Model Release and Property Release Forms

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Monday, July 1, 2013 by KeyImagery| 1668 Views

Model Release

A model release, known in similar contexts as a liability waiver, is a legal document typically signed by the subject of a photograph granting permission to publish the photograph in one form or another. The legal rights of the signatories in reference to the material is thereafter subject to the allowances and restrictions stated in the release, and also possibly in exchange for compensation paid to the model.

Publishing an identifiable photo of a person without a model release signed by that person can result in civil liability for whoever publishes the photograph. To avoid such claims, make sure you use a Model Release Form.

Property Release

In some cases, you'll need to obtain a release for using pictures of places. You may find this odd -- after all if a building can be viewed publicly why is permission required to use an image of it? Over the last few decades some buildings have earned protection under both trademark or copyright laws or both. Trademark law will protect a building's appearance under very limited circumstances.

If a distinctive-looking building is used to signify a business's services, then you cannot use an image of that building in a manner that will confuse consumers. For example, the Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, functions as a trademark, and if you intend to use it in the foreground of an advertisement, permission should be obtained from the SkyCity company. Use of the building's image for informational purposes, such as in magazine article, does not require permission.

Copyright protection also extends to architectural works, specifically for unique architectural works. However copyright protection also has limitations. A release is not needed to photograph a building or property visible from a public place. However, permission is needed to photograph and reproduce images of a building protected by copyright and not visible from a public place. Entering private property to photograph a building or related private property may also trigger a claim of trespass. To avoid such claims, make sure you use a Property Release Form.


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