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Thread: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

  1. #1

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    Graham Heron

    Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    Hi all,
    I am arranging a group shoot for my local camera club. TFP basis (time for photos).

    If it were single models, and single photographers, no problem for model release.
    It's a martial arts shoot with three lighting set-ups. As it is a very physical activity, we may have as many as 20 martial artists as models for the 2 hour shoot.
    Along with that we are likely to have 15 photographers.
    If each model had to sign a model release for EACH photographer, that would make 300 sheets. Way too many to handle and it feels unprofessional to me.

    I want to ensure that the martial artists have a right to a certain minimum of images for their own use (non-commercial except for promoting the club) and maintain rights for the photographers.

    Money is an issue so going to a lawyer (the otherwise best option) and paying for a formal contract is likely to be too costly. Any suggestions? If I had to do the lawyer thing, what conditions do you think I need to make sure are covered?

    As a side issue, some of the photographers have expressed an unwillingness to hand over images in the past. A situation that I find difficult to deal with, especially if I am the one arranging the shoots.

    Thanks in advance.
    Graham
    (just trying to help everyone)

  2. #2

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    Have a guess :)

    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice ...

    OK having said that, I would just make up a simple document (no legal-ese) that just says what needs to be said. Something that just outlines what's expected and what's fair and reasonable FOR BOTH PARTIES.

    Nothing annoys me more than a document that's so biased and one-sided that it's nothing short of embarrasing.

    Perhaps something like:

    * The photographers agree to supply each martial artist a minimum of 5 shots

    * The martial artists (get each one to sign it) agree that the photographers can use the shots for non-commercial promotion

    * The photographers agree to act professionally and in good faith (ie not to exploit a "wardrobe malfunction" by posting the shot on facebook, or by touching the models without permission)

    I always feel far more comfortable with documents like this - something that reinforces to them what THEIR rights are - not just a document that covers the photographers but.

  3. #3

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    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    Thanks Colin.
    I see so many threads about the rights of the photographer and the model often seems to be neglected. This is a good start.
    Graham

  4. #4

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    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    There might be a way to reduce the paperwork.
    We have two different things here:
    - the copyright license on the photo's to allow the models and their association to use the photo's (to be signed by each photographer), and
    - the model release so the photographers can publish the photo's for their uses (to be signed by each model, and note that the martial arts
    club might ALSO need a release from each model to publish the photo's...)

    In both cases, those rights can be transferred through representatives, as far as I know. Might that be the solution to reduce the paperwork?
    What I mean is something along the lines of:
    have someone represent the photographers, and have the martial arts club represent the models;
    each photographers signs with their representative, each model signs with the club,
    final contract signed between club and representative.

    If the camera club is willing, they might make a good representative for the photographers (being an independent legal person?)

    When you deliver the photo's, what format are you going to use? Prints are nice for the models, but more difficult to use for publicity.
    Files are easy to use, but less attractive for the models... It's something that might need to be specified in the photographers' contract,
    esp. if some are reluctant to provide pictures (for me that would be a reason to exclude those photographers from the shoot, by the way:
    they get the models' time for free, and would be able to use the photo's, which does represent a value as well)

    Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, and don't know Canadian law, so to be sure ask a local lawyer that knows those laws in case of doubt
    (such advise is not necessarily expensive)

    @Colin: when the photographers start touching the models w/o permission, I don't think you need to worry about the models in this case.
    Better duck fast to avoid the low-flying photographers though

  5. #5

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    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    @Colin: when the photographers start touching the models w/o permission, I don't think you need to worry about the models in this case.
    Better duck fast to avoid the low-flying photographers though
    Good point.

    I'm reminded of several auctions on our national auction site where you can "win a date with a celebrity" - we've had media folks - a Miss Universe NZ etc - and of course there are always a few (quite a few actually) who just have to ask about any "Extras, nudge nudge - wink, wink". So they usually take appropriate precautions (minders etc). One I suspect wasn't too worried though ...

    Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

  6. #6

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    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    Hi Remco, Thanks for the time you put into this.
    So, I'm now currently thinking of a single form detailing (at least in brief) the photographers rights and the the models rights. There will be space for each group to sign (en masse) under the 'martial arts club' and under the 'photographers club'.

    I can pass a copy over to both clubs for prior acceptance. I believe that the liklihood of someone making money out of this is minimal (except in a secondary nature by promoting the clubs). I know a couple of the photographers are concerned that they don't lose commercial rights (why I don't know as they aren't pros and don't sell their images).

    Again, thanks for your imput. This issue is going back and forth between a couple of us in the club. Hasn't been done prior to this, but I think it's necessary to position us as professional. I wouldn't be surprised in the future if we cough up the cash to get actual legal input (at least I hope so).

    Graham

  7. #7

    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    Model release.
    Firstly you don't need the models to sign a release for every tog. You just need one form per model and then you just make copies and give one to each photographer. Remember that most stock photo agencies require a model release because their target audience are going to use the image for commercial purposes but the photographer only submits one form, yet the agency will often sell the same image to multiple clients. Obviously not all the clients get an original form, they only get a copy, which is sufficient to prove that a release exists.

    Secondly you can use the model release to help ensure the togs give copies of the images. basically you keep all the signed releases "to make the necessary copies" and only release them to the tog once they have supplied the images. That means that those who don't supply images won't be able to sell their images for commercial use.

  8. #8

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    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    Dan, gotta say, this is a great idea. Sold on it. Gives me some control over the photographers.
    Graham

  9. #9

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    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    Just to correct something:
    The photographer never needs a model release, it's the publisher that needs a release, and one that covers the use he wants to make of the photo, at that (it's very well possible to forbid publication on facebook, for instance). This also means that if you word the release in such a way, that only the photographer can publish the photos, it still might be worthless.

    Then why do publisher say that the photographer needs to get a release? Because they are lazy , or rather, it's a lot easier to get the release before or during the shoot, than it is to hunt down the model afterwards to get him/her to sign a release (and probably cheaper as well...)

  10. #10

    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    Quote Originally Posted by revi View Post
    Just to correct something:
    The photographer never needs a model release,
    Actually this isn't completely accurate.
    1. The photographer would need a release if they want to use the image to advertise their business in the local paper, etc. Even the copyright holder can't use an image of a person for commercial use (advertising) without their permission, which is given in the form of a model release form.
    2. The photographer "needs" a model release if they want to sell the photos to a stock agency. The agency, in turn, needs it because they want to sell the images to clients that will ultimately need the release in order to use the image for "commercial use". As you pointed out it is unrealistic to expect an end user client to track down a model they don't know, in order to get a release, so the tog needs to get one if they want to sell the image for use in advertising, marketing, promotion.

    it's the publisher that needs a release, and one that covers the use he wants to make of the photo, at that (it's very well possible to forbid publication on facebook, for instance). This also means that if you word the release in such a way, that only the photographer can publish the photos, it still might be worthless.
    You appear to be confusing or combining the model release form with the acceptable usage clause of a license/contract. The two are actually different.

    The following assumes that the photographer is the copyright holder*

    License agreement/acceptable usage clause
    When a photographer takes a photograph they own the copyright in that image. They are free to use the image or license it for others to use. Except in limited circumstances (Fair Use) no other party may use the image without permission of the copyright holder, even if they appear in the photograph. The model has no rights to the photograph unless granted those rights by the copyright holder. Granting rights to other parties is done via a license agreement which will often have a clause which defines the acceptable usage of the image. The copyright holder may decide if the image can be used in print, on the web, on specific sites or used on any site except a specific site. They may grant a model the right to use a photograph in their portfolio and on facebook etc. Any use not specifically granted in the license is automatically prohibited under copyright law. A license of this type is granted by the copyright holder and is signed by them - normally the photographer.

    The copyright holder does not need a model release form in order to display the image in their portfolio or a gallery, sell prints or sell a photobook that contains the image. These uses are considered to be part of the process of artistic expression and as such are not considered "commercial use" (as discussed/defined below). The copyright holder may also sell the image for editorial use, without a model release. Editorial use is protected under freedom of speech, which is also not considered "commercial use" despite both the tog and the publication making money.

    The model release
    The model has no right to the photograph, however they do have a right in regard to their likeness (which is different and separate from the photograph). This right is usually referred to as the right to publicity. It is a specific right to control the use of your likeness for "commercial use". This does not mean commercial exploitation - the uses mentioned above are not considered commercial use, although they do result in the copyright holder making money from the photograph. "Commercial use" is defined as use in advertising, marketing or promoting a product, company or service. This post (http://www.photoattorney.com/?p=64) by Carolyn E. Wright does a good job of explaining commercial vs editorial use. She is an experienced lawyer specialising in IP law relating to photography.

    So, the model can't stop the copyright owner from selling a photograph, nor can they restrict where the photograph is used. All they can do is restrict its use for "commercial use" because it contains their likeness. Given that most stock images are bought by clients who want to be able to make "commercial use" of the image they need the model to grant them the right to use the image for commercial use. This is done with a model release form which is signed by the model, rather than the photographer/copyright holder.

    Obviously it is possible to combine both of the above into a single contract, which would be signed by both parties, but this isn't generally a good idea because the copyright holder will want a stand alone model release to pass on to any third party they sell the image too. They may not want to grant the same usage rights to this third parties that they grant to the model.

    * In specific territories including Canada, New Zealand and Australia and specific circumstances, the photographer is not automatically the copyright holder. Readers should check the law as it relates to their location.

    Disclaimer - I'm not a lawyer and the above isn't legal advise but it is still generally correct
    Last edited by dan marchant; 27th February 2012 at 05:32 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: Camera club shoot and model releases (group to group)

    OK, I shortened things a bit too much perhaps, and tried to err on the safe side (better get an unneeded release, than forget to get one).

    As for photographer/publisher: of course the photographer would need a release when he publishes a photo is such a way that requires a release. But, in that case, he's the publisher (as well as the photographer)...

    As has been said before: if OP needs specific legal advice, he'll have to see a lawyer (and one that knows the relevant laws). Laws differ a lot in different countries (see some of the other threads on CiC), e.g. in France, it is always the photographer that holds the copyright of the image, even if the image was made as a commission. Some rights linked to copyright cannot even be transferred by contract (like attribution).

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