A View from John Maeda

Fruit as IP

When are you allowed to take out a digital camera in a restaurant? I’m no longer sure.

  • October 7, 2007

While traveling in Korea, I encountered this lovely display of melons in a hotel restaurant. As I took out my camera to snap a picture, a person came out to tell me I was not allowed to photograph it. But it was too late. The deed was done.

First of all, I wasn’t sure why I shouldn’t have taken the photo. Was there some kind of intellectual property associated with this arrangement? In an age when cameras are so ubiquitous, to tell someone they can’t take a picture seems a bit odd to me. Especially at a restaurant. I can understand if random people might be standing in the photo; they deserve their privacy. Many museums have given up trying to stop visitors from taking photos of artworks and artifacts. So why this restaurant? Unfortunately, I couldn’t speak the language and now am guilty of some crime. I hope this post absolves me.

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