Sunday, December 29, 2013

Censored Building Image

I have had some modesty successes with, an online commercial site, allowing designers utilizing their own images, or images with creative licenses from others, to create commercial merchandizes, such as post cards, iPhone cases, napkins, pillows, t-shirts, etc.

My Zazzle Store:

make custom gifts at Zazzle

Most of the images I used were my own art creations, such as paintings, and drawings, and sometimes, photographs I took, either while traveling or during daily routines.

I thought that I owned copyrights to those photos I took, till one day, I received an email from Zazzle's representative, informing me that:
We would love to offer every design that our users submit, however we must abide by all applicable laws and standards as well as our own content guidelines and copyright policies.

Unfortunately, it appears that your product, “Sunset in San Francisco,” does not meet Zazzle’s Acceptable Content Guidelines. Specifically, your product infringes upon the intellectual property rights of Transamerica Corporation, owners of the Transamerica Pyramid in San Francisco.

We have been contacted by legal representatives from the Transamerica Corporation, and at their request, have removed the product from the Zazzle Marketplace.

We are sorry for any disappointment, but hope you will understand our position in this regard. For future reference, please review Zazzle’s Acceptable Content Guidelines at:

I did a little research and realized that it was the picture below Transamerica Corporation deemed infringed their property rights, when I used this image to create a greeting card.  By the way, can you see the Transamerica Pyramid?

It turned out that such charge of property rights infringements have been slapped by Transamerica Corporation many times, as evident in this short citation:
Editing Out the Transamerica Pyramid

Jon Carroll had a great column last week about how copyright concerns caused the producers of “Bewitched” to edit the Transamerica Pyramid, which is a copyrighted image, out of the movie. Carroll also references the fine work of Patricia Aufderheide and Peter Jaszi on the tribulations of documentary film makers. For what it’s worth, a search on Google images for “Transamerica Pyramid” yields 1270 images.
Below is the video, Stories Untold, a short film by Brigid Maher, cited by Patricia Aufderheid and Peter Jaszi mentioned above, dealing with "Fair Use & Documentary | Stories Untold - Creative Costs of Clearance Culture":

Such aggressive assertion of their property rights is quite over the top, don't you think? and is quite detrimental to the creative community, and the community at large.  Yet, they have the dubious right, then they must be right?  Right?

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