We recently received the following email from English Heritage:

We are sending you an email regarding images of Stonehenge in your fotoLibra website. Please be aware that any images of Stonehenge can not be used for any commercial interest, all commercial interest to sell images must be directed to English Heritage.

It’s kind of them to think of us, but this raises a number of questions.

Firstly, what legitimacy do they have for this claim? Is there any law that states that it is illegal to use images of Stonehenge for any commercial interest? Can someone direct me to it?

Secondly, if an image of Stonehenge is so used, how could they possibly police the usage? A quick browse through a number of rights-managed and royalty-free online picture libraries produced the following:

iStockPhoto (a US owned company) has 513 images of Stonehenge
Fotolia (US) has 648 images of Stonehenge
Dreamstime (US) has 670 images of Stonehenge
Shutterstock (US) has 737 images of Stonehenge

All the above sites sell images on a royalty free, unrestricted usage basis. If anyone buys a royalty free image from one of these suppliers then he’ll be using it as, where and when he likes, without asking English Heritage’s permission. How will they stop that?

Alamy (UK) has 1130 images of Stonehenge
GettyImages (US) has 860 images of Stonehenge
Corbis (US) has 426 images of Stonehenge
fotoLibra (UK) has 223 images of Stonehenge
Photo 12 (FR) has 114 images of Stonehenge

These are mainly rights managed. Rights managed images are essentially designed for a specific and time limited usage, and they’re more controlled and controllable than RF images.

Has every picture library with images of Stonehenge received this email? If we really are breaking the law by selling images of Stonehenge to be used for any commercial interest, then of course we will cease and desist immediately. However nothing in the National Heritage Acts (1983, 2002) which brought English Heritage into existence refers to their right to prevent the sale of images of any of their properties. In any case it must be legal to display them for sale if we intend to sell them for non-commercial (i.e. editorial) rights-managed usage.

If English Heritage wants to stamp out the unlicensed, unregulated, unlimited usage of RF images of Stonehenge they will have to talk to the people who hold those sorts of images for sale. In a large number of cases they will find that the picture libraries or stock agencies who hold these images are owned by foreign nationals who are not subject to British jurisdiction, who are based overseas, who have no connection, emotional attachment or even necessarily fondness for the United Kingdom.

Why the hell should they listen to a powerless quango which wants a slice of their profits? English Heritage is the current custodian of Stonehenge. It has been their responsibility for 27 of the monument’s 4,500 year old history. And they want to own the image rights to the site. (BTW It’s well known in the Headley family that our great x 170 – grandfather Elfis carved the stones for Stonehenge out of the Presley mountains in Wales, so our claim to the site is far longer than English Heritage’s nano-ownership (o.oo6% of the lifetime of the henge)).

In a recent blog post I noted the plight of a property owner in San Francisco who took the HSBC Bank to court for using a photograph of his house in a promotional leaflet without his permission. He lost, seven times over. That doesn’t set a strong precedent for EH or the National Trust or indeed any owner whose property can be seen from public land. Google Earth and Google Maps have pretty clear images of the place, as well.

OK, English Heritage’s email did not ask us to remove the images of Stonehenge from fotoLibra. But they did use imperative, urgent words like ‘can not’ and ‘must be’. I am ready to be proved wrong, but I don’t believe there is any legal substance behind the request. How can there be? Look at this:

Photo © Clive Morgan / fotoLibra

What if we photograph the place from the air? What law can we possibly be breaking here?

While we’re looking at Clive‘s photograph, who built that ugly tarmac footpath cutting through the sacred ring?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?


Add your comment


137 Responses to “Stonewalling Stonehenge”

  1. Toni says:

    The last time I went to visit Stonehenge I still had a film camera. Because it was ‘professional’ looking I was questioned on my way in and read the riot act about images being only for my personal use. It was raining at the time, so no wonderful shots to be had. I was bullied, questioned and made to feel like a criminal. They sent a guard/warden/security or whatever you want to call him to follow me around the entire time I was there. It thoroughly spoilt my visit. I had paid to go in and was left in peace to enjoy my visit.

  2. Toni says:

    Ooops, thatw as meant to read NOT left in peace to enjoy my visit

  3. Mike says:

    Another attempt by someone who doesn’t own something to nonetheless try and assert ownership of it in order to make money. Forget it- if I take a picture of Stonehenge and want to resell it or use it commercially, I will. If I buy one and want to resell it or use it commercially, I will.

    You almost have to laugh when you wonder where it will end. The logical conclusion is for England to declare that any picture of any part of England is “theirs” and so royalties must be paid. The US will follow suit and declare that any image of anything on or above US soil is owned by the US Government, so royalties must be paid to them. And so on and so forth….

    I hereby declare my copyright on anything “circular”, so now you all have to pay me for each period at the end of every sentence you type. Also your bicycle wheels, donuts, and the corneas in your eyes. (A full list will follow.)

  4. Mike says:

    Dear “Aggy”,

    And how, exactly, does someone recording the photons bounced off of Stonehenge give you the right to control how those images are used?

    It’s people like you that are destroying the world, bit by bit, along with the freedom to enjoy it. Your specious claim of some special “right” to control the images of Stonehenge is ludicrous, and I for one am going to ignore your bogus claims. Go ahead and sue me so I can give you a proper smackdown in court.

    I appreciate the work you do to preserve Stonehenge, but that DOES NOT somehow translate into the right to control what *I* do with an image of Stonehenge, no matter how much you’d like that to be true.

  5. Paul Ewins says:

    Aggy (and others)
    All of those commercial arrangements involve providing access, which is why the organisations involved can charge fees and impose license restrictions, since they are no longer in a public place. The same applies to shopping centres once you go through their doors. If the condition of entry says no commercial photography then that is that. However those rules can’t be applied retrospectively, nor do they apply to photos taken from public space. Any photos taken prior to the imposition of the ban on commercial photography would not be subject to those rules (and I’m betting that there are literally millions of such images). EH’s claim to control *all* images is simply false and it would be up to them to prove that an image was taken after the point at which commercial photography was banned.

    Remember too that this not a copyright issue. Copyright rests with the creator, not the owner, would have only prevented someone from building a copy of Stonehenge and in any case would have lapsed a few thousand years ago.

  6. nickj says:

    If Aggy’s illiterate ramblings are EH’s best shot at explaining the situation it does make you wonder..

    However, I wouldn’t be surprised to find EH can charge royalties on images of Stonehenge. Those who are going on about fascism etc etc whilst trying to charge for photographs (hey, how hard can it be? how much does it cost to make a digital image? – you’ve heard it all before) are on rather thin ice. My understanding is that Trafalgar Square has been stitched up in this fashion, I can’t find chapter and verse, but people do get pulled up there.

    My guess is that if someone produces a book / magazine / whatever and EH hear about it, they’ll be sending a bill; much as I would if someone used one of my images. Not exactly comparable I know, but you get the idea.

  7. nickj says:

    Trafalgar Square gets a mention at the pdf here: http://www.sirimo.co.uk/2009/05/14/uk-photographers-rights-v2/ – thanks to alasdair mcwilliams at no. 41

  8. Jamie Waddell says:

    I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. A law is only a law if it can be enforced! Do the police have the money and resources to take this all the way only for the CPS to slap your wrists?

    Since when has the English Heritage been in the real world anyway.

    I was living in UK I’d be straight down there to test them.


  9. John B says:

    EH’s illiterate spokesperson Aggy is either a troll or minutes away from being unemployed…

    All explained in the UK Photographers Rights Guide V2: http://www.sirimo.co.uk/2009/05/14/uk-photographers-rights-v2/

    My experience (albeit slightly different) here: http://youmustbefromaway.blogspot.com/2010/07/law-rules-ok.html

  10. Gaz says:

    Two questions for Aggy:

    1. Please point me to a specific law or statute saying that English Heritage can force a photographer to pay them a fee for commercial sale of a photo taken of Stonehenge from public land (or the air) where a photographer has not paid an entrance fee and has therefore not entered into any sort of contract involving terms and conditions of entry. I don’t want airy fairy “coulda shoulda woulda oughta” vagueness, I want specific statute or law.

    2. Has English Heritage EVER sued a photographer for selling photos of Stonehenge, or any other English Heritage run property, without first paying EH a fee? If so what court / jurisdiction heard the case, what was the exact basis of claim, and what was the outcome?

    And for the record – as a British taxpayer I already pay for governmental agencies to do their job.


  11. I asked the council last year about photographing the Ironbridge in Shropshire to potentially resell images and they said they would have no problem as it promotes the area, however it was technically owned by English Heritage. This was at the time the National Trust made it clear they wouldn’t allow commercial usage of images on their property. It led me to think well do I need permission to photograph anything and almost by default then nearly gave up the commercial aspect of photography (well for a day at least!) as then you would need to ask the farmer to photograph the tree in his field, the cows, … everything is surely owned by somebody who potentially could charge a fee for commercial usage. I can see the arguments on both sides but I’d like to see how these organisations police it. Maybe commercial photographers should have a professional “badge” which allows such photography in public areas of interest – like a press badge, but that’s another argument altogether.

  12. rob weaver says:

    Oh Dear Aggy;

    Such dedication to your work is praise worthy, but the long sentences and reasons for Stonehenge appaul me.. the rocks existed before your organisation took it over .. the aliens photographed it before leaving planet earth and wild life and nature photographers like my self do it for pleasure and to share with the world that which belongs to the people.. so Photographers please continue to photograph what you want where you want , i.e. places; animals; old buildings; historic battlefields, scenery etc.. if challenged go to court .. you will win! but don not photograph defence place; or children or people without permission that is intrusive! And dependent on circumstances you will be charged.. paparatsi (spelling) photographers continue with what you are doing.. you know that in some case you might be at risk.. but what the heck!

  13. Stonehenge and the national trust or whatever government office attempt are not unique to the english country side or any famous sites .Wherever you are in the world there is some agency or body claiming rights for photographic permits.None of them are legitimate ,some hide under the skirts of religious sites ,historical society sites etc etc.Some rightly charge for use of the site for commercial purposes where the photographer proposes to do a shoot,(advertising Fashion etc)or when any kind of photography involves much equipment and many people .
    On the whole careful preparation and planning can overcome these obstacles

  14. Aggy says:



    There ya go this should help. To nickj as per my post afterwards I did apologize regarding grammar errors. However, it shows a valid point to which you have deflected by insults. Stonehenge is not owned by the public, it is visited by the public. Every professional commercial photographer abide by the law and do pay a license fee. Especially the aerial shot as there is a no fly zone.

    And although I do work for EH i am simply trying to make some understand that if you want to take commercial photography anywhere in the world this is what you must do.

  15. Gaz says:

    Typical. Why am I not surprised by your response Aggy?

    You have yet again failed to supply a single piece of law to back up your claims.

    Those two links you have provided just regurgitate the usual old vague guff from people with little or no legal expertise.

    Please answer the two simple questions I posted earlier.

    On what UK or European laws are you basing your assertions in relation to Stonehenge?

    Simply stating “This is what you must do” is nonsense.


  16. Rob Kerr says:

    Who the hell do EH think they are. If a member of EH staff took a photo of Stonehenge then they can lawfully say that they own the rights to that image. However, in the case of other photographers surely it is the photographer who owns the rights to an image of his own that he has created, especially when it was shot from public land (lens poking through fence obviously!)

    I have taken great images of Stonehenge’s Sarsen stones, colour-tinted them in photoshop and for some time used them on my business cards (as a way of showing my editing/manipulation skills… I had many comments about what great images they were, never did I have a comment from anyone like “oooh you cant use that, the stones are copyrighted to EH!”
    Sod ’em – faceless corporate w**kers who think they own the rights to something someone else has produced – whats the matter with them, have they not made enough umpteen £millions this fiscal year — well boohoo, we’re all feeling the pinch!

    I have visited Stonehenge on many occasions and have a pretty good mental picture of whats there, I am also a budding artist – so what happens if I draw a picture of what I can remember – do EH think they own the rights to my original art piece??? I THINK NOT
    keep the images on your database, sell as many as you can just so you can poke ’em in the eye (or wherever else you fancy pokin ’em)

  17. Rob Kerr says:

    Aggy – your comments are like a pillocks!

    its folks like you and comments like that which make this country the “becoming a rather unpleasant place to work in”.
    If that is the case, then I shall take google to court for producing an image of my house without my prior permission (or entrance fee) – something which I believe I own the rights to!!!! and using it to promote its own business!!
    in the same breath, can I now sue Ordnance survey, multimap and Land Registry for using images of the albeit small plot of Englands green n pleasant land that I OWN ???

  18. Gaz says:

    Another thing – although slightly off topic perhaps.

    If there is supposedly a “no fly zone” (is there really? Says who? Please point me in the direction of the relevant Civil Aviation Authority diktat) over Stonehenge why does a quick internet search reveal a string of companies offering helicopter and balloon flights over Stonehenge?

  19. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    Gaz, with any property you must ask for permission. EH is not saying look you can’t shoot anything and do anything with the images. EH never said they own every single image of Stonehenge. Is EH going to go to everyone and take you to court saying you owe us this much, etc? Of course not. However Jacqui does know that for every property image a property release must be given. Which means that as a photographer me, you, and anyone needs to ask the permission to use the image commercially. For every shot of a person you must have a model release, this is standard, I am shocked that some people who selling stock photography are not aware of this. EH never said that you were to be charged every time you want to shoot stonehenge. However, you must contact the owners or custodians of any land, property, for permission for commercial photography and permission to take images period.

    “Firstly, what legitimacy do they have for this claim? Is there any law that states that it is illegal to use images of Stonehenge for any commercial interest? Can someone direct me to it?”

    No it is not illegal to use images of stonehenge for any commercial interest. However, as it is a photo for commercial use. You must ask the the custodians, owners of ANY property permission to do so. EH might charge a small fee dependant on the commercial use. They might not ask for a fee and will be ok for you to do so. BUT you do need to ask permission first, which means you need to contact them.

    “Secondly, if an image of Stonehenge is so used, how could they possibly police the usage? A quick browse through a number of rights-managed and royalty-free online picture libraries produced the following:

    iStockPhoto (a US owned company) has 513 images of Stonehenge
    Fotolia (US) has 648 images of Stonehenge
    Dreamstime (US) has 670 images of Stonehenge
    Shutterstock (US) has 737 images of Stonehenge ”

    No one is policing anything, however if we do tend to send emails to remind or make aware that if you are selling an image or would like to sell an image of the property, you must ask us first, and that is if you took the image while visiting Stonehenge. If you take images say outside the main road, as it is public space then no one can tell you anything.

    ex: Getty Images – when someone goes to them to use the images, they contact us ask for permission and deal with commercial fee use. see : http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/images/marketing/rightsclearance/RnC.en-gb.pdf

    In general under the law of the United Kingdom one cannot prevent photography of private property from a public place. However a landowner is permitted to impose any conditions they wish upon entry to a property, such as forbidding or restricting photography. For example, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square have a specific provision against photography for commercial purposes, and permission is needed to photograph or film for commercial purposes in the Royal Parks.

    You can find alot of the information if you want to do commercial photography in the property and privacy laws. I think many are getting confused with Jacqui’s post thinking that EH are forcing you to take down all your photos of Stonehenge, this is not the case. The case is if you are wanting to use the image for commercial use, you will need to contact EH for a property release, and this goes for any owners of property. I am starting to realise that alot of people here are hobbyist and are just starting out in stock photography and commercial images, and are not aware of privacy and property act.

  20. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    Gaz, EH didnt impose a no fly zone. Its a no fly zone because MOD (UK Army) in Salisbury.

  21. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    Rob – I wish! LOL depending on what the commercial use is for my images I might have to pay a small fee.

  22. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    Rob – Google have had complaints..they took the image across the street so they were well in their rights. However, if they zoomed into an open window and took shots of the interior without your permission, or an image of you inside your house and you are well within your rights to reject it. They should ask for you to sign a property release or model release.

  23. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    Rob – “However, in the case of other photographers surely it is the photographer who owns the rights to an image of his own that he has created, especially when it was shot from public land (lens poking through fence obviously!)”

    – lens poking through the fence – yes the image is fine its yours your on a public road.

    I have taken great images of Stonehenge’s Sarsen stones, colour-tinted them in photoshop and for some time used them on my business cards

    – You are not selling the cards for commercial gain. However, if someone see’s the image and wants to use this in National Geographics, BBC – they will ask do you have a property release. You will then need to offer this or contact EH to say I have some interest regarding my image for commercial use can I use it.

  24. Mike P. says:

    EH claim to own the image rights to Stonehenge and their other sites, and are telling Fotolibra they cannot use supplied images for commercial use. Then by reason ALL photographs taken of these sites are “illegal” as they are tekn without EH’s permission.
    So are they planning to confiscate all cameras from these sites, so how will they know who is a taken pictures for commercial rreasons and not for personal use.
    I agree with other posts saying Fotolibra and other stock image sites should ignore EH’s threats and challenge them to prove their case in court.

  25. Well done fotoLibre and all other library sites. Stand your ground. The idiots are running the asylem.

    This attempt to fool us by EH is a heinous act! When did they purchase Stonehenge? I am not aware that they have in fact done so. What would have been the price? Perhaps in a private room within a hotel a group of foreigners persuaded some lackless official to pass over a briefcase full of dosh in exchange for the building. A good case for any whistle-blowers to let rip, c’mon Daily Telegraph first the MP’s expenses, now the comical EH. They are only custodians, but I imagine they think they’re greater than that.

    Ignorance is bliss, and I guess English Heritage is very blissful. I just think it’s sour grapes when as soon as the new Coalition goverment came to power they cancelled EH’s £10 million new Stonhenge visitor centre. God knows how they’re going to manage without it… Oh yes, I do know – they’re going to control ALL photography of the site, or die in the attempt. Now there’s an idea. Come on Dave get cutting at the EH could be a few million can be saved before they use our money in defence of expensive litigation.

    Am I bothered? No. Cos like everything else that’s stupid and illogical in Britain it seems always to eventually evaporate away into the ether. As a photographer I’ll continue to photograph anything I like.

  26. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    John B – perhaps you should read the website you posted. He said exactly what I said in regards to private property and land.

    on the second website – person in public place, not private land or property.

  27. Gaz says:


    I’m not a hobbyist and I’m well aware of the laws governing photography, privacy, copyright, trademarks and a string of other pertinent legal issues in the UK.

    I’ve spent 20 years working in the media and have successfully argued legal issues before a judge in a string of court cases on various issues – seeing off a number of ignorant barristers who have tried to tell me what I can and cannot do.

    I’m well aware of the ongoing debate / potential dangers / pitfalls of offering images for sale without
    property / model releases.

    I’m also aware of some particular case law relating to the need / lack of need for property releases in other countries.

    I’m simply fed up with vague comments like “you can find a lot of information if you want to do commercial photography in the property and privacy laws”.

    By commercial use are you defining that as excluding or including the offering of stock images for editorial / secondary editorial use?

    Your response is, as usual, full of generalities. Long on assertions, short on legal facts.

    I’m not saying a property release is never required but you cannot expect me to take you seriously when you make a statement which includes the assertion that “you must contact the owners or custodians of any land, property for….permission to take images period.”

    That’s simply nonsense – there is no law against taking photos (with a few minor exceptions), the issue is what you do with them. Stop making catch-all claims.

    Every image needs to be looked at on its own merits and circumstances – I think claiming any sort of property rights on an ancient monument which is thousands of years old is ridiculous. I’d be astonished if English Heritage sued over Stonehenge image use – because they are well aware there is a strong chance they would lose.

    Additionally – the statement “with any property you must ask for permission” is again so general as to be laughable. Again, it depends on what you intend doing with the image allied to a number of other issues – is the property the sole or main feature in the image for example. Is it a small part of a general landscape view? Etc etc – I could go on.

    As far as I’m concerned I only offer for sale images taken on public land to which I have not had to pay to gain access (and therefore have not entered into any contract or agreed to any terms or conditions in relation to photos taken).

    I also take care not to use an image of a person where they might have “a reasonable expectation of privacy” with regard to PCC guidelines and recent High Court judgements on privacy matters.

    And I never claim to have a model or property release when I don’t have one – the buyer can decide if their use of one of my images requires a release.

    I’m happy with the way I run my business – common sense allied to sound legal knowledge.


  28. Gaz says:

    Add to my previous post:

    Aggy, I see you have now made this comment:

    “However, if someone see’s the image and wants to use this in National Geographics, BBC – they will ask do you have a property release. You will then need to offer this or contact EH to say I have some interest regarding my image for commercial use can I use it.”

    So you appear to be claiming that English Heritage need to be paid a fee for editorial use of Stonehenge images.

    Please – utter nonsense.

    I look forward to being sued. I also look forward to English Heritage sueing every single British newspaper and media outlet which uses an image of Stonehenge in the coming year to illustrate a hard news story or news feature.


  29. Many years ago I made a film for Channel 4 called ‘Spirit of Albion’ (now to be found on YouTube – pirated, of course, so maybe I should use threatening language too?) which focusses on travelling people, New Age Gypsies etc. and their connection to this planet, ancient sites and their persecution by authority. Naturally, we all gathered (and filmed) the Solstice at Stonehenge – the winter one, of course.
    English Heritage seem merely to be extending their dictatorial attitude (that previously resulted in wholesale attacks by police on travellers, destruction of homes and appalling brutality – documented by the Earl of Cardigan and many others – and at the behest of English Heritage) to photography.
    Travellers sought to resist and to wrest control of “our stones” back from English Heritage, however momentarily, and I believe photographers should do the same before the richness of imagery descends completely to the banal level of celebrity/corporate-approved pack shots.
    I do not accept EH as owners of anything at all, anymore than anti-war/nuclear protesters accepted the ‘right’ of the Ministry of Defence and the US State to wrest ‘ownership’ of Common Land (eg. Greenham Common) from common use, fence it off, prevent right of access to ‘common’ people and subject the land to their abuse.
    The state (in all its forms) always considers itself to be above the people it is elected to serve, and EH is no exception, arrogantly and ignorantly viewing the ‘people’ as so stupid that their ‘laws’ are required to protect us from ourselves.

  30. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    Gaz, your clearly not reading the comments. If you are in private property and you take images for commercial use you do need to ask permission. The person has a right to stop you, and its states you will need to let EH know regarding commercial use. EH is not claiming to get paid a fee for editorial use, you will need to ask permission. Secondly, I did not directly say you were the hobbyist or starting in commercial photography. I am not addressing only you. If you noticed, I put up if you are in public road taking a shot of Stonehenge and you are not INSIDE, you can do as you wish. However, your commercial interest is restricted. EH i cant imagine would push far to go sue you but they are well within their rights to stop you from using the images, you know that very well. Considering you are posting the same thing I posted. British Newspapers – guess what they come to us and ask permission – BBC for summer solstice and every other story. Yup my friend they have called and asked us if they can film. They ask for permission if they can film inside, and we say yes or no and in the end if EH say no. Guess what they can’t film inside. If they want to do their report outside a main road. Guess what they are within their rights we cant stop them. That goes with everything that is private property.

    “As far as I’m concerned I only offer for sale images taken on public land to which I have not had to pay to gain access (and therefore have not entered into any contract or agreed to any terms or conditions in relation to photos taken).” So you agree with what was posted in my past post. So what exactly are you angry about?

    You just said what I have been trying to explain to most of the people here who might not be aware of both sides.

  31. Gaz says:


    I am reading your comments but, with all due respect, they are not always tightly defined.

    It appears we may be in agreement that editorial sales / useage of images taken from public land / highway which is not “inside” Stonehenge do NOT need permission or payment of a fee.

    I still strongly question whether – in this particular example of Stonehenge – English Heritage can control in any way, shape or form, non-editorial commercial use of images of an ancient monument.

    We’ll just have to disagree on that latter point.

    And I’m not angry.

    Kind regards.


  32. Julia Rich says:

    Interesting mail from English Heritage. Some years ago English Heritage was asking for photographers to take images of listed buildings for them, on a vountary basis – and I was one of the photographers recording these buildings in my local area (and EH were fair and legal about copyrights of images). At that time EH advised its photographers that if an image was taken from a public place, like a road or footpath, no permissions were required. However, if we needed to get an image whilst on the owner’s property, then we must have the owners permission, in writing (via a form EH supplied). So as I read their own advice, as long as you are on the public highway, road, or a public footpath taking the image, the EH can take a hike. However if you are within the compound where you will have paid some kind of entry fee, you are on their private property and they can tell you to take the hike! Hoist with their own petard perhaps? However there is always the sticky end of the copyright laws to contend with, which may apply to EH property as it does with National Trust and some private property – which I believe needs some kind of notice or registration to be made (this needs checking) of the copyright. Julia

  33. rob weaver says:

    Aggy Give up and go back to work looking after Stonehenge and lets get on with enjoying photography .

  34. Bombshell says:

    A point about ‘no-fly zones’ in the UK. There are a few – Aldermaston, Buckingham Palace & other royal palaces when HRH and other VIPs are in residence, Whitehall for example – but not Stonehenge. However that part of Salisbury Plain is an Area of Intense Aerial Activity, primarily military, so any pilot wanting to overfly the henge would be well advised to check out the local status before doing so. Specific restrictions are created for certain periods and usually for safety reasons – the Summer Solstice was the most recent, I think, when the Civil Aviation Authority restricted flying to above 3000 feet because of the large number of people expected at Stonehenge. A leisurely flight over the stones at the weekend when the military very rarely operates would be perfectly fine.

  35. Grant Kinnaird says:

    I’m amazed that English heritage think that they can regulate images taken of Stonehenge from a public place. What legislation gives them this right? I had a similar problem a couple of years ago when the owner of a Motor Torpedo boat I’d photographed in mid English Channel demanded that the image be removed from Fotolibra. Of course I asked the same question then as I do now “what law says I cannot photograph an image in public”. I never received an answer and the images are still on Fotolibra. I think that they should be ignored and many more images should be posted on line.

  36. Derek Metson says:

    For several years of my part-time freelancing days back in the late fifties to the end of the seventies, I was a regular photographer at Ipswich Town (then top division) for Sunday papers and football magazines. I did hear murmurs that any player whose image was published received some sort of royalty from the mag or paper. Not sure if its true or how they did it. I also made a good regular income from three local newspapers.

    When we won our first Koday Portrait award as a fulltime studio, the local paper said the little girl with ringlets in the winning picture was a ‘Kojak’ award winner. BBC East paid us £19 to use the image on a regular slot featuring local press boobs.

    Now TV people want viewers pictures without payment (and often without credit) and local papers don’t want to pay. Glad I’m only doing a bit to supplement income now.

    During the eighties when we had our studio, we first used to reckon a £100 wedding album would produce £100 reprint orders. By the time we lost the business thanks to John Major’s recession, we considered ourselves lucky to get any reorder, though the amount on the album was £300+. Even with the poor quality of early colour copies, many of our customers were going to copy shops who were not supposed to copy copyrighted stuff. As a small town studio, we had to live with it. A court case would have done us no good. Had a newspaper used something without permission or without credit – as one did once with a full front page wedding pic, it was think of a number time. We got £40 out of that, which was probably quite good at the time, but a credit would have been better.

    In my early days I taught myself people photography by taking ‘candids’ of all sorts of people, including kids, in all sorts of situations. Try doing that now – particularly with kids.

    There was a lot of publicity a while ago about London Transport banning any street pic including one of their signs. Fair enough, don’t reproduce their copyright image by itself, but their sign is a part of the normal London street scene. Trafalgar square is a public place. A lot of this clamping down on photographers, commercial or otherwise, is in the name of ‘prevention of terrorism’, just as catching safe drivers at 32mph in a 30mph zone is ‘preventing’ idiots from driving at speeds entirely inappropriate to conditions. Sometimes 30mph is too fast, even when its legal.

    English heritage and NT seem to be trying to cash in on the ‘terrorism’ angle without any justification.

    We are currently working out the best way to get in as many pics as possible for the follies picture call. Some are on NT or EH land and would involve an entrance fee if we were willing to pay it. As it happens most will not reopen until after the deadline. We will also respect private property, homes or land, but will take pics from roads or public footpaths where possible – already done so.

    Copyright law is very clear. All photos, writings, paintings, etc, are copyright to to author for life and for seventy years after death. Pressing the shutter on a camera creates the copyright. When any one of us, as FL contributors, takes a picture, we have no idea whether it will even be used. Going back to the old football mags, surely if any fees or licences are genuinely due, then a once off payment from a publishing house should be adequate. It would not amount to thousands of payments from individual photographers. There used to be a licencing scheme (probably still exists) whereby a one off payment covers use of any copyright material in newspapers. This would be used, for example, by clippings services who would be cutting from many papers for several clients.

    The other alternative is, of course that people like EH should do what we had to do with our pics being copied – grin and bear it!

    Isn’t it ridiculous that it is not disputed that someone taking a picture from outside, without paying (a small fortune) to enter, can happily take and sell any number of pictures (who’s so lucky?!), while someone who pays toward the upkeep of the premises is persecuted and restricted.

    Bumbling along like Mr Bumble – if that is truly the case ‘the law is a ass!’

  37. Aggy says:

    Grant It’s not a public place. It’s a place that allow public to go in. So if you are in their land and take photos and post them in a website for fun or non-commercial use. EH won’t and shouldnt stop it. But if you do anything with commercial use of the image, when you were inside, You must always ask permission and there could be a small fee. This goes for if someone wanted to do a commercial shoot inside your home. And a person or body have a right to stop it.. But only if the image was taken inside. It’s similar to what you are doing with photos. You own it and if someone uses your image that you took and used it for their gain you are in your right to stop this. As you see jacqui qouted they are saying commercial use. I have to do this for my work as well. I always obtain permission inside any property and with people if I want to sell the image. And would you believe this includes a killer whale shot in sea world. I gotta ask them permission.

  38. Grant Kinnaird says:

    I was not suggesting they had no right to control shots taken from within the boundaries. I’m well aware of the restrictions which can be placed inside a premises. I was referring to shots take from outside the physical boundaries of Stone Henge. The aerial shot is an example.

  39. DMan says:

    I hate corporations that act like this, or anyone else for that matter. To claim copyright over something they didn’t create either in the physical essence or the image of said object, is beyond stupidity. It is beyond greed. I recall another greedy corporation, Rambus, in its attempt to claim copyright over all existing and future jpeg files.

    After the last 2 years of global financial crisis, and the fact that the same corporate banks are still pulling the same illegal stunts, to add this malarkey to the pile, I guess it is time to burn all corporations to the ground. We can use their corporate lawyers as kindling to start the fires.

  40. nickj says:

    Aggy is a troll and should be banned.

    EH should provide a definitive statement of their understanding of the legal position instead of hiding behind an illiterate jobsworth.

    When EH have come up with their take on the legal position, we / fotolibra / uncle tom cobley and all can come up with our interpretation of the legalities.

    Meantime, all comment is moot.

  41. William says:

    I’m not a lawyer, so this isn’t legal advice. It’s interesting that

    National Heritage Act 2002, 33(B).1
    “The Commission may exploit any intellectual property, or any other intangible asset, relating to ancient monuments or historic buildings.”

    It may be interesting to wonder whether this lets English Heritage use Stonehenge as a trademark, and protect the use of the image that way, and if they cannot (if your argument is that all intellectual property in an ancient monument is public) then what 33(B).1 does give them.

    But I guess that’s a question for any lawyers out there…?

  42. ian clegg says:

    be short – be sweet – they don’t ‘own’ it – it just reflects light which we gather before it goes to waste – keep the images on the library and support the cause – I left the National Trust because of their attitude, do all you can to speak against this poor show.

  43. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    I am not commenting on behalf of EH, I work there, but also a prof. photographer who adheres to the rules, laws, rights, and respect for the person or places I am shooting. And what I have mentioned in my comments are correct. The fact that EH is a big organization is why people are moaning, no one likes huge organisations, and in my opinion its mostly amatuer photographers not understanding that just because you bought an SLR doesn’t give you the right to take shots of private premises when you are IN them, and profit from it. It is the same with copyrighting your images and making sure that no one else profits from it. That is why the law and rights are written and you must respect that. This goes with any private property, IF you are IN the property. However, IF you are in PUBLIC space then the photographer’s rights are protected, and there is nothing wrong you are within your RIGHTS of doing what you want with the image. However, once you go into someone’s property (your property, organisations, my property, a museum, etc) then EH, museum, property owner, etc is well within their rights to stop you, and you must ask permission to do so, especially for commercial interest. If you the photographer go against that, then they have the right to make you remove the images and not sell them, and if they want to go far as take it to court, majority of the time the owner of said place, wins. It is what it is. If all you can throw back is call someone a troll then that shows lack of knowledge of this topic. For my point of view EH said look if your selling images commercially when you were IN stonehenge and EH premises, do realise you can’t without consent. Nickj your images are all outside the buildings and your selling your images. However, why no shots inside those buildings? Is obvious why, cause there will need to be a property release, and you will need to possibly pay a fee.

    Let me guess your next comment, Troll?

    Dman then you as a photographer you also are being greedy, cause you want to sell your images, but you wont like anyone taking your images and selling it for profit. Alot of people don’t appreciate someone going to their private homes, estates, etc, to then sell the image to make profit. The same way alot of photographers dont want other people using their images for profit

  44. Mike says:

    In this case, the law is irrelevant. This is a simple case of recognising right from wrong. It’s *not* OK to stop people taking images of Stone Henge and using them however they please, regardless of the legality. Just because you can get away with something legally, doesn’t mean you should.

    A lot of people simply don’t get the difference between legality and right/wrong, so here are a couple more examples. Being rude is wrong, but not illegal. Cheating on your wife is wrong, but not illegal.

  45. @Aggy:

    I think you miss the point here. Who says that Stonehenge is the property of EH? Some provenance would be nice.

    Anyway, through my great x 50 grandfather, William, who conquered the site 1066, I also claim ownership!

  46. Aggy (info withheld) says:

    Bjorn lol, William gave it away , so you lost out in claiming it because of him. EH is custodians, which is similar to being power of attorney to someone. They pretty much have the rights to stop you photographing inside, especially for commercial interest. Whether we as photographers like it or not. I never argue the fact if its fair or not. I argue the fact you must respect the rights. I used to like the idea of google earth, but now I am worried, because they have had loads of people complaining about their privacy being violated, and I wont be surprised that soon their will be rights set in place that you will no longer take images in public grounds. Same as the terror act they inforced. I had the samething happen to me when shooting the united nations, and decided to please the big 6’2 man with a massive rifle gun and respect that I shouldnt take shots of it and deleted it (was I annoyed, yeah a little it was a good shot)

  47. @Aggy:

    I’m glad to see that we at least agree that what EH is trying to do here is not fair.

    As a liberal I frown upon the concept that any human being(s) can actually “own” a piece of our planet, but let’s not go into that philosophical discussion here.

    Actually trying to control what I can depict — be it photo, painting, words or whatever — surely must be the ultimate abuse of the so called “intellectual property” bogus? What about pictures of Mount Everest? Should the Nepal government be allowed exclusive right to all pictures taken on that mountain? Or what about the Egyptian pyramides, the Great Wall of China, and so on?

    C’mon now, when will this “IP” folly ever end, hasn’t it gone far enough now?

  48. Aggy says:

    What EH is right and I will back them up. It’s not because I have to, but because I know what they do. But back them up on their rights to charge a small fee of commercial use if you are within their rights to do so. I mean do we know the exact conversations jacqui had with them? They probably queried she then answered and they were then fine with it ( I hope!) instead all we get is her quotes to be honest. I think it’s for blog hits me thinks! Cause look at the debate. She is good for it and tip my hat for it. Let’s just hope the high complaints that google has done doesn’t change the power to take photos of properties and people on public domain! The examples of mount everest isn’t a good example cause it land. This is private property that is opened to the public. Of it were truly owned by the public then why closure times why fences and security? Stonehenge as well is a structure not really a mountain. Silly laws I know and I agree.

  49. yes, Mount Everest is “land”. But so is Stonehenge. The question seem to be how much rock you can accept in order to “classify” it as public domain.

    Will the amount of rock in the pyramides do the trick? Or the Chinese Wall, it has plenty of rock in it. Not to mention Taj Mahal.

    And what about the Eiffel Tower or the Golden Gate Bridge, that has no rocks at all in it?

    Is there perhaps some kind of, universally agreed upon, limit to how “big” a world inheritage monument may be before the local politicians can suddenly deside that from now on this or that governmentally controlled organisation “owns” it and all the rights to all depictions of it?

  50. […] Heritage, the folks who maintain Stonehenge, have claimed ownership over Stonehenge images.1  This is especially relevant to me because I visited Stonehenge in Spring 2009 and, yes, took […]