plaza in
a non-professional way and for her personal enjoyment, the way she often
Hell, the way everyone I know does, half of my friends are photogeeks
As she started taking pictures of the poster for a film festival in the
entrance to the arcade's cinema, a girl behind the counter told us we “couldn't
do that”. C. put the protective cover back on her camera's lens and we started
leaving. Yet, this seemed like copyright abuse to me, so after checking with C.
if she'd mind if I asked the girl to explain, I headed back to the counter.
I asked the girl for what reason we weren't allowed to take pictures, and,
lo and behold she told me it was because
“The posters are copyrighted. And it's against cinema policy.”.
Interested and clearly sensing copyright abuse, I started
“Look, this isn't against you, but…”
“This is cinema policy, it's the way it is. I don't want to discuss this
anymore with you.” she cut through, and she just left me there.
Obviously, as I was the only person in the cinema's hallway, this clearly was
movie rush hour and she had highly more important things to do than answer a
Reasonably, I was left rather pissed as an other human being had basically
just refused intelligent conversation and hid behind corporate policy to
justify stupidity, and more importantly, done it in one of the most blunt and
rude ways I've experienced.
What's annoying is that the cinema is actually nice, has reasonable pricing
and a nice selection.
So, I've checked, and though I am not a copyright lawyer I think this shows
one has the right to take pictures of film posters : Australian Copyright Act of 1968, section 65.
For the lazy ones, here is what it says : The copyright in a
work to which this section applies that is situated,
otherwise than temporarily, in a public place, or in premises open to
the public, is not infringed by the making of a painting, drawing,
engraving or photograph of the work or by the inclusion of the
work in a cinematograph film or in a television broadcast.
So there, from what I make of it, a copyrighted work displayed in open
premises does not see it's copyright infringed by a photograph, especially if
the picture is for personal enjoyment. And by definition, a film poster is a
public work of art, as it's entire point is to be shown to the public and
therefore displayed publicly.
Needless to say, I think the obsessive dickhead I am is going to drop by and
give her a print-out of that section. She probably doesn't care (she actually
made that clear by being deliberately rude), but whatever. %% It is noble and
just to dispel myths, falsehoods and untruths, right ?
The worst bit is this : copyright is supposed to help protect artist's
rights and avoid spoliation. By being obnoxious and abusing copyright, this
girl makes me not want to go to the cinema she works at again. I find a cinema
I like and and a stupid policy and worker makes me want to not go there
anymore. How is that good for artists?