". . . but we are addressing my clients personal property. . . . "
Yes, those facts make related actions worse.
I will give plenty of background information (for your reference) and comment at the end.
Source of Copyright Rights
17 USC § 106 - Exclusive rights in copyrighted works
Subject to sections 107 through 122, the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:
(1) to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords;
(2) to prepare derivative works
based upon the copyrighted work;
(3) to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
(4) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly;
(5) in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
(6) in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.
Also note this case: In 1834, the Supreme Court, in Wheaton v. Peters, acknowledged that the author of an unpublished work had a common law right to control the first publication.
Further note that the scope of the “fair use
” exception is narrower for unpublished works because an author has the right to control the first public appearance of his or her expression.
Thus, unpublished works enjoy more protections than public works.
Comments about Copyright Act Section 106: General Scope of Copyright.
Section 106 of The Copyright Act gives five fundamental rights to copyright owners --- the exclusive rights of/to:
(4) performance, and
Rights of Reproduction, Adaptation, and Publication
The above enumerated exclusive rights provided by US copyright law, though closely related, are independent; they can generally be characterized as rights of copying, recording, adaptation, and publishing.
While a single act of infringement may violate all of these rights at once, Infringement takes place when any one of the rights is violated.
Read together with the relevant definitions in section 101, the right “to reproduce the copyrighted work in copies or phonorecords” means the right to produce a material object in which the work is duplicated, transcribed, imitated, or simulated in a fixed form from which it can be “perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”
As under the present law, a copyrighted work would be infringed by reproducing it in whole or in any substantial part, and by duplicating it exactly or by imitation or simulation. Wide departures or variations from the copyrighted work would still be an infringement as long as the author’s “expression” rather than merely the author’s “ideas” are taken. An exception to this general principle, applicable to the reproduction of copyrighted sound recordings, is specified in section 114.
Clause (3) of section 106 establishes the exclusive right of publication: The right “to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending.”
Under this provision the copyright owner would have the right to control the first public distribution of an authorized copy or phonorecord of his work, whether by sale, gift, loan, or some rental or lease arrangement. Likewise, any unauthorized public distribution of copies or phonorecords that were unlawfully made would be an infringement. As section 109 makes clear, however, the copyright owner’s rights under section 106 (3) cease with respect to a particular copy or phonorecord once he has parted with ownership of it.
Right of Public Display.
Clause (5) of section 106 represents the first explicit statutory recognition in American copyright law of an exclusive right to show a copyrighted work, or an image of it, to the public.
The corresponding definition of “display” covers any showing of a “copy” of the work, “either directly or by means of a film, slide, television image, or any other device or process.”
Since “copies” are defined as including the material object “in which the work is first fixed,” the right of public display applies to original works of art as well as to reproductions of them.
In addition to the direct showings of a copy of a work, “display” would include the projection of an image on a screen or other surface by any method, the transmission of an image by electronic or other means, and the showing of an image on a cathode ray tube, or similar viewing apparatus connected with any sort of information storage and retrieval system.
Yes, her actions of photographing the works you describe would likely be a copyright infringement
of at least the exclusive right of (1) reproduction, (3) publication, and (5) display (as numbered above).