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I have seen a few people come on the forum to flog their zoo photos, and it got me thinking: is that legal?
So can you take pics of animals at a zoo, and then sell the prints for your own commercial gain? (I have no intention of doing so, but I was just curious, because surely there are signs at zoos basically saying "feel free to take pics for your personal enjoyment, but commercial photography requires permission"?)
I'm sure that we had this conversation on ZooChat some years ago.
At our zoo we take the view that, while we would like to share in any commercial gain to be made from the use of our property, in the case of photographs or videos taken by our visitors it is virtually impossible to insist that this be the case.
We had a case a few years back where a lady took some videdo footage of her young son being urinated on by one of our male lions. She submitted the footage to the Funniest Home Videos TV show who accepted it on the proviso that she obtained our written permission for them to broadcast it. To obtain our permission she volunteered to share any monetary gain that the clip brought her. The clip won the cash prize for that particular night but, of course, we didn't see our share of the prize. It's not something that we lose any sleep over - karma will get her!!
Different zoos take different positions - look at Blackpool's rules if you want to be intimidated. Actually the legal position is quite complicated, but for most commercial purposes you need to provide a property release from the zoo with the photo. The main exception is for editorial use, for example in a news item.
You've got to find some way of saying it without saying it.
As Gentle Lemur says, different zoos have different ideas. I don't know what the situation is these days at Taronga, but 20 years ago professional photographers or film makers had to pay a fee and were escorted around the zoo. I contacted the PR dept. when I submitted some photos to the National Photographic Index of Australian Wildlife (I had never taken them with the intention of commercial use) and they said they didn't want a fee, but if one of my shots was used and I got paid I should contact them and we could discuss it.
One of the photos I lodged was used on the cover of a book on Kangaroos, but that photo was taken at Adelaide Zoo - I wrote to them and they replied they had no restrictions at all.