What Is A Model Release Form?
A Model Release Form, sometimes called an agreement for the release of images or model release agreement, is a legal contract concluded between the model and a photographer or artist with the goal to use the model in photographs, video, or any other kind of art. The artist is seeking to obtain a written authorization from the owner of the property being photographed to publish the image on their website, blog or any other material used for marketing, propagating or in any other way the photographer wishes.
Looking for an image, photo or video release agreement? Browse the templates provided below to find the form you need.
The model in question does not have to be a professional (commercial) model, it can be any person whose image is used in the art. In the same line the word “art” is used not necessarily in a commercial or professional sense of the word, but in the wide meaning of the word. The rights released are reserved for specific images only. The model recognizes that the photographer can do with the images what they find fitting. That includes publishing, distributing, editing, and modifying them, unless the model restricts certain types of usage by inserting specific clauses into the agreement. The full rights presuppose that the model releases any claims for future unforeseen turnouts or usages, or any issues like the invasion of privacy claims, defamation of character, right of privacy or right of publicity claims.
Model release forms contain the terms for the model compensation and grants the photographer with full legal rights to the image. As an artist you have to watch out you have properly acquired the rights you need, especially if you are planning on using them for commercial purposes (for promotion or sale). These days the contracts are mostly ubiquitous, but still correctly obtaining and retaining the rights is the responsibility of the parties involved.
When Do I Need A Model Release?
You need a model photo release every time you take an image of a recognizable person or an easily identifiable feature. If the object you photograph is a construction or a house, you may have to ask the owner of the property for a property release. If fact, not only professional models require a release form, but just about anyone who became an object of the camera lens if your plans are to use the image for commercial purposes.
Commercial use includes ads, catalogs, websites, greeting cards and many more. However, if the image will be published for educational purposes, it falls under the fair dealings (Canada) or fair use (USA). There are various particularities concerning editorial publications (newspapers, educations books, etc.). For example, you may have decided to use your photo for a textbook, but it turned out that the person you photographed, a well-known politician, wishes to use it in their election campaign. So, it’s best to consult a professional if in doubt, because the line between the fair dealing and commercial use can be quite hazy. Same goes for a person or object identification. Not only the face can serve as an identification point, but any part of the body, even a tattoo, a uniform or a silhouette. An object can be identified through its location. In this case, you will need a photo release form as well.
Why Do I Need A Model Release Form?
All over North America, this is an important form to have if you are a photographer. Although state laws may differ, the general rule of thumb is you need a model release that stipulates what you may and may not do with the images you are taking. Releases provide protection to you as a photographer, to your client and to the people are you photographing. This is a legal document that releases you from any possible liabilities and lawsuits in the future, which may range from slander to invasion of property.