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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 12 May 2005 (Thursday) 01:53
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STICKY: When do I need a Release?

 
MichiganPhotog
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May 15, 2015 12:28 |  #271

TOPIC: Photographs of strangers across the world with no release

Many years back I read an article in a photography magazine about an attorney whose entire business was to have staff comb through magazines for photographs of people. He then tracked these people down and convinced them to sue the photographer for publishing their image without a release.

He stated that his main targets were those with deep pockets: NatGeo, Time, Newsweek, etc. But he had won awards against hobbyists that ran into the multiple tens of thousands of dollars.

So for me, the moral of the story would be: no release, no publication or sale to others. Just my 2ยข, YMMV. Unless of course you are Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, etc. Since you have more money than God, you probably don't give a damn.




  
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Wilt
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Post edited over 6 years ago by Wilt. (2 edits in all)
     
May 15, 2015 13:12 |  #272

MichiganPhotog wrote in post #17557596 (external link)
I suggest not paying people in photographs. Pay them in cash, have them sign a release (stating the amount paid), and let them buy the prints at your normal prices. Cash talks, bullshirt walks, and in court, even a dollar is enough for the judge to say, "Case dismissed."

In the eyes of courts, $1.00 is considered sufficient payment to render any agreement to be fully valid for a bilateral contract to exist (within normal conditions of legally allowable activies, etc. governing contracts).

MichiganPhotog wrote:
Many years back I read an article in a photography magazine about an attorney whose entire business was to have staff comb through magazines for photographs of people. He then tracked these people down and convinced them to sue the photographer for publishing their image without a release.

There must have been some specific circumstances under which this 'release chaser' engaged in this activity and could obtain legal remedy via compensation for the person! Or maybe he made ALL of his money from the fees he charged the people he had fooled into thinking a case existed for them?! After all, editorial use of photographs is generally allowed without a model release.


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Dan ­ Marchant
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May 16, 2015 00:05 |  #273

Wilt wrote in post #17557671 (external link)
There must have been some specific circumstances under which this 'release chaser' engaged in this activity and could obtain legal remedy via compensation for the person! Or maybe he made ALL of his money from the fees he charged the people he had fooled into thinking a case existed for them?! After all, editorial use of photographs is generally allowed without a model release.

QFT
You can use an image of someone editorially and you can also sell prints, without needing a model release.


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Tom ­ Reichner
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Post edited over 6 years ago by Tom Reichner.
     
Sep 02, 2015 14:57 |  #274

MichiganPhotog wrote in post #17557634 (external link)
TOPIC: Photographs of strangers across the world with no release

Many years back I read an article in a photography magazine about an attorney whose entire business was to have staff comb through magazines for photographs of people. He then tracked these people down and convinced them to sue the photographer for publishing their image without a release.

I don't think that business model would work today, as any publisher I have ever worked with is extremely careful to ensure that releases have been procured for each and every person appearing in a photo. If I don't have a signed release, they won't buy or use the photo, period.

MichiganPhotog wrote in post #17557634 (external link)
He stated that his main targets were those with deep pockets: NatGeo, Time, Newsweek, etc.

Nat Geo? That doesn't make sense. They only do editorial publishing, and publishers do not need releases for images used for editorial purposes.

MichiganPhotog wrote in post #17557634 (external link)
But he had won awards against hobbyists that ran into the multiple tens of thousands of dollars.

That doesn't make much sense, either. By 'Hobbyist" I assume you mean hobbyist photographers (there are not many hobbyist print magazine publishers). It is not against the law to take photos of people without a release.....it is only illegal to publish these photos without a release, if the photos are used for advertising or promotional purposes. Therefore, the photographers are not at fault, the publishers are. The publishers are the ones that would be held liable in a court of law, not the photographers. So what is it that you mean when you say that this lawyer won awards agains hobbyists that ran into the tens of thousands? What hobbyists?


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Deardorff
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Oct 25, 2016 09:18 |  #275

Sorry guy, but ART takes precedence over the 'you can't use it' stuff.

Nussenzweig v. DiCorcia is a suit in New York City, USA where a Jewish gentleman objected to the photographer using his photo in a book of art photography. The court held that it was OK - basically if you don't want to be photographed, don't go out in public. If you are photographed and the image is sold as "art", you are out of luck.

Tiger Woods found this out when he sued an artist. ETW Corp. v. Jireh Publishing, Inc The case arose after Woods' first win at the Masters. Rush, who has painted Michael Jordan, Mark McGuire and other sports greats, produced a limited-edition lithograph that depicted three images of Woods, surrounded by the faces of previous Masters winners.

ETW Corporation, Woods' licensing agent, filed suit against Rush's publisher in 1998, claiming the artwork violated Woods' right to control the publicity of his name and likeness. The suit also alleged trademark violations.

In 2000, Rush obtained a dismissal from U.S. District Court Judge Patricia A. Gaughan, who said the print was protected as a creative work.

The Sixth Circuit's June decision, supported by two of the three judges on the appellate panel, upheld that ruling.

So, check things our more carefully. Even with the rulings you can be sued. Doesn't mean they will win and really does not mean you can't lose as some Judges are just jackasses and do whatever they want, the law be damned.


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RDKirk
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Post edited over 1 year ago by RDKirk.
     
Jan 02, 2020 08:08 |  #276

MichiganPhotog wrote in post #17557596 (external link)
I suggest not paying people in photographs. Pay them in cash, have them sign a release (stating the amount paid), and let them buy the prints at your normal prices. Cash talks, bullshirt walks, and in court, even a dollar is enough for the judge to say, "Case dismissed."

]

Have to be careful about that, though.

A Texas court ruling in favor of a model, stated that compensation must be just, and that a clearly one-sided contract can be invalid. In that particular case, a photographer paid the model a dollar for images that were later used in a lucrative national ad campaign. The court ruled that because the photographer intended to use the photos commercially, he should have paid her a commercial model's fee.

This rather pulls into the issue the question of whether a model release should be merely simple "permission to use" (which is all any state requires) or a contract...which pulls the whole tangled ball of contract law into the picture.


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goalerjones
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Aug 21, 2020 02:33 |  #277

Earlier this week I went out to a public beach for surfer images to get samples for a potential clients office decorations. In several of the images the faces of the surfers are clearly seen. After reading thru this thread I seem to see that images taken for the purpose of selling art, which is the case here, don't necessarily require a release as long as it was taken in a public place and not an event such as a surfing competition?




  
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Dan ­ Marchant
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Aug 23, 2020 15:35 |  #278

goalerjones wrote in post #19112271 (external link)
Earlier this week I went out to a public beach for surfer images to get samples for a potential clients office decorations. In several of the images the faces of the surfers are clearly seen. After reading thru this thread I seem to see that images taken for the purpose of selling art, which is the case here, don't necessarily require a release as long as it was taken in a public place and not an event such as a surfing competition?

When the image is the product no release is needed. You only need a release when the image is being used to sell some other product (advertising a fizzy drink, promoting a product or service).

It doesn't make any difference if the image is taken in a public or private* place or at a sporting event. It is perfectly legal to sell image taken at sports events without a model release. However there might be a contractual block on the selling of images at a sporting (or other organised event) but that would be a completely different issue.

* Note: Private property is not the same thing as a place where someone would have an expectation of Privacy.


Dan Marchant
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When do I need a Release?
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