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Thread: Model Release Form

  1. #1

    Model Release Form

    I searched the forum for this subject and did not find enough info to settle my curiosity as I was wondering what types of cituations would one want to get these forms signed and also where would you get such a form from if needed? Would I need one to post a portrait of my friends daughter for C & C? He has said it was okay with him as I have already asked. Would I need one signed for street photography for each person in the picture?

  2. #2
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Model Release Form

    Hey ho! –

    What a great question and I bet you might get some really interesting opinions . . .

    ***

    The use, application and requirement for Model Release Forms, varies between jurisdictions: mainly different Countries, but sometimes within Countries, that Country's States, Territories, Commonwealths or Protectorates, may have different local requirements and legislations.

    If you want to know the legal ins and outs of Model Releases - then consult a Lawyer or one of the Professional Photography Associations in the USA, is my advice to you.


    ***


    That said - if I were you and even if I lived in the USA and I took the photos in the USA, my not in any way legal advice answer to your two questions, are:

    NO - not of your friend’s child, if it is posted for critique or even if it is posted not for critique (and it is not considered to be violating the child’s privacy) that last bit should be obvious.
    and

    NO – not any person in a street photo if the photo is used for critique; or artistic purposes; just to show your photography skills; and the image is not posted for commercial use and not for an endorsement of any product - and . . . (it is not considered to be violating the person’s privacy) that last bit, again should be obvious.

    ***

    Now there might be some local rules here at CiC – but I don’t know those rules, because I have never looked because I have always believed that CiC is the mostest very logical Forum on Earth: and that CiC has the greatest deal of “Most Common Sense” – much more than any other forum, which I have ever attended.


    Just to put my money where my mouth is:

    A Candid Portrait Photo of a Minor posted here without a Model Release:
    Model Release Form
    “Pensive”
    5D + EF100F/2.8Macro
    F/2.8 @ 1/8s @ ISO1600 HH, Spot Meter, Manual Mode, Available Light - (Room Light single low volt spot).

    A street photo posted here without a Model Release:
    Model Release Form
    "Photograper & Assistant" (Water Colour)
    5D 135L F/2 @ 1/30s @ ISO1600; HH; Spot Meter; Manual Mode; Available Light (Street Light Night-time).


    The disclaimer is: the above is not legal advice, but rather my considered opinion upon my general understanding of US law and how likely it is some would lodge a suit against me - and my assumption also, that you are in the USA.

    But hey! no disrespect meant: but it appears to me, just by regularly reading credible news sources - people sue for almost anything, in the USA.


    WW
    Last edited by William W; 3rd April 2012 at 03:27 AM.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Model Release Form

    Carl

    Sorry you couldn't find anything useful enough elsewhere in the forum. The subject has been the subject of discussion in the past and I think some folk have even exchanged release forms. I'm sure someone like Colin who, I believe uses the all the time, would be happy to advise. But, as Bill suggests, there may be particular local circumstances that need to be taken into account.

    In general terms, as I understand it, you cannot copyright your face. So street photography is fine. If you are out and about in a public place, then you can be photographed.

    As far as photographing a child or young person is concerned, the matter of consent may well be influenced by local legislation. For example, in Scotland we have a thing called the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991. This was brought into force to address issues of capacity to consent medical treatment, but its principles have been applied across all areas pertaining to children. The principle, basically, is that if a child is of an age whereby they can give informed consent, then their consent must be sought and it over-rides any giving or withholding of consent by a parent or guardian. The age of legal capacity is presumed to be 12, but it if for the person seeking the consent to make a 'reasonable judgement' as to capacity (and that 'reasonable judgement' is an allowable defence).

    So, if a parent tells you he/she wants a photograph of their 12 year-old child and that child then refuses consent, but you go ahead on the basis of the parental consent, you would both be breaking the law and be liable to a civil action raised by the child (notwithstanding that the child probably wouldn't be co-operating anyway!).

  4. #4

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    Re: Model Release Form

    The law is kinda nice here in Sweden.. only 2 rules.. if it makes money.. u need a MRF... if not.. no MRF

    and when i say "makes money" i mean if the image is to be used in an ad for example.. the owner of the ad needs a MRF.. not me as a photographer.. but.. if i try to sell a image whiteout a MRF.. they will probably look for another photographer..

    but for any other use of the image.. posting online, print out 2*2 m galery art.. even if it is of i minor.. i dont need a MRF.. or consent.. i can do what ever i want whit the picture..

  5. #5

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    Would I need one to post a portrait of my friends daughter for C & C? He has said it was okay with him as I have already asked. Would I need one signed for street photography for each person in the picture?
    No and no.

    A model release form is only needed when an image is used for commercial purposes. The definition of commercial use is for advertising, promotion or marketing of a business, service or product. Selling a photograph as a print does not constitute commercial use.

    This means you can display the images online at a site like this. You can license the photo for use in a newspaper and you can sell prints or display them in a gallery; all without a model release form. If you license an image to a company and they want to use it in an advert or on their business website they will need a model release form. As it is unrealistic for a company like this to go off and track down the person in the photo they will normally only license an image if the photographer has already got the person to sign a model release which they can supply to the company. Getting a model release is especially important if you want to shoot stock images as their clients mainly want to use the images for their business websites and so a release is essential.

  6. #6
    Ady's Avatar
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    Re: Model Release Form

    In the UK 'editorial use' also doesn't require a release. So even if the images are being used by a business there is no requirement for a release if the image is being used in an editorial context. I supply a number of businesses and public organisations with street photography images for editorial use, primarily for illustrating news stories or other information of public interest. Though it is worth making sure the customer is aware of the limitations of use and getting that understanding in writing, usually as part of the contract to supply images or for the shoot if they have commissioned the work.

  7. #7
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    Re: Model Release Form

    Here are some of the wall tips which are the way I conduct my photography but, which are not legal advice...

    If I were considering using the individual's image for profit (in any way) I would want a model release.

    I usually get model releases from the prospective models whom I shoot even though I don't expect to profit from these images. That is just a safety factor.

    Normally street photography in most USA venues doesn't require a model release because the subjects have no expectation of privacy.

    However, a person on his/her own property (yard, house steps, doorway, open window, etc.) could have expectations of privacy.

    There is something that I personally feel strongly about, although it is not written in the law. I don't like to take or display photos which could embarrass a person or ones that take advantage of that persons status in life.

    An example of an image which is perfectly legal to use but I have not displayed, due to possible embarrassment, was shot at our Scottish Highland Games which we have every year in Vista, California. It was of a Scot wearing kilts bending over with his underdraws showing. If they had been athletic shorts of some type I would not have minded and would have thought that the image was funny in the "What does a Scotsman wear under his kilts vein?" But i am sure that this man did not plan to expose his white jockey shorts and I was not going to display his mistake.

    An example of not taking advantage of a persons status in life are images of the homeless. There are many homeless people in some parts of San Diego County and I will admit that many of them are quite photogenic. I just don't feel right shooting these people like I would shoot animals in the zoo...

    Those are just my personal feelings...

  8. #8

    Re: Model Release Form

    But hey! no disrespect meant: but it appears to me, just by regularly reading credible news sources - people sue for almost anything, in the USA.


    WW[/QUOTE]

    Thank you for your reply Bill!

    No disrepect taken. And yes people here in the USA sue like crazy, of which I am very ashamed to see my country earn such a reputation like that, and thus my question. Where does the blame start and with whom does it end? Some folks end up having to sue because they have no other alternative, medical bills is one major reason those I can understand along with a few others. But when some adult, because of poor judgement on their part causes themselves injury with someone elses product and then wants to sue...well it should be a no brainer.

  9. #9

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Carl

    Sorry you couldn't find anything useful enough elsewhere in the forum. The subject has been the subject of discussion in the past and I think some folk have even exchanged release forms. I'm sure someone like Colin who, I believe uses the all the time, would be happy to advise. But, as Bill suggests, there may be particular local circumstances that need to be taken into account.

    In general terms, as I understand it, you cannot copyright your face. So street photography is fine. If you are out and about in a public place, then you can be photographed.

    As far as photographing a child or young person is concerned, the matter of consent may well be influenced by local legislation. For example, in Scotland we have a thing called the Age of Legal Capacity (Scotland) Act 1991. This was brought into force to address issues of capacity to consent medical treatment, but its principles have been applied across all areas pertaining to children. The principle, basically, is that if a child is of an age whereby they can give informed consent, then their consent must be sought and it over-rides any giving or withholding of consent by a parent or guardian. The age of legal capacity is presumed to be 12, but it if for the person seeking the consent to make a 'reasonable judgement' as to capacity (and that 'reasonable judgement' is an allowable defence).

    So, if a parent tells you he/she wants a photograph of their 12 year-old child and that child then refuses consent, but you go ahead on the basis of the parental consent, you would both be breaking the law and be liable to a civil action raised by the child (notwithstanding that the child probably wouldn't be co-operating anyway!).
    Thank you Donald,
    It's not the forums fault at all it seems I have asked a question, as has been stated, will take a lawyer or someone local to give an educated answer. I had no idea it was so comlicated and being from the state I am in it may be best to ask a lawyer.

    I am not traveling any time in the near future but there may be some that this thread has helped or will help. I find it very interesting of how many different post it has recieved and countries it has been received from, I like that. It has been a learning experience and I hope many others will chime in from their locations. When I find out something solid I will post it for anyone interested.

  10. #10

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by rosenberg View Post
    The law is kinda nice here in Sweden.. only 2 rules.. if it makes money.. u need a MRF... if not.. no MRF

    and when i say "makes money" i mean if the image is to be used in an ad for example.. the owner of the ad needs a MRF.. not me as a photographer.. but.. if i try to sell a image whiteout a MRF.. they will probably look for another photographer..

    but for any other use of the image.. posting online, print out 2*2 m galery art.. even if it is of i minor.. i dont need a MRF.. or consent.. i can do what ever i want whit the picture..
    Those seem like simple and straightforward rules and very easy to comply with. Thank You for posting Rosenburg.

  11. #11

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by dan marchant View Post
    No and no.

    A model release form is only needed when an image is used for commercial purposes. The definition of commercial use is for advertising, promotion or marketing of a business, service or product. Selling a photograph as a print does not constitute commercial use.

    This means you can display the images online at a site like this. You can license the photo for use in a newspaper and you can sell prints or display them in a gallery; all without a model release form. If you license an image to a company and they want to use it in an advert or on their business website they will need a model release form. As it is unrealistic for a company like this to go off and track down the person in the photo they will normally only license an image if the photographer has already got the person to sign a model release which they can supply to the company. Getting a model release is especially important if you want to shoot stock images as their clients mainly want to use the images for their business websites and so a release is essential.
    Thank you Dan,

    May I ask where are you located state/country you seem to know exactly what is needed from your answer. My only other question would be will it apply to the state/country I am in.

  12. #12

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by Ady View Post
    In the UK 'editorial use' also doesn't require a release. So even if the images are being used by a business there is no requirement for a release if the image is being used in an editorial context. I supply a number of businesses and public organisations with street photography images for editorial use, primarily for illustrating news stories or other information of public interest. Though it is worth making sure the customer is aware of the limitations of use and getting that understanding in writing, usually as part of the contract to supply images or for the shoot if they have commissioned the work.
    Thank you Adrian for your reply.

  13. #13

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post

    There is something that I personally feel strongly about, although it is not written in the law. I don't like to take or display photos which could embarrass a person or ones that take advantage of that persons status in life.

    .
    We think alike on that point sir! It comes from a strong upbringing and with Godly morals. Thank you for your reply Richard. On the homeless if any money was to be made from the photo and all proceeds went back to the homeless thru food kitchens blankets for winter something that would give back some quality of life, then I would not mind that one. But I think that a MRF would be most respectful to obtain along with an explanation of intentions should such picture turn a profit. But I know not everyone is honest, if I did make a deal like that then the way I was brought up would kick in "a mans word is as good as a written contract", not so now a days. Also knowing I would have to give an account to God one day would also keep me in line.

  14. #14
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Model Release Form

    On the other hand...
    Although I did not, I would have had no qualms photographing people involved the sit-in or live-in demonstrations which have occurred in many cities throughout the world. I would think that joing such a demonstration would give a photographer defacto permission to photograph the perticipants. In fact, I think that they would want to be photographed.

  15. #15

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    On the other hand...
    Although I did not, I would have had no qualms photographing people involved the sit-in or live-in demonstrations which have occurred in many cities throughout the world. I would think that joing such a demonstration would give a photographer defacto permission to photograph the perticipants. In fact, I think that they would want to be photographed.
    Yes, Some folks have no shame! I think their photos should be on every street corner. How did they make a living during that time I would like to know. Did it come out of the tax payers pocket?

  16. #16

    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    However, a person on his/her own property (yard, house steps, doorway, open window, etc.) could have expectations of privacy.
    This is only true if they can't normally be seen from a public place. Just being on private property does not mean a person would (legally) have any more expectation of privacy than they would in a public street. You would have an expectation of privacy if there was a high wall and a tog had to climb a ladder to photograph you or push their camera through a thick hedge.... but if you are just standing in your front yard, with a low picket fence between you and the tog then there would be no expectation of privacy. Shop changing rooms, public/restaurant toilets, your bedroom etc are places where you would normally have an expectation of privacy.

  17. #17
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by dan marchant View Post
    No and no.

    A model release form is only needed when an image is used for commercial purposes. The definition of commercial use is for advertising, promotion or marketing of a business, service or product. Selling a photograph as a print does not constitute commercial use.

    This means you can display the images online at a site like this. You can license the photo for use in a newspaper and you can sell prints or display them in a gallery; all without a model release form. If you license an image to a company and they want to use it in an advert or on their business website they will need a model release form. As it is unrealistic for a company like this to go off and track down the person in the photo they will normally only license an image if the photographer has already got the person to sign a model release which they can supply to the company. Getting a model release is especially important if you want to shoot stock images as their clients mainly want to use the images for their business websites and so a release is essential.
    I find this very useful; most of my better images have people in them and until now I thought I wasn't allowed to sell them. They were taken on private property but nowhere do have rules about photography.

    This one is taken from a public crossing, and at 13 x 9 the girl is easy to identify.

    Model Release Form

  18. #18
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    Re: Model Release Form

    RE MRF's for profit photos:
    If I use a photo for the purpose of demonstrating my photography on my web site, does this require a MRF?
    The photo itself is not being sold.

    Any references for a standard MRF? I guess I could write my own...

  19. #19

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    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by speedneeder View Post
    Any references for a standard MRF? I guess I could write my own...
    I did, but I don't know how many loopholes are in it.

    As a rule I hate releases that totally screw-over the other party - so I just wrote a "plain English" one that forms the basis of understanding between us ie

    - Payment is due when the job is complete

    - You can't use the images until they're paid for

    - I can use a small selection of them for self-promotion

    - If you change them significantly, keep my name away from them!

    - If you do anything illegal, I'm absolved

  20. #20
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    Re: Model Release Form

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl in Louisiana View Post
    I searched the forum for this subject and did not find enough info to settle my curiosity as I was wondering what types of cituations would one want to get these forms signed and also where would you get such a form from if needed? Would I need one to post a portrait of my friends daughter for C & C? He has said it was okay with him as I have already asked. Would I need one signed for street photography for each person in the picture?
    Not sure which tag you searched under but most of the dialogue on model releases was under the term copyright laws.

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