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Copyright on car photos

01/16/08 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/13/ford-car-owners-are.html

I perfectly understand copyrighting an image. I can't understand claiming trademark infringement on the subject of an image.

BoingBoing links to a car club who wanted to put out a calendar with pictures of their cars, pictures they'd taken themselves. Ford however decided that as the appearance of cars are considered to be Ford's property that such a venture was unacceptable as pictures of the vehicles required permission to publish.

I have no problems with Ford preventing people from selling cars that look like their cars. I have no problems with Ford preventing people from using images (such as press photos) that Ford has created. I certainly have no problem with Ford preventing use of their trademarked logos. But to step in and claim ownership of an image of a car? That's just daft.

Unfortunately Ford has precedence on their side: if you buy a toy car, it'll have a copyright on the packaging stating that the design is licensed. If you buy a vehicle-racing game, it too will have a similar statement if any images therein resemble real cars. Neither action is taken unless there's a good legal and financial reason to do so. I doubt that the car club will win this one despite the common sense preposterousness of it.


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