Monday, March 10, 2008

Israeli Flashmobs and Pictures of Works of Architecture

Tel Aviv is a vibrant, secular Israeli, which, like New York City, never sleeps. Recently, some residents of Tel Aviv have become agitated about copyright law, in particular an attempt to stop photographers from taking pictures, from the street, of the Opera Tower. An amateur photographer, Ziv Mizrahi, was taking pictures of the building a week or so ago, when a guard ordered him to stop. The company that managed the building told him he needed written permission to take pictures since the building is subject to copyright.

The response was a “flashmob,” in which photographers gathered in front of the building and took pictures beginning on March 7th, apparently without incident. The story is told here. Pictures of the flashmob were then posted to Flickr, available here.


recordjackethistorian said...

I don't quite understand how copyright law is applicable to an image of a building. My (limited) understanding of copyright law informs me that copyright is intended to allow the copyright holder to publish (for profit) the copyrighted item exclusively. They have a monopoly on sales of the copyrighted item for X number of years.

My problem is in understanding just how you "publish" a building of that size and sell it profitably to your mass audience.

I know I'm being somewhat literal in my interpretation of copyright, but by the same token, I think that copyright law itself has been extended beyond the limits of credibility. Mostly, I'm left scratching my head when reading about copyright litigation. It seems more like simply and excuse to meet someone in a court room and extract cash from the defendants bank account.

One can hardly blame lawyers for using laws which the legislative branch have provided.


Anonymous said...

a year or so ago when i was getting ready to snap a digital shot of the boeing building (formerly the morton building) in chicago, looking up through its glass awning, when a guard informed me that i was not permitted to photograph the building. thinking that they should probably move their building to a less-public place if they felt that strongly about it, i told the guard that that was the stupidest thing i had heard lately. then i went to the bridge at washington, and snapped a bunch of pictures of the building, just to be a big jerk. the next day the weather was even a little better, and i sneakily got the desired shot by walking under the awning with my camera pointed up. i like it more for its spontaneity than i would probably have liked a sanctioned, 'posed' shot. of course, now i defend the photo as satire..