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Thread: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

  1. #1

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    No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    I've heard about DMCA takedown notice, but is that for a photographers image that has been used inappropriately?
    So what would be the route to take to have an image taken down that prominently shows an image of a person (actually a co-worker) where a model release was not signed. The image is up on a US photographers site as stock photography (along with others showing people of prominence in a Central American country) but not in public roles.

    Basically she was asked to pose next to a boat and the pic was taken, no model release or anything. Now she finds it is up on this guys website for sale. Given the status she has in that country, the photo is not appropriate (implying that she is a person of poverty and that could undermine her personal/public status).

    Anyone have advice?

    (A lawyer will probably be approached, but nice to know what question to ask and not look like a total newbie).

    Thanks all,
    Graham

  2. #2
    Administrator Manfred M's Avatar
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Has anyone contacted the photographer and asked him or her to take down the image? That's usually a good place to start.

  3. #3
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    This is a good reference link.
    http://www.danheller.com/model-release-primer.html

    And regarding the scenario you laid out. The photographer has the photo listed as stock photography which means it is available for purchase, which means the photographer needs a model release if it is to be used for commercial purposes and the model can clearly be recognized.

  4. #4

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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Has anyone contacted the photographer and asked him or her to take down the image? That's usually a good place to start.
    E-mail went out to him a few weeks ago, image still up and I've been asked to find out what can be done (apart from going to lawyer which will happen soner or later).
    Graham

  5. #5

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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowman View Post
    This is a good reference link.
    http://www.danheller.com/model-release-primer.html

    And regarding the scenario you laid out. The photographer has the photo listed as stock photography which means it is available for purchase, which means the photographer needs a model release if it is to be used for commercial purposes and the model can clearly be recognized.
    yup, agreed about commercial purpose and the like.
    Is it a good idea to purchase the picture and so we have evidence that it was for sale in the first place?

    Imagine if Obama or Tony Blair or Madonna was photographed next to a strip joint with the caption reading something about 'local visitor to red light district'.
    You can see the sort of image that would present the highly visible, recognisable person in.
    Graham

  6. #6

    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    If the photographer is selling through a stock agency, I think the best course would be to contact the agency. As the deepest pocket in the process, they're pretty careful about legal exposure.

  7. #7
    Brownbear's Avatar
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    For stock photography.. model releases are required for every photo containing a recognizable person... the one exception that I know of is if the photo is for editorial purposes

  8. #8
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post
    yup, agreed about commercial purpose and the like.
    Is it a good idea to purchase the picture and so we have evidence that it was for sale in the first place?

    Imagine if Obama or Tony Blair or Madonna was photographed next to a strip joint with the caption reading something about 'local visitor to red light district'.
    You can see the sort of image that would present the highly visible, recognisable person in.
    Graham
    You should have some evidence of intent to purchase through the website, such as pricing, method of payment. I think a screenshot would be sufficient.

  9. #9

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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    eMails are easy to ignore ... how about a friendly phone call?

  10. #10

    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Sorry folks but selling a photo does not require a model release.

    In those countries where a model release is needed they are only required by the person using the image for commercial use - however commercial in this context does not mean selling, it means using specifically for advertising/promotion/marketing. The photographer can sell the image for editorial use or sell prints. He can even sell the image for use in an advert - but the person/company licensing it would get in trouble if they used it without a release.

    As for stock photo companies they do require a release but this is because they want to sell images for commercial use and because they want to be 100% safe. However many of them sell images that have no model release, but only license them for editorial use. If the photographer is selling the image from his own website then he wouldn't need a release.

  11. #11
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Certainly in the UK Dan is absolutely right. A reasonable proportion of my photographic income is generated by shots of everyday folks in public places for use in editorial contexts, no model releases required and no rights granted regarding use. Apart from anything else it's just not practical to obtain consent in most of the circumstances that I find myself shooting in.

    The only thing I can say is that I or my clients would (in most cases) respect the wishes of someone who got in touch to ask if a photograph containing their image be pulled from a web site. However, many of the photos I sell end up in print media or are distributed via email in newsletters etc., so that's just not possible.

    Cheers,
    A

  12. #12
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Quote Originally Posted by dan marchant View Post
    Sorry folks but selling a photo does not require a model release.

    In those countries where a model release is needed they are only required by the person using the image for commercial use - however commercial in this context does not mean selling, it means using specifically for advertising/promotion/marketing. The photographer can sell the image for editorial use or sell prints. He can even sell the image for use in an advert - but the person/company licensing it would get in trouble if they used it without a release.

    As for stock photo companies they do require a release but this is because they want to sell images for commercial use and because they want to be 100% safe. However many of them sell images that have no model release, but only license them for editorial use. If the photographer is selling the image from his own website then he wouldn't need a release.
    I'm with you on this one Dan, its the photographers intellectual property and the model allowed the photo to be taken (with consent). You may find that a lawyer would be wasting your money. She should have asked more questions before the picture was taken.

  13. #13

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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Well, I've learnt more about the use of model releases than I did before. I was always under the impression that I needed one for anything other than editorial and personal promotion (not for sale).

    Huge amount of info from John (Shadowman) that I still need to take on board.

    The photo was allowed to be taken with consent based on insufficient information, full disclosure was not forthcoming. Surely (one for the lawyers) it is not reasonable for an individual to know ALL the law in ALL circumstances to know the right questions to be asked. As I say, lawyer input required.
    I shall pass on the info.

    Many thanks guys.
    If anything happens, and I find out about it, I shall let you know.
    Graham H

  14. #14
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Here is a good example of what one stock photography agency requires for images and its intended use. Keep in mind, that this relates to this agency only. Others may have different release criteria.

    http://www.istockphoto.com/help/licenses

  15. #15

    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post
    yup, agreed about commercial purpose and the like.
    Is it a good idea to purchase the picture and so we have evidence that it was for sale in the first place?
    As pointed out above, selling the image isn't illegal so you have no evidence of anything.

    Imagine if Obama or Tony Blair or Madonna was photographed next to a strip joint with the caption reading something about 'local visitor to red light district'.
    You can see the sort of image that would present the highly visible, recognisable person in.
    Was Tony Blair standing in that spot when the photo was taken? If so then it is a truthful recording of a moment in time. What you happen to think when you see a photo is entirely up to you and (legally) the photographer isn't responsible for what you think.
    Last edited by dan marchant; 17th October 2012 at 04:21 AM.

  16. #16
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    If a model release was required then the Paparazzi would not exist, Companies like Rex Features have FTP's where registered photographers can upload their images, Rex will then deal with the licensing aspect for publications (Editorial use, newspapers etc).
    Then the photographer will get paid his fee
    Not once in that chain was permission ever granted by the person photographed or even required, As said before you only need consent when it is for commercial/advertising use.
    If i remember correctly i am sure a celebrity picture was used by a website (they photoshopped in their product and used it on their website)
    Needless to say it was soon taken down after the lawyers contacted them

  17. #17

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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Quote Originally Posted by groovesection View Post
    If a model release was required then the Paparazzi would not exist, Companies like Rex Features have FTP's where registered photographers can upload their images, Rex will then deal with the licensing aspect for publications (Editorial use, newspapers etc).
    Then the photographer will get paid his fee
    Not once in that chain was permission ever granted by the person photographed or even required, As said before you only need consent when it is for commercial/advertising use.
    If i remember correctly i am sure a celebrity picture was used by a website (they photoshopped in their product and used it on their website)
    Needless to say it was soon taken down after the lawyers contacted them
    I think "expectation of privacy" comes into it too though. If the pararazzi cut a hole in a 50 foot high concrete wall surrounding a celebs house to "get a shot", I doubt that would be legal.

  18. #18
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    I totally agree with what you posted Colin
    I should have been more thorough with my explanation. Succinct is not always good!

    When i mentioned Paparazzi i was referring to them being in the street, outside certain nightclubs / peoples homes (which is technically in a public place (the street).
    You see these kind of images all the time in Newspapers/Magazines.

    In relation to the original posters dilemma, His friend posed for an image in a public place (naively maybe), but nonetheless i doubt there could be any legal recourse if the photographer is selling that image commercially.
    There was no invasion of privacy, it was shot in a public place and i am afraid there is probably not much she can do to get the photographer to remove that image from his website.
    Good luck with whatever course of action she decides upon, Personally i think appealing to the photographer and explaining the situation is probably the best route to take.
    If you send him an acerbic Email threatening legal action and recourse he may well develop an attitude and simply ignore you, which achieves nothing.
    Try imploring and explaining the situation regarding her role, Be as polite as possible and the photographer may oblige your take down request
    Last edited by groovesection; 21st October 2012 at 03:47 PM. Reason: grammar, or serious lack of

  19. #19
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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamH View Post
    Imagine if Obama or Tony Blair or Madonna was photographed next to a strip joint with the caption reading something about 'local visitor to red light district'.
    Graham
    Actually, because all three of those individuals are, in the US, considered "public" persons, as long as they're in a public place in the US, they have no comeback. That's one of the reasons that nearly all concerts used to prohibit cameras and recorders inside their venues. That's obviously impossible to control any longer with all the cell cameras.

    I'm jes' sayin'....

    virginia

  20. #20

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    Re: No model release - how do you get a photo removed from website

    Well, concert venues are in general private areas, so they have every right to forbid cameras etc., at least here in France. As I understood it, the notion of 'public person'
    has more to do with the 'expectation of privacy', which is (afaik) less effective a defence for a 'public person' than for John Doe (although he's rather well known too).

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