Model Releases & Shooting in Public...

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by RebeccaSC, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. RebeccaSC

    RebeccaSC Member

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    Model Release/shooting in Public
    My favourite is taking pictures of the every day all around me. Obviously members of the public find themselves in my frame. If I'm looking to sell this photos through a stock agency etc am I meant to have a signed release form?
    Surely its ok to exhibit/sell work of pictures of everyday people?

    When do you need a model release form then?

    Many thanks

    Rebecca

    http://www.rebecca-sichelcoates.com
     
  2. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Normally if an image is going to be used for commercial purposes you will normally be required to have a model release for any recognizable person, and often times for many different types of building or locations.

    This is just generalized, laws vary by state and country.

    Dave
     
  3. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Morning, Rebecca,

    While the prevailing opinion is that editorial use normally requires no release, there are apparently exceptions. One reason that I decided to quit working with a stock agency is that I didn't want to risk possible litigation from someone who, by chance, happened to appear in one of my images. I often made a conscious effort to be sure that no one showed up in my shots, and I knew that the chance of a problem was small, but the potential hassle came to outweigh the limited rewards involved in occasional stock sales.

    Konical
     
  4. haris

    haris Guest

    I belive it is time for for photographers to seriously think about next:

    Photographers should make pressure throught professional and/or amateur organisations to establish rule that publisher or stock agency must provide model release form. In this case, stock agency must get model release form for every photograph they sell. After all, they are ones on whom photographer transfer some rights when they take photographs and offer it to sell, and they also earn from that photograph. So they should get involved in some legal issues.

    Second, agencies and other institutions or firms have more chance (more money) than individual photographer to win court cases regarding model release forms.

    We don't want to be in situation where street photography or like will dissapear from market, because photographer can't get model release form for every recognizable person in photograph, or don't have money for court cases if they appear on courts...

    I am not talking to avoiding privacy rules and avoiding need for model release form, I am talking about situation if which photographer don't have to be in troubles when make photographs which are in "grey legal" areas. Of course for model posing shootings, photographer must (and easily can) provide model release form, but for photography like street photography especially if commersial use of photograph is through stock agency or some publisher, agency or publisher should be those who should deal with legal issues, not photographer.

    Regards.
     
  5. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    To obtain a model release from people in the street while doing "street photography" would prohibit "street photography" from ever being done! To use in a journalistic manner or for article or book illustration or gallery shows and sales I personally do not believe it is necessary and do not do it...

    Case in point Lee Friendlander- thousands and thousands of street photographs, sold in gallerys and used in books...no model release...

    Newsweek photographer was sued a few years back for a cover shot of a young professional man with briefcase walking across a down town Chicago street...the mans identity was not given the photo did illustrate the feature story and the man was identifiable....the photographer and the magazine won the case...

    Diane Arbus took many street photos which have sold for thousands of dollars, however on at least some of her photos taken in private residences and at parties she did obtain a release...one famous photo is of the twins...a parent did sign the release....

    You can have a release and still be in hot water, about 5or 6 years ago a well known lady wedding photographer was successfully sued by a couple after they saw their wedding photo used by a retail store (like Wmart etc) to sell picture frames....they were the filler photo inside the frame....they had signed the release with the photographer....the photographer lost this case...

    So I just don t know....If I were to take a photo of say a child that I felt was an outstanding photograph I would get the release of course...case in point....
    Howard Schatz's wonderful book on Redheads.....for several years whenever he saw an outstanding redhead, he would tell them of his ongoing project and possible book publication and get a release and ask permission...
     
  6. blaze-on

    blaze-on Member

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    Personal stuff non-commercial applications-No release.

    Sell to stock agency or any commercial use where it may be in a brochure or other marketing material or website other than yours - definitely.
     
  7. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

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    With no intent to diminish your point, but wasn't there a very specific issue associated with this lawsuit. I seem to recall that the story was about "up and coming black Americans in business" and the man in the photograph, a black Wall Street (I seem to recall, but maybe it was Chicago) exec, objected to the fact that he believed he was being stereotyped. I thought it was the association of his picture with the stereotype (editorial association) rather than the use of an image in which he appeared. The picture I recall was quite nice. Am I mistaken about my memory of the story... of do I have the wrong case?
     
  8. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php/2004/11/19/uk_photographers_rights_guide

    If you download the PDF document, it has a short section on model releases for shots in public places. The bottom line is that you do not NEED a release in the UK, but no agency will take the image without one if any people are identifiable in the shot because they have an international client base and many other countries do require one.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  9. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Brian, the case you mentioned was indeed the case I was referring to....it has been a few years, so you could be correct on the issue. It would be interesting to do a bit of research and refresh my memory.

    Thanks
     
  10. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    Well Lord willing and the creek dont rise, I will be in London next month doing a bit of street photography and I will not be asking for autographs unless of course I run into Les Mclean.:smile:
     
  11. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    I've been struggling with "Model Release" forms for a while now. Most of the "boilerplate" releases I've come across are biased - heavily - toward protection of the photographer/ publisher - and contain clauses that, frankly, I would object to, if I was a model - and *I* would not sign that release.

    I have been close to an unfortunate incident - a model I worked with subsequently worked for another photographer - she said he was "pushy". After the session, he presented her with a model release. When she tried to read it, she was told, "Look, I'm in a hurry - it is only a `standard' release... don't worry about it" - and she signed it.

    When she returned home, she accessed his web site and found terribly demeaning , explicit images of her (yes - the session involved nudes - and he shot furiously with a d******* camera). She called him and objected. His answer was on the lines of "Look, you signed the release. You have absolutely *NO* right to object. Anyway, you posed nude - ALL girls who do that are sluts - so what are you worried about?"

    As a result, her friends and family found out about those images and accessed that web site - and she has requested that ALL nude images of her - everywhere - be deleted... and has given up modeling - along with a number of others who have been victims of the same treatment by this SCUM.

    I am dedicated to the idea of NOT harming anyone, NOT causing anyone grief. ALL of her images that I control have been deleted.

    End result - I am trying to compose a FAIR model release - with protection to both photographer AND model.

    In searching for examples, I found a very interesting article about Model Releases ... on:

    Http://www.danheller.com/model-release-primer.html#1

    Comments?
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Ed:

    I draft and revise releases as a part of my usual working day - although they aren't usually model releases.

    I think the problem you and others are struggling with flows from the fact that you are attempting to draft a "standard" release.

    The unfortunate example you cite relates more to the fact that the shoot was unusual, and the use of the results was even more unusual, than it does from the wording of the release.

    To make your goal accomplishable, you probably need a number of standard form releases (or at least standard form clauses) to choose from, according to the nature of the shoot, the clients (or lack of them), the expected use of the result, the stature of the model, the stature of the photographer, etc.

    As an example, if you are doing a product shoot, for a plumbing manufacturer and a national advertising programme (ooh, aren't these faucets sexy!!!!) you need to have the model sign away just about everything.

    If, however, you are taking photos on spec, and they are beautiful, evocative and so damn mysterious that they could be used for just about anything, you may decide that it is only fair that the model (who isubsequently becomes the spokeswoman for the latest kids breakfast cereal) has a say in their use.

    I know people complain about us lawyers trying to make things complicated, but this isn't necessarily simple, and is certainly something that can benefit from flexibility.

    My $0.02 worth (trust me, this is far less than my normal hourly rate).

    Matt
     
  13. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Thanks for the timely reply, Matt. Your input is appreciated... a LOT!

    I recognize the "uniqueness" here - At the moment I'm not sure that the term "release" is appropriate... an "Agreement" defining the scope and "rules of the road", based on moral behavior and ethics, reached BEFORE the session begins - seems to be the way to go.
    In this, my individual philosophies and INTENT would be more clearly defined, and I would (gladly) accept and work within the boundaries of that agreement.

    It would provide a future opportunity for the model to review the work PRIOR to signing a LIMITED release - that limited release would indentify specific images, not primarily for legal reasons, but to inform the model of the intended use, and to give the model some "say" as to their content, as well.

    In the event that I could not contact the model - it happens - after reasonable effort/s to do so (and I've been told that my reasonable usually is actually "heroic"), it would serve as a Model Release - with images selected by me, and with my best efforts to comply with the intent of the agreement.

    If this sounds convoluted and dis-jointed, it is. I have number of thoughts churning in the Mixmaster portion of my mind. Eventually I hope to write something simple and direct.

    Interesting that you should mention "Plumbing". Some years ago, Grohe, the German plumbing fixture manufacturer had an advertising brochure with photographic images illustrating the use of their products ... and yes, the people taking showers were all nude (how else would one take a shower?), including one image of an eight - ten year old girl. One might expect a great hue and cry from the more uptight, brittle judges of morality - but ... nothing happened.

    BTW ... Did you try the "Dan Heller" site? ... and if so, what did you think of it?
     
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  15. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Matt,

    This reminds me of a story one of my lecturers told at law school. He decided as a young man to buy a new refrigerator on hire purchase. When he started to read the contract, the salesman snatched it back and said, "You aren't supposed to read it!"

    It's interesting the reactions you get when you DO read contracts before you sign them -- and speaking personally, it has also led to my not signing a significant proportion, especially of editorial contracts.

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Ed:

    The Dan Heller site seems quite good - of course some of my opinion might relate to the fact that on some of the issues, he appears to agree with me.:smile:

    Your description of an agreement makes sense, although I wonder how common such an agreement is in the ordinary course of events.

    Normally, releases are just one part of a transaction of this nature, and in many cases just a minor part. For some strange reason, it seems that in the world of relationships between photographers and models, in a lot of cases, even if the terms of the agreement between the parties are much more extensive, the terms of the agreement that are made concrete and clear by reducing them to writing, are frequently much more limited - and often consist of little more than the bill, the cheque, and the release.

    I am sure this varies from market to market, and place to place.

    Matt
     
  17. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Ed:

    I also wonder whether there is a built in expectation that in a lot of cases, remuneration for work as a model will be a "one off" thing. I don't want to denigrate in any way the work that a talented model does, but it seems to me that for a lot of modeling work, it is a requirement that (at least for the purpose of the shoot) the model subsume much of their personality and individuality in a product or idea.

    If the future use of the photograph doesn't wrongly identify the model as having a personal connection with the issue presented (a fake testimonial, for instance) I think that models take the risk of their image being used in association with causes or issues they may not want to be associated with - I don't think that unreasonable, given the "make believe" nature of the process. Photographers take the same risk, although not in the same way.

    If a model wishes to limit the use of a photograph, to exclude any connection with a particular issue, they could try to limit that use in an agreement with the photographer, and in the wording of a release, but I really can't see how that would be easy to do.

    For releases and agreements to speak effectively into the future, they generally need to either be very general and all encompassing, or to be prepared and executed in the context of a continuing relationship, which provides with it the opportunity to examine and respond to new situations when and if they occur.

    You and your models may be best served by:
    1) your making the personal decision to take into account the known wishes of your models and to deal fairly with them when questions arise; and
    2) your making efforts to learn about those wishes.

    The irony is, the fact that you are concerned about these issues, probably means that you will deal appropriately with the interests of your models, whether or not you have in hand a signed agreement or release mandating same.

    Hope this is of some help.

    Matt
     
  18. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    The original post here dealt with shooting in public. Does one need a model release and if so in what situations. It is my belief that street shooter s do not need a model release unless the photography is used to advertise or endorse a product.

    The use of individual persons for specific modeling jobs a model release is used. A good release form spelling out terms and conditions can be had from modeling firms. Here it is common to use a modeling agency and their contracts and paying the fees stipulated.

    Trouble arises when, after the fact, a photographer uses a photo for product sales etc. If you are shooting a specific job, a contracted job, you know the sell and the sale upfront and that should be spelled out in the contract and the model should be paid. Professional modeling agencies will provide the necessary contracts to fit your job and sale. This is so much easier and upfront than having to worry about the "possible" future use.

    But this thread was started with a question about street photography and those persons who because of their presence on the street in everyday life will appear in the photograph...I do not believe the photographer needs to worry about the model release in this situation.
     
  19. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    There is "worrying about 'possible' future use". and there is INTENT.
    Intent *IS* important.

    YOu are asking for a simple "blanket" answer to a *very* complex question.

    I can only ask you to try Dan Heller's site ... a primer of when and where to use Model Releases - which was your original question. His site, and the "primer" article is at
    [ http://www.danheller.com/model-release-primer.html#1 ].
     
  20. Dave Wooten

    Dave Wooten Subscriber

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    This is good!

    Ed this Dan Heller info site is excellent! Thanks!:smile:
     
  21. haris

    haris Guest

    I don't have to have model release form here, because that issue is not legally "cleared" here, it is in "gray" area. But, I have my form of, well, not model release but agreement between me as photographer and eventuall model. And it is made in such way that it can be in few minuter changed to suits every situation. But, that is for "posed" shootinh.

    But, asking for model release for street photography! That would ruin street photography.

    That is why I think if agency or publisher of photograph require model release, then agency or publisher should get it. I am telling professional (and amateur) photographers should act to force agencies or commercial users of photographs, if model release is required, they have to provide it, not photographer. And in any legal issues, agency or commercial user of photograph should be those who are responsibile, not photographers.

    I mean, photographers work, then must to deal with model release forms, then to deal with legal issues, then to be afraid of suits or physical attacs, etc... and agencies or publishers of photographs will sit, do nothing and getting money for photographs, and never be in any "sensibile or dangerous" situation...
     
  22. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Here goes, gang....

    I've listened to a number of suggestions from here and other sites, considered Dan Heller's *excellent* site at length, and finally have drafted this "custom-built" document. Two things should be noted: First, I am, for all intents and purposes, the "end user" of the images; Second, this is PRELIMINARY and open, wide, to future modification.

    Hopefully, I'll have enough room and this miserable PC will not freeze...


    (Letterhead)

    - Assignment Agreement - Preliminary Model Release -

    The undersigned Model and Photographer agree to work together for the production of images in the category of Fine Art Figure Studies, for use limited to Gallery Exhibition and Sale, Portfolio (in any media) and Promotional Literature, provided that,

    1. The work on this date will be in general agreement with the tone and texture of the work previously reviewed in the model's and photographer's portfolios and/ or other agreements between both parties prior to the commencement of the photographic session.

    2. The model will be provided by the photographer with reasonable opportunity to review and critique the work prior to publishing or public exhibition. The photographer agrees to contact the model, using reasonable effort to do so, from information contained herein, to arrange and schedule that review. An additional Release, based on that review will be provided to authorize the use of specific images.
    Should the photographer's efforts to contact the model fail, the model agrees to abide by the photographer's discretion as to content and form, for the intitially specified uses.

    3. The photographers agrees to provide the model with photographic prints and digital images of the work for unlimited portfolio and promotional use, irrevocably, and without additional fee.

    4. In addition to the compensation for the work on this date, the photographer agrees that the model will receive ten percent (10%) additional commission from the sale of all images produced on this date, for the first three (3) years following the date of this agreement.

    5. The model hereby releases and discharges the undersigned photographer from any and all claims and demands arising out of or in connection with the use of these images as stated above, including, but not limited to, claims of invasion of privacy.

    (Dated and signed by both Model and Photographer, with additional contact information supplied by the model.)


    - So what do you think, group? ALL and any comments/ input will certainly be considered - and GREATLY appreciated.
     
  23. Stew Squires

    Stew Squires Member

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    I would suggest that you put a limit on the number of prints offered in 3 and perhaps size as well. Additionally you might reconsider the release of digital images unless degraded to some sample resolution. If they want some add-on to what you privide for free you can attach a price sheet.

    On 4, if you are offering additional compensation based on the success of the image in later commercial sales, then you might reconsider modeling fees and the fact that they will then be entering into a risk-reward relationship with you. While that might improve their motivation to get the shots right, it certainly makes for lots of book keeping associated with following every sale of an image with a particular model in it for the next three years. Do you have time for all that (assuming you are successful with your sales.)?

    I am only messing around with landscape work and do my best to keep people out of it, but street shooting does interest me.

    Stew
     
  24. Paul.

    Paul. Member

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    Ed, I am no lawyer but it certainly seems fair on all party's. Your work is to be applauded. I have also felt that I would not be happy to sign the standard model release form if I were on the other end of the lens.

    Once you get it finalised will you make it available for general use please? I feel it is more ethical than what is currently available.
    Regards Paul.
     
  25. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    The volume of my Fine Art Gallery sales is such that I do not expect a problem. It would be REALLY GOOD to have one here ... if anyone knows how to create a problem of "high volume" in Gallery sales ... I'd be interested.

    This contract (and ALL so-called Model "Releases" ARE contracts) applies only to the defined area of operation, and hopefully, give the MODEL an amount of protection from the really miserable "If you don't like it... TOUGH!" attitudes of a few "CRPs" - Creeps with Cameras.

    I believe modeling to be an honorable profession - and I'll reinforce my commitment to that belief in writing, carved in stone ... or wherever/ whenever I get the chance.
     
  26. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Well,THANK YOU!! I'll take all the applause I can get....

    I APPRECIATE all the input.

    Here, I'm trying to follow Andrew Carnegie: "I couldn't produce one pound of steel if my life depended upon it, nor am I very intelligent. I have but one talent: to surround myself with people who are FAR more intelligent than I am."

    I'll post this "rough draft" to the other areas, OMP, Model Mayhem, others --- really looking for Model's input. After that, it will be reviewed by my youngest daughter, an ex-Legal Secretary for a Law Firm SPECIALIZING in Model Releases and associated Legal Affairs, for her review (grit teeth).

    I'll keep everyone informed - and yes, as far as I'm concerned it will be in the Public Domain.