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  1. #1
    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Model Release question

    Hi All!
    Many of you know that my husband & I do ballroom dancing. Well, our ballroom dance instructor is an independent consultant. She owns her own business (ballroom dancing) and is also a professional ballroom dancer.

    She recently came to our camera club's annual model shoot. Where she was a massive hit! The problem she is having is that most model releases contains these words or similar:

    "I hereby grant the undersigned photographer... the irrevocable right and permission... the following: (a) the right to use and reuse, in any manner at all, said photographs, in whole or in part, modified or altered,...for any purposes whatsoever, including, without limitation, all promotional and advertising..."

    Because she is the essence of her business, she does not feel comfortable with this type of all-encompassing agreement. Is there something similar that she can sign for the photographer that would limit his rights? What sorts of things do stars & other persons of note sign?

    Thanks for your help on this!!
    Jeanette
    .................................................. ................
    Isaiah 25:1

  2. #2
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Jeanette -

    If I understand correctly, the concern that your model has is that use of photographs for advertising might create conflicts; for example, if a photographer sold a photograph of the model for use as an advertisement by a dancing instructor who is a competitor of the model.

    The wording of a model release is not sacred - it is a simple statement of the terms and conditions of the agreement under which the model agrees to be photographed that establishes the range of things that the photographer can do with those photographs.

    I would think a simple answer is to modify the model release to address the model's concerns. Some possible examples:

    1. "I hereby grant the undersigned photographer... the irrevocable right and permission... the following: (a) the right to use and reuse, said photographs, in whole or in part, modified or altered,...for any purposes whatsoever, including promotion and advertising of photographic services offered by the photographer. However, the photographer is specifically prohibited from selling or otherwise providing said photographs for use in promotion or advertising of any other products or services without the additional written agreement of the undersigned."

    or

    2. "I hereby grant the undersigned photographer... the irrevocable right and permission... the following: (a) the right to use and reuse said photographs, in whole or in part, modified or altered,...for any purposes whatsoever, with the specific exclusion that said photographs shall not be used for any form of promotion or advertising by the photographer or any third party."

    or

    3. "I hereby grant the undersigned photographer... the irrevocable right and permission... the following: (a) the right to use and reuse said photographs, in whole or in part, modified or altered,...for personal artistic display and competition purposes only. Photographer shall not use, reuse, or sell for use by others, said photographs for any other purpose without the specific written permission of the undersigned."
    Louie

  3. #3
    TheFlyingCamera's Avatar
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    It might also be a good and fair compromise to impose a time limit on the prohibition from use - say the dance instructor sees that she will be running her studio for the next fifteen years - inserting a prohibition of sales to same-industry advertising for a period of ten years following the date of the release would be reasonable.

  4. #4
    blaze-on's Avatar
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    "I hereby grant the undersigned photographer... the irrevocable right and permission... the following: (a) the right to use and reuse, in any manner at all, said photographs, in whole or in part, modified or altered,...for any purposes whatsoever, including, without limitation, all promotional and advertising..."

    No one should sign anything like that..
    Matt's Photo Site
    "I invent nothing, I rediscover". Auguste Rodin

  5. #5
    BWGirl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. I thought the release was a wee bit on the overly-broad side myself, but since this is a realm I do not often enter, I just wondered what people here think.

    Thanks!
    Jeanette
    .................................................. ................
    Isaiah 25:1

  6. #6
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Model Release

    A topic that has caused a LOT of controversy. I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about the mechanics and intent of Model Releases.

    My youngest daughter worked as a Legal Secretary for a Law firm dedicated to the workings of a LARGE Mail Order - Catalog outfit, and her knowledge - firsthand - of successful and unsuccessful releases - was specific and intensive.

    I wrote an Article here about "Limited Model Releases" that created a LOT of comments, although agreeing closely with her - and independent (my Attorneys) legal advice and recommendations. The structure of my "Limited Release" was the result of a LOT of research. You might want to check it out.

    One web site was most informative:

    [ http://www.danheller.com/model-release.html#1 ]

    I hope you find this information useful.
    Last edited by Ed Sukach; 09-11-2007 at 05:53 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Minor editing
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  7. #7
    copake_ham's Avatar
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    OP: The wording in the "Model Release" you quoted is the broadest possible in favor of the photographer.

    Life is always a negotiation. Your Ballroom Dancer should determine what is her "bottom line" position and then enter into negotiations with whichever photog wants to use her pics.

    But advise her to be flexible too. Having seen the ultimate one-sidedness of a photog-friendly contract, she would be ill-served to take the 180-degree opposite position.

    That's simply a recepie for a stalemate.

    Model releases and other forms of "standard contracts" are, at best, simply starting points for two parties to negotiate a deal.

  8. #8
    Ed Sukach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by copake_ham View Post
    Model releases and other forms of "standard contracts" are, at best, simply starting points for two parties to negotiate a deal.
    WELL said. a Model Release is a contract, and as such, should - MUST - provide benefit and protection to both "sides".

    Apparently, this is one are where paranoia seems to run rampart. If either model or photographer distrusts the other so intensely as to require absolute domination, I would think that it would be far better to move on - and be involved with other people.
    Carpe erratum!!

    Ed Sukach, FFP.

  9. #9
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Two options:

    1. Don't sign it.

    2. Cross out the objectionable parts.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Sukach View Post
    WELL said. a Model Release is a contract, and as such, should - MUST - provide benefit and protection to both "sides".

    Apparently, this is one are where paranoia seems to run rampart. If either model or photographer distrusts the other so intensely as to require absolute domination, I would think that it would be far better to move on - and be involved with other people.
    Actually a model release is usually not a contract. It's a release. Therefore it's one-sided by definition. The model is giving permission to the photographer, not the other way around. Model releases should be simple and able to be understood by anyone, not cluttered with limiting phrases. The more complicated you make it the less likely it is to do anything.

    If the model is being paid it might be a different story, but then there is a separate contract for the modeling services provided (even if there's no written contract there's a contract).

    As noted above, she can simply choose not to sign the model release. If she's going to a photography club, that shouldn't even cause any problems at all, it's not like she's saying they can't photograph her. And the photographers could probably still use it for some purposes, like their portfolio, fine art print sales, etc.

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