Legal Question in Business Law in Oregon

My private property (A building) Pictures dipicted in a large companys advertis

Hello..My family owns a small shoping mall in N.Ore.In the 1940''s we rented the building to a co that has now grown into a national ''Monster''.However they dipict our building (pictures)on all of their advertising,letterheads,websites,TV spots.etc s ''Where it all began'' theme.Query? Can they do that? Can I make them stop? Can we get''Royalties'' from em???? I know this may sound kinda sleazy but they are really the sleazy ones who boast a 142 million dollar profit last year....We want some.

Thanks much.

Asked on 4/08/05, 4:10 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen
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Re: My private property (A building) Pictures dipicted in a large companys adve

I recall several years ago that there was talk of charging royalties (and perhaps they're doing that) for using unique NY landmarks as backdrops (i.e. the Chrysler building, I think). I haven't been able to find anything comparable in California, however. If they're not saying anything negative about the building, I don't know if there's much you can do, unless it's brought an unusual number of tourists or gawkers. In that case, you might want to get the advertiser to put the necessary security in place because they've created a nuisance for you and have interfered with your peace and quiet.

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4/08/05, 6:37 am
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law
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Re: My private property (A building) Pictures dipicted in a large companys adve

This would be a matter of Oregon law, and as a California licensee perhaps I shouldn't be expressing an opinion, but I have never heard of a legal principle or right that gives the owner of real property a cause of action for commercial use of its image.

Courts invent new causes of action from time to time, so next time you're in Oregon, get an initial (free) consultation with a local attorney who specializes in intellectual property torts such as misappropriation of trade secrets or copyright infringement and have a brainstorming session.

Perhaps your better tack would be to approach the company and ask for compensation; the outcome of a lawsuit would be pretty uncertain.

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4/08/05, 11:38 am
Edward Hoffman Law Offices of Edward A. Hoffman
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Re: My private property (A building) Pictures dipicted in a large companys adve

Like Mr. Whipple and Mr. Cohen, I have no special expertise in this area and I am not licensed in Oregon. But if the law worked the way you hope it does, every company that uses a photo of the Manhattan skyline in its advertising would have to pay royalties to the owners of dozens of buildings. Naturally, the same is true of any other skyline or group of buildings.

As long as the ad doesn't imply that the company is connected to your family (and just using a photo of the building is not enough), I don't believe you have any claim.

Sorry I can't be more encouraging.

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4/08/05, 5:31 pm

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