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Model release question

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Posts: 416

Model release question

Post Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:44 am

I've been asked to provide a series of images depicting the area to be displayed in a local community theater. I will not be paid for this assignment -- it's my donation to the non-profit entity, though I will be recognized for my work and hope to benefit from the publicity.

When I take photos for this project that include people (i.e.: at local wineries, farmer's market, other community events), will I need to obtain releases from the people I'm photographing before displaying their images in public?

Does your answer change if my photos are printed and made available for sale?

Any help would be appreciated... if you point me to a relevant source of information on the topic, all the better.


Posts: 13

Re: Model release question

Post Wed Feb 23, 2011 1:22 pm

I think ( I say again: think...) that if the photos contain recognizable individuals and are used for commercial purposes, then you need a model release. However, each country has its own set of laws. Better check.

Posts: 25

Re: Model release question

Post Fri Apr 08, 2011 3:08 am

As I understand, there are 2 main types of usage, COMMERCIAL and EDITORIAL. (there are probably more!)
A model release is definitely needed for commercial work.
Simply put, this is where an image is going to be use to advertise/sell a product or service.
Editorial examples include images being used for newspapers, bochures, club/group/association magazines.
Again, basically a use that is informative rather than actually selling a product or service.
For this use, as I understand, there is no need for a model release.
Goggle "editorial" and research it more.
If you know the people in the photo(s), it might be an idea just to run it by them.


Posts: 8
Location: Bedminster NJ USA

Re: Model release question

Post Sun Apr 10, 2011 7:22 am

First some info the model release (MR) if you deem it necessary to use one:
1. A MR defines what the photographer and subject have agreed. For this reason alone it is valuable. It makes explicit the responsibilities and obligation of each party and this reduces disagreements later.
2. A MR is unnecessary unless unless there will be commercial use. But note. It will not be the photographer that is sued if a problem arises but the publisher of image, e.g. magazine, advertiser, etc. Furthermore a third party, like a magazine, intends to use an image submitted to them they will not do so unless it is accompanied by a model release - this protects them legally from a law suit - they want to verify that the third party submitting the image has the license from the copyright holder to do so.
3. If the images is to be used for editorial purposes no model release is necessary.
4. If the image is to be displayed in a gallery or other venue and is not for sale then no model release is necessary.
5. A caveat to all this is if the image is used in an illegal or slanderous fashion a model release will not be a valid defense in a court of law.
6. Read the US copyright law pertaining to photographic images and prints. If you take the pic you automatically have the copyright of the image unless you have transferred it to another party (via a contract).

Posts: 41

Re: Model release question

Post Sat Jul 02, 2011 3:59 pm

Basically, you do not need an MR to take or sell photos. It is the person that publishes (displays for commercial purposes) images that has the responsibility to decide whether an MR is necessary, and whether to obtain an MR from the subject person(s).

Basically, a publisher can display for commercial purpose any image with or without an MR. If the image is taken in a public place (not a theatre nor private property, nor prying into private property from a pubklic place), then no MR is necessary.

If the image has a subject that appears in any way to be posing for the photo, or is degrading, whether in a public place or not, then the publisher will rerquest an MR for his own protection.
If the publisher is challenged for displaying an image then it is the publishers responsibility for securing MR, not the photographer.

If the photographer wants his images to be published, and the image is posed, private place, or degrading someone, or put upp for sale on microstock site(s) , then the photographer would be wise to secure MR and abide by publishers requirements.

Thus: images depicting the area and taken in public places, markets, etc, to be displayed in a local community theater do not need MR's.
Thus: images depicting people going about there employement or business on their own property will need to be asked for their approval to be photographed when the images is primarily focused on their personages or activities, and an MR is best obtained.

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