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The Lone Cypress in Pacific Grove - Copyright Controversy?

Along a short stretch of California Coastline is a 17 mile drive that takes

you though Pebble Beach and the fairly well known golf course and

multi-million dollar homes. It costs several dollars to enter the private

housing area of the wealthy community but is worth the cost at least once or

twice for photographers. Actually a much smaller part of the 17 mile drive

is actually along the coast most of which winds back up the hills above the

Pacific. About mid way down the costal partition is this tree that sits out

on a rock know as "The Lone Cypress". It is fairly famous in the area and

many people take pictures of it. I first saw this tree back in 1984 when

you could still walk out to it. A few years later, vandals tried to light

the tree on fire and did do some damage so you can no longer walk out to the

tree. It has since been fenced off, the limbs secured with cables to help

protect the famous landmark. As a result, the angles of which you can take

pictures of the tree have been limited by the fencing but there is a good

deck for viewing.


Along the fence, there are signs claiming that the tree is actually

copyrighted by the Pebble Beach Association and that no photos, paintings,

drawings or other depictions of the tree can be offered for sale without the

express written permission of the Pebble Beach Association. If you ask me

this is ludicrous and asinine. The tree is part of nature, changes with

each season and I doubt there is a court in the land that would agree that

any natural work of nature can be copyrighted in this manner so I doubt it

is enforceable and the only way they can enforce the copyright is to

threaten very expensive lawsuits which few artists would be able to fight.

At any rate, there are sufficient paintings of this tree, photos, and

drawings for sale on the internet if you really want one. It is a

beautiful tree and during the right season you can get a good sunset shot of

it. Now just to nail down when that is and get myself back down to




© Darvin Atkeson

California Photographer

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Taken on January 28, 2004