Here's an update on the ridiculous story about Chicago shaking down photographers who take pictures of a sculpture in the Millennium Park, a park that cost the Chicago taxpayers $250 million:
After a considerable amount of speculation on the Web about the copyright on Millennium Park, the Reader's Ben Joravsky offers some explanation in this week's paper as to why security guards are targeting photographers snapping pictures of the Bean and other sculptures in the Park. The city has a license agreement with the artists to be the sole authorized seller of merchandise with Millennium Park images, and that's why they've been targeting professional photographers in the park and stores trying to sell notecards with Bean images on them. The business about the security guards claiming that the whole park was copyrighted? Apparently it's a result of some overly zealous legal language given to security guards to hand out to commercial photographers who want to sell Millennium Park images.But this doesn't explain anything: if this is just the security guards, why then does the press director for the park answer inquiries about it so: "The copyrights for the enhancements in Millennium Park are owned by the artist who created them. As such, anyone reproducing the works, especially for commercial purposes, needs the permission of that artist."