Pimping Someone’s Graf – Your Thoughts

For those of you not wanting to get into another debate on the council buffing pieces, there’s an interesting discussion over here on Flickr at the moment about commercial companies using people’s work on walls for photoshoots.

In essence, what looks like an ad agency was down Dean Lane the other day, doing a photoshoot in front of a 3Dom piece (a legal one, given it’s Dean Lane). 3Dom probably won’t get credited in the final ad photos, but in essence provided the backdrop for it. Is this right, or if you paint something in public should you just expect it to get used by anyone with access to that site?Are there any artists in particular out there with a view on it?

Keep the debate over at Flickr if you would (unless you’re not signed up there), but in the meantime we’ll do some digging and see what the setup for these things might be.

UPDATE: Well, that was easy. The organisation that looks after people doing commercial filming and photography in Bristol is Film Bristol. It’s part of the council, so if you want to film or photograph on council owned property for commercial purposes, then you need to speak to them to buy a permit. It’s not immediately clear what the enforcement is for not getting a permit.

More interesting, their website has a database of locations for filming and photography, which include graffiti as one of the assets for various locations, including round the end of Ashley Road over to Herbert’s Bakery/Star and Garter, the M32 Junction, Dean Lane Skate Park and other places. The photos on the site are all copyright, but you can register and have a look yourself easily enough here.

So, could be wrong, but it looks like the situation is that if you paint in council approved locations, then the council implicitly has the right to license out your work for filming and photography.


Filed under 3Dom, Bristol

5 responses to “Pimping Someone’s Graf – Your Thoughts

  1. Me

    Then don’t paint in council approved locations ;).

    I would be happy with the free publicity.

    (Sorry mate no Flickr)

  2. Jimmy Greaves

    i hope Mr Braun got a permit for Children Of The Can – its full of photos of graff on council property 😉

  3. Its an interesting copyright issue; there probably isn’t anything you can do about it, though talking to a lawyer may clarify.

    I am still waiting for an advert for that KIA parked on stokes croft to show up in the printed press, primarily to send a complaint to the ASA that they are encouraging parking on pavements by double yellow lines, which means the car ad is encouraging illegal driving (forbidden by ASA rules).

  4. On one hand, it’s a public space. If it’s just part of the background… then *shrug* what can you do. You can’t stop people photographing in the public domain like that, it’s a dangerous road to walk down, especially if it’s an image that is meant to be documenting a scene, not just the artwork.

    On the other, 99% of the time (I can think of one or two photographers that can pull it off) it’s tacky as hell to use graffiti for advertising or “model” type photoshoots, even more so when it’s without permission. I could flog so many of my photos if I wanted to, but it’s just a shitty move. If you like someone’s work enough to use it in an ad or a photograph, you should at least respect them to not abuse it.

  5. Dave

    It might be worth having a look at what these guys do:


    They have around £3M to pay out to artists who have had their work featured in publications or on TV etc.

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