Windows, the software company, uses a picture showing my yacht as a screensaver on their software. Can I claim copyright or any other intellectual property? Thank you in advance for your answers.

  • I'm assuming this is not a photo you yourself took, right?
    – mattdm
    Jan 31 '19 at 11:23
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    Windows is not a company. I think you are talking about Microsoft.
    – osullic
    Jan 31 '19 at 12:19

You almost certainly do not hold copyright to the image someone else made of your yacht, unless your yacht is itself a unique work of art that you, yourself, created or caused to be created as a creative work for hire. (In that case, you may be able to argue that the photograph is a derivative work.)

Usually, because a yacht is functional, not artistic, it is likely that copyright is not applicable at all here. If the unique design of your yacht is something you use to identify goods or services to your customers and Microsoft is using it in a misleading way, you might have a trademark claim, but that also seems unlikely.

If there are identifiable humans visible in the image, other rights may apply. And if this image was taken from, like, your living room without permission, you might want to talk to a lawyer.

But in general, if this is an image of your property in public (like, in the ocean or at a marina), the best thing you can do is tell your friends "hey, check it out! — that's my yacht!"

As always, don't put all your stock into advice from random strangers on the internet — contact a lawyer if you are serious.

If the outcome you'd like is for Microsoft to remove the image, you can try just asking. They probably will — it's unlikely to be worth the trouble for them to not to. If you are looking to extract money, ehhhhh.

  • Thank you very much for your answer, much appreciated. I have no clue about copyrights and you are bieng very helpful. Indeed the yacht was at sea when the shoot was taken, so I guess no $ :) Thank you again, have a nice one.
    – Talal
    Jan 31 '19 at 11:47
  • The point is not who owns the yacht. The point is who owns the photograph.
    – osullic
    Jan 31 '19 at 12:21
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    "an image of your property in public"... In some jurisdictions, I believe the critical consideration is not whether the property is in a public place, but whether it is visible from a public place. Something a lawyer could confirm. (If I recall correctly, this is a "loophole" used by paparazzi to photograph Princess Diana while on private property.)
    – osullic
    Jan 31 '19 at 12:24
  • @osullic Yeah, it can be complicated. But in this case, we are talking about a yacht at sea.
    – mattdm
    Jan 31 '19 at 14:40
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    This is Microsoft you are talking about. They don't go to the iStock website to buy individual images. iStock is owned by Getty Images, and Getty and Microsoft have an agreement that allows Microsoft to use all of Getty's content.
    – osullic
    Jan 31 '19 at 15:57

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