Model Release to sell print in Germany

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by marciofs, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    In Ireland and England I didn't need to get release from models.
    But I know in Most countries it is needed, but not for selling prints as art.

    But in the street photography thread they were saying that any kind of publication and print needs the models' release it doesn't matter the purpose (I wonder it works in journalism).

    My question is: Do I have to collect release from models In Germany in order to sell my prints? Buyer or even the government ask for it? Can models' sue me eventually for selling prints without release?
     
  2. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Are you making a living out of these pictures?
     
  3. Noble

    Noble Member

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    I have never lived in Germany but in the countries where I have lived you don't need model releases for editorial work (newspaper, textbook, evening news, etc). I don't think any company in their right mind in Ireland or England would use a non model released image for an advertising campaign.

    There has been much chatter on the internet about privacy laws in Germany. I am not a lawyer and it's been years since I've visited Germany. Here is someone discussing the topic. Up to you whether you trust that source.
     
  4. ath

    ath Member

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    No. But since the models can sue you it's better to have one.

    Probably not. Maybe a judge...

    Yes.

    Look up the german "Kunsturhebergesetz" (http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recht_am_eigenen_Bild).
     
  5. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    I can't answer for Germany, or for selling prints, and my knowledge is only from a Journalist's concern; in the U.S. if it is something/someone that can be seen from the street (public spaces), a release should not be necessary. This may not apply to children. I don't image Germany would be terribly different.

    Modeling isn't the same as people in a public space, even if the photos are in public. Since they are presumably doing it for a fee or other compensation (portfolio material), I'd think the release should be part of the contract. Even if they model for free, being a model is a job/career, so I'd think a release would be appropriate.
     
  6. AgX

    AgX Member

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    Truzi, it is different in Germany (and other countries).
     
  7. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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  8. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Any release should, in the first place, be in a language that both parties to the release are proficient in.
     
  9. AgX

    AgX Member

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    You want to do business. Part of that is to adapt to the environment you want to do business in. Getting legal issues right is part of any business too.
    Maybe I sound harsh but some issues you referred to so far are just the kind of homework one has to do.
     
  10. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Ok. Thank you.

    Well I am studding German. And I just sell prints that's all.

    And my questions here are my homework. I don't know where else to ask. Who else I ask out there nobody knows nothing about.

    Since here is a international comunity about photography I thought I could do my homework here.
     
  11. ath

    ath Member

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    OK, I'm rude now.
    Do your homework. If you don't understand german get a lawyer to translate it for you. I directed you to the relevant law and I'm sure there's english information on the web about this law.

    Or simply just don't sell your prints.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2013
  12. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    Sorry, I didn't mean offend people.
    No more question then.

    Thank you for the link.
     
  13. batwister

    batwister Member

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    When you say 'models', do you mean people you've actually hired to photograph? Because that's what 'model' means. If so, they have at the very least verbally consented and the proof that they have consented is in the picture - the fact that they have posed for your camera. The only case they have against you is "HE MADE ME LOOK UGLY!!!", which admittedly, is a very timely problem for photographers, but definitely still recognised as nonsense by lawyers :smile: ... as of 2013.

    If you're talking about 'candid' photographs in the street, completely different story. And in which case, who are you selling the prints to? Galleries? Directly to other people? Regardless, assuming you aren't intentionally photographing subjects doing something criminal and assuming you aren't doing something criminal to get (or in distributing) the pictures, and assuming you haven't aggressively invaded people's personal space (to their distress illustrated in the picture, but this is still ambiguous in the court), nobody has a case against you. With that understood, 'selling prints' to the public or galleries puts the images safely in the realm of art. This is all common sense and I'm sure the law in Germany respects it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 14, 2013
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  15. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi marciofs,

    I put the text from link in Google translate and I was able to get most of it. You can additionally print German and translated version of Wikipedia article and analyze it with you colleagues at university. I know that here in Germany they are more sensitive to privacy than in other countries (just look on Google maps - so many blurred places, more than in any other country).

    little of topic:
    About not speaking German - this is problem that you should work on it: I am not German, I lived as ex-pat (and still do) in many countries and I have find out that in Germany this is a problem. I expected that in Germany everybody will speak some English (at least younger generation). In telecom shop where you buy sim card, in center of Hamburg - I got "no English", on some big multinational company helpdesks when I asked "do you speak english" - they were hanging up to me...not to mention some local shops. My German is not on zero level, so I was able to manage somehow on German. But this is a problem. You can get 600 hours of German lessons for price of 1 hour =1 euro, supported by government, make some inquiries about it if you did not already.

    regards,
     
  16. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Here is another point that I have no idea how it relates to Germany.

    Even if you aren't required by law to get a release, it doesn't stop anyone from filing a suit. Whether they are successful or not is beside the point, it will cost you money to go to court. Best to cover all your bases.
     
  17. batwister

    batwister Member

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    This discussion could only happen on the net, because it's fueled by paranoia. Come on guys, self-fulfilling prophecies and all.
     
  18. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    When I say models I am referring to people who I have hired or trade to be part of a photo shoot project.
    And my intention is to make it available to people buy direct from me, contacting me from my website, in PODs and helpfully in galleries and action houses eventually.
    Never for commercial work like brand or product advertise.

    I do street photographs but they are not what I want to sell.

    Thank you very much. I will try it.

    I actually did a intensive A1 curse. I passed to next level but since I have a surgery to take two wase theeth in two weeks, and it will be a complicated one. I thought on continuous the next level on the German curse after the surgery.
    It means I can say some things, understand a bit others and have some simple basic short talk, but no more than it.

    Thank you again.

    You are right. But since in Ireland I wasn't used to get model release (because I know there is not required and is like Batwister described), and because I have a folder full of papers already, I though it would make my life more organised if I didn't have to collect more papers for the rest of my life.

    But I will follow your suggestion to get a release from each model I photograph from now on. Because even if I never use them it still is a guarantee I have just in case.

    Thank all.
     
  19. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    A release is an excellent idea for another reason. It makes clear to the "model" that their image may be used commercially/shared publicly.

    A "professional" model will understand that and be aware of the consequences to them. Someone who isn't knowledgeable about the use of photographs might not have thought it through.

    It is much, much better to have someone change their mind about you photographing them before you take a photograph than to have them upset and angry afterwards.
     
  20. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    I am always very clear how I will use the image. There is no way they can't tell I want sell them. I even cast models through the same website I sell the photos and I offer a payment to models I have traded if I sell a photo of them in one year time from the shoot date. I actually ask models if I can give their social media profiles to new models so they can say how safe, honest and fun is to work with me.

    But I will collect releases from now on.
     
  21. Truzi

    Truzi Subscriber

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    Most of the time you will be fine, but once in a while someone may cause trouble for you. It's better to be protected.
    C.Y.A. - Cover Your Ass.
     
  22. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    A bit off topic now, about photos of people without their consent like in street photo or even models who may claim they didn't know how the photo would be used I found this interisting in the text. This is a plug-in translation so it is not perfect clear. It seems to be allowed to sell photos of people as art. I am not sure if I got it wrong:

    Does it means that if it is considered work of art it is ok to publish or even sell? Or I got it wrong?

    PS: No, I don't plan to sell or publish street photographs. I just got curious. :smile:
     
  23. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    That's a really rough translation, so if you're seriously concerned, I would speak to a German intellectual property/copyright lawyer about this to get clarification. But it sounds similar in principle to the law here in the US - if someone is in public, performing a public action, they have no expectation of privacy and you don't need their permission to photograph them. You don't need a model release even if the person is recognizable so long as the work is not being used for commercial purposes. Commercial purposes can be generally understood to mean for the purpose of advertising or endorsing a product or service. So publication in a catalog of photos or exhibition and sale in an art gallery would not require a model release. Putting that photo on a can of Maxwell House coffee, or on a billboard for Joe's Car Repair, would require the release. The German law sounds a little more restrictive, and a little more specific as to the conditions, but not radically different. I'd talk to an expert in local law who knows for sure what the law means and knows case history as to how it has been interpreted. There is probably an organization somewhere in your state, if not a national one, where lawyers who specialize in this kind of law will provide free or inexpensive consultations for artists. Look them up and get advice there. Otherwise, the legal advice you get from an internet chat forum is worth exactly what you paid for it.
     
  24. marciofs

    marciofs Member

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    I am serious broken no with the surgery I have to do and moving. But as soon as I get some spare money (if I get) I will check it with a lawyer.
     
  25. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    {My emphasis}

    +1

    With the exception of the un-highlighted advice, which is very valuable!
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    As I said, while I don't know of anyone specific in your area, I would be surprised if there were not a FREE legal advocacy group for artists in Germany that would have a lawyer who could answer this question for you, or maybe even have a pamphlet or guide that discusses this, because it would be a very common question. Or perhaps there is a professional association for photographers in Germany that would be willing to explain something like this, also for free. Here in the US we have the ASMP (American Society for Media Professionals, nee American Society of Magazine Photographers). I would be shocked if there isn't a DSMP equivalent. I'd post an inquiry about such organizations over on APHOG.de to see if someone can refer you to the proper groups.