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Copyright & Patents/Illustrations of Landmarks


Mr. Black,

I am illustrating an ebook that I plan to sell online and eventually sell as a printed book...

90% of the images I have illustrated from scratch, but for seven of them I am using photos of landmarks as references (the white house, a shinto temple, the sphinx, golden gate bridge, etc.).

I am inking & coloring in my own style. Am I infringing on copyrights if they are photos of public landmarks?

Thanks in Advance,


There should be no problem.

A short review of some basics of copyright law.

Whoever is the designer of the landmark owns a copyright to the work he/she created.

Several exclusive rights typically attach to the copyright holder.

   to produce copies or reproductions of the work and to sell those copies (including, typically, electronic copies)
   to import or export the work
   to create derivative works (works that adapt the original work)
   to perform or display the work publicly
   to sell or assign these rights to others
   to transmit or display by radio or video

There is a possibility that the taking of a photograph of a work that someone else has created and publishing the picture in a book may be a violation of the copyright, since the photograph constitutes a derivative work.

In most parts of the world, the term  of copyright is the life of the author plus either 50 or 70 years.  

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Gerald R. Black


Intellectual Property Patents Global Patent Rights PCT Technology Transfer Copyrights Trademarks


Registered to practice before the U.S. Patent Office Admitted to Practice Law in Michigan, California, and Ohio

Capital University Law School - JD University of Cincinnati - BSME

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