The Greens, Transport Policy and Property Rights

This morning the Greens announced their transport policy. They have put out the following graphic:


Now coming from a photography background, I know that to use images of things like the AT train in a campaign image, be it commercial or political, you need a property release. The Auckland Transport website includes the following statement:


So the question that I asked myself was, did the Greens gain permission to use these logos. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Ben Ross of Talking Auckland got asked the same question:


The Greens have replied to this saying:


Which is really good to see. But it is an important issue to raise. It is something that political parties, especially smaller ones, need to remember. The use of Trademarked or Copyrighted objects for campaigns requires permission. This is why the Advertising and Illustrative Photographers Association have a series of release forms, including a property release form available on their website. Things such as buildings can be copyrighted. Normally it is up to the photographer, unless their contract stipulates other wise, to gain the permission of the copyright holder. However more and more parties are using Creative Commons images, where the burden shifts to those who are using the images.


Trademark and Copyright are not the only reason that parties should be gaining permission. There is a growing trend for people to take issue with people and organisations over expressions, or apparent expressions, of political support. Last week Johan Lomu sent this tweet:


Which produced these responses:



As well as the campaign against Canon because of the awarding of Blogger of the Year at the Canon Media Awards to Cameron Slater.


If a political party were to including trademarked, or copyrighted material within their campaign graphics that implied a non political organisation endorsed or supported a particular policy, they may find themselves in hot water. It is no different to the fact that I would expect parties to be getting model releases for every person who appears in one of their policy announcement graphics. It is good to see that the Greens have crossed their Ts and dotted their Is. But I felt this issue was worth raising as we have already seen the Labour Party use McDonalds Trademarked material.