Content Restrictions

With the explosion of stock photography and advertising, some properties previously seen as fair game for commercial photographs have now put restrictions in place because of potential lost revenue. Property owners are finding their properties used in advertising in print and on the web, and architects now claim (in buildings since 1990) structural designs as copyrighted work. Others have legal rights to demand that their trademarks and patented designs not be infringed upon. To generate revenue, some property owners now charge license fees for commercial photographs, and in the case of some smaller entities, they'd rather publish their own gift books, posters, and post cards. They would prefer not to see such items sold in outside markets but in their own gift shops, and do not want their properties used in advertising without appropriate compensation.

The list below can be used as a guideline for discerning Restricted Content which cannot be submitted to GL Stock Images. The list should not be construed as All Inclusive, nor should this page be considered Legal Advice. While the subjects listed here may not all have official trademark filings, they are parties who may have stated publicly their desire to maintain the distinction of their properties. 


  • 30 St Mary Axe, London (The Gherkin) - acceptable in a distant skyline, cannot be a primary or secondary subject - London UK
  • Allianz Arena - Munich, Germany
  • American Stock Exchange and its trademarks - New York, NY
  • Ant Farm - Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, TX
  • Atomium - Brussels, Belgium
  • Avedore Power Station - Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Ayer's Rock - Australia
  • Beverly Hills Sign or Beverly Hills Shield - Los Angeles, CA
  • Biltmore Estate - Asheville, NC
  • Bishop Museum - Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Blarney Castle - Ireland
  • British Royal Residences - various locations, UK
  • Buildings built by Frank Lloyd Wright - various locations
  • Burj Al Arab Hotel - Dubai
  • Burj Khalifa - skyscraper in is one of the tallest manmade structures in the world - Dubai
  • Chatsworth House - Derbyshire, UK
  • Chicago Board of Trade - Chicago, IL
  • Chicago Navy Pier - requires a license fee - Chicago, IL
  • Chinese Garden - Vancouver, BC Canada
  • Chrysler Building - allowed only in cityscapes including the Chrysler Building, as long as it is not the primary subject of the photo - New York, NY
  • City of Arts and Sciences - Valencia, Spain
  • CN Tower - allowed only in cityscapes including the CN Tower, as long as it is not the primary subject of the photo - Toronto, Canada
  • Dartmouth College and The Dartmouth Tower - Hanover, NH
  • Disney Properties - including all rides, attractions, pavilions, architecture, and characters - Worldwide
  • Dromoland Castle - Ireland
  • Eiffel Tower Lights - photos taken at night with lights are subjected to copyright laws, and fees for the right to publish must be paid - Paris, France
  • Empire State Building - allowed only in cityscapes including the Empire State Building, not the primary subject of the photo - New York, NY
  • Epcot Center - includes all rides, attractions, pavilions - Orlando, FL
  • Flatiron Building - allowed only in cityscapes including the Flatiron Building, not the primary subject of the photo - New York, NY
  • The Getty, The Getty Center, & The J. Paul Getty Museum - Los Angeles, CA
  • Graceland - Elvis Presley Estate - Memphis, TN
  • Grauman’s Chinese Theatre - Hollywood, CA 
  • Hampton Court Palace, United Kingdom - Interiors and exteriors including gardens are by permit only for commercial use
  • Hearst Castle and San Simeon State Historical Monument - San Simeon, CA
  • Hollywood Sign - Hollywood, CA
  • Hollywood Walk of Fame - Los Angeles, CA
  • International Fountain at Pacific Center - Seattle WA
  • Inukshuk Sculpture - at Expo 86 Vancouver, BC 
  • Kensington Palace, United Kingdom - Interiors and exteriors are by permit only for commercial use
  • Kodak Theater - Los Angeles CA
  • Las Vegas Theme Hotels - all theme hotels located in Las Vegas, and their recognizable parts
  • Legoland - All Properties - UK, USA, Germany
  • London Eye Millennium Wheel - can only be used in cityscapes 
  • London Underground Sign - London, UK
  • Lone Cypress Tree - Pebble Beach, CA
  • Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA
  • Louvre and IM Pei’s Pyramid - Paris France
  • Merlion of Singapore (sculpture is trademarked) - Singapore
  • Milwaukee Art Museum - Milwaukee, WI
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium - Monterey, CA
  • Mount Holyoke College - South Hadley, MA
  • Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration - Mystic, CT
  • National Trust Properties - all properties - UK
  • New Orleans Superdome - New Orleans, LA
  • Newport Mansions - Newport, RI
  • NY Stock Exchange – allowed only in cityscapes as long as it is not the primary subject of the photo - New York, NY
  • Olympic Park 1972 Games - Munich - includes Tower and all other site structures.
  • Olympic Sculpture Park - Seattle, WA
  • The Pacific Exchange, The Mercantile Exchange, etc.- various locations
  • Petrona Towers - Kuala Lumpur
  • Pike Place Market - Both Interior and Exterior - Seattle WA
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame - Cleveland, OH
  • Rockefeller Center - all buildings and sculptures. Allowed only in cityscapes, not the primary subject of the photo - New York NY
  • Rosslyn Chapel (of Da Vinci Code fame) - Scotland, UK
  • Sam Houston Statue - Huntsville TX
  • San Diego Zoo - San Diego CA
  • Sea World - All Properties, rides, attractions, animals - Orlando, San Diego San Antonio
  • Sears Tower - Allowed only in cityscapes - interior, Skydeck itself is restricted, but cityscapes from the Skydeck are ok - Chicago, IL
  • Seattle Space Needle - allowed only in cityscapes, as long as it is not the primary subject of the photo - Seattle, WA
  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Stratford-Upon-Avon UK - all properties, both interiors and exteriors are by paid permit only
  • Singapore Flyer - large wheel passenger amusement ride - Singapore
  • Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museum - Rome, Italy
  • Smithsonian Institution, museums and research centers - Washington, DC
  • Smithsonian’s National Zoological Park - Washington, DC
  • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum - various locations
  • Swan Boats Boston Public Gardens - Boston MA
  • Sydney Opera House - Sydney, Australia
  • Telus World of Science - Vancouver, BC Canada
  • Transamerica Pyramid, as long as it is not the primary subject of the photo - San Francisco CA
  • Tupperware Tower - Orlando, FL
  • Universal Studios -including logos, theme parks attractions, movies, characters or wordmarks - various locations
  • University of British Columbia - Canada
  • Virginia House - Richmond, VA
  • Williamsburg and its reenactment actors/performers - Williamsburg, VA

Artwork & Paintings

Artwork including but not limited to paintings in any medium, art wall posters including those referred to as "Vintage", advertising posters, any sculpture less than 100 years old, architectural art, public or private graffiti, sometimes known as "urban art", figurines such as Lladro or Hummel, or jewelry or craft items you did not make yourself. Classic art, including masters works such as the Mona Lisa, may be under restrictions as determined by the premises owner who displays it. Most museums print restrictions directly on your admission ticket. If no premises admission ticket is charged or given, there may be posted or implied restrictions in effect regarding commercial use of photos.

Art Performance

Images of live stage, dance, music, or street performers cannot be accepted. An unoccupied generic stage shot may be submitted. Note that highly visible performance venues such as Radio City or the Hollywood Bowl may have commercial photography restrictions in place.

Clothing, Handbags & Jewelry

Identifiable designer and manufacturer logos such as in metal adornment or embroidery, signature prints or patterns, or clothing with identifiable branding embellishment are not permitted. Examples include, but are not limited to, Adidas Stripes, Burberry Plaid, Chanel, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Nicole Miller, Nike Swoosh, Ralph Lauren Polo, Reebok, Tommy Hilfiger, Rolex. Detail shots of Blue Jeans pockets should not be submitted as the stitching may be a trademarked design, such as in Levi Strauss.

Common Logos

  • Bell System Telephone Logo (Vintage)
  • Bluetooth Logo
  • DVD Manufacturers Logo
  • Firewire Logo
  • Green Cross - trademark of National Safety Council
  • Green Dot (Grüne Punkt) - often mistaken for a Recycle symbol. The Green Dot is trademarked and a license must be obtained for use
  • Masonic Square and Compass, even if the "G" is removed
  • Red Cross - Red Cross services and also Trademark for Johnson & Johnson. 
  • Red Cross and Red Crescent Emblem - logo for International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • WiFi Logo

Dinnerware & Domestic Items

Dinnerware and table place settings with color designs/borders cannot be accepted due to copyright or trademark on those designs. This includes white-on-white or single color embossed patterns. Cutlery cannot contain any logo, distinctive handle pattern, or brand name. Cut crystal glassware or items such as decanters may include proprietary cutwork patterns, such as Waterford. Table cloths may include prints that fall under trademark or copyright. When shooting food or domestics, ensure that your props are as generic as possible, in plain white or other solid color with no distinctive border, pattern, or print embellishments. In current kitchen appliances, design rights or patents may be in effect.

Currency (Paper)

Flat depictions of paper currency from any country are not allowed. This includes flatbed or drum scans and photographic images. Photo images of paper money that show the full front face with only very slight distortion will be considered flat depictions and will not be accepted. This includes vintage bills which are still considered legal tender.

Electronics (Phone, Cameras, Computers)

Depictions of electronic devices may not contain any manufacturer logos such as Apple, nor may they be in conflict with patent or design rights of manufacturers. Examples include distinctive cell phone cases like Samsung, Motorola Razr, or iPhone. Can also apply to, but is not limited to, distinctive shape of GPS units, or unique component or audio speaker designs. As isolated camera and cell phone images are freely available via manufacturer media outlets for editorial use, and as electronic physical designs become more unique, the value of these images as royalty free stock diminishes. Illustrations which do not infringe on intellectual property rights are welcome.

Food, Candy, and Other Edible Products

  • Ferraro Rocher Candies in wrappers or product box
  • Hershey Kisses
  • Hostess Baked Goods
  • Pez candy and character dispensers
  • Peeps and other Just Born marshmallow candies
  • Sprinkles Cupcakes
  • Swizzels-Matlow Love Hearts candy hearts (
  • Zuckerwaren tradename, branded packaging, kiosks -Germany


United Nations flag, whether on its own or in a composition, cannot be submitted. Royal Standards flags of any country are not permitted.


  • US Presidential Seal
  • US Federal Departments Seals
  • Department of the Treasury Seal
  • Seal of the United States
  • Seal of the Vice President
  • Seal of the United States Senate
  • Seal of the United States House of Representatives
  • Seal of the United States Congress


Road maps, street maps, topographical, and satellite maps cannot be photographed, captured, or scanned from sources such as print road atlases, web portals, or other copyrighted sources. Maps used in an image composition cannot be the the primary or secondary object, but may be integrated in small portions into a complex image composition.

Memorials and Shrines

  • Holocaust Memorial - Berlin
  • Holocaust Museum - Washington DC
  • Korean War Memorial - Washington DC
  • Pearl Harbor - Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Shrine of Remembrance - Melbourne, Australia
  • Vietnam Veteran's Wall - Washington DC
  • Vietnam Women's Memorial - Washington DC

Military Seals and Insignia

US Military Insignias including seals of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and also Squadron IDs, such as Screaming Eagles of the 101st Airborne Division. Common military rank symbols, such as Corporal, Sergeant Rank or other common bar rank designations, are permitted.

Miscellaneous Objects

  • Aspirin -  The word Aspirin cannot appear in either photos or vectors.
  • Emmy Award
  • Golden Globe Award
  • Grammy Award
  • IBS Bibles
  • Oscar Award

Public Domain Images

While images in the Public Domain may be incorporated into submitted art, GL Stock Images will not accept submissions that consist only of a selected public domain image. Example includes Earth images distributed by NASA or direct scans from old typesetters books. The Public Domain image must be altered enough so that it results in a new and distinctive work.

Sports and Mascots

All professional, semi professional, and college sports team logos and mascots are prohibited, such as:

  • Kentucky Derby logos, locations and events.
  • Olympic athletes, logo, torch, and certain award medal likenesses.
  • Professional auto racing – NASCAR, Indy 500, Busch, LeMans, Formula One

Stamps (Postage)

Flat depictions of postage stamps are not permitted unless a bona fide cancellation mark, or good portion of that cancellation mark, is clearly visible on the image portion of the postage stamp.

In the USA, the United States Postal Service holds the copyright for all stamps issued after January 1, 1978. All stamps issued prior to that date are in the Public Domain. For example, The Uncle Sam 32c stamp is copyrighted.

While not a legal document, this can be used as a guide for understanding Stamps and Copyright restrictions

Tattoos & Piercings

There are two concerns with stock images of Tattoos and other Body Art. One is that the tattoo artist owns copyright to the work for original art. The other is a model release concern. A common qualifier for the need of a model release is the following: "If a person can recognize themselves or if that model is recognizable to another person, then a model release is needed." The tattoo or placement may make the model unique. The tattoo artist may recognize his own work if it is a custom design.

For piercings, few plain ball studs may not be a problem, but when it comes to unique/expensive jewelry or multiple piercings in a unique and possibly recognizable array, there could be problems and such images may need to be released. 

Toys and Games

  • Barbie Dolls, a product of Mattel Inc
  • Crayola - all products, logos and name (including vintage Binney & Smith)
  • Disney Characters including fabric and wallpaper scans
  • Fisher Price Brand Toys including Viewmaster and Discs
  • Lego Products
  • Mattel Inc. - all dolls, figures, and other products
  • Monopoly Game
  • Radio Flyer
  • Rubik’s Cube - colored and colorless - all graphic depictions
  • Scrabble - wood tiles with point values
  • Stuffed Toys may not be used as the primary subject in an image. Trade restrictions also apply with images of Gund Bears, Care Bears, and more.


  • Airstream
  • BNSF Railroad
  • Bullet Trains  - Japan, Europe, and high speed Acela in USA
  • Concorde Aircraft, also SST
  • CSX Railroad
  • Ford Mustang Horse - Photos and similar likeness illustrations are not permitted
  • Harley Davidson motorcycles, insignias and products
  • John Deere machinery. The yellow and green color is proprietary
  • LTI Taxi - aka London Black Cab
  • Maid of the Mist Boat Ride, Niagara Falls, both USA & Canada
  • Rolls Royce Car and logo/hood ornament
  • Seattle Monorail

XRays, MRI Scans, Ultrasounds

Images where diagnostics involve human subjects involve privacy issues. Some illustrations may be acceptable.


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