Horror stories involving lack of model release?

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by ericonoahu, Aug 9, 2010.

  1. ericonoahu

    ericonoahu TPF Noob!

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    This question came to mind in discussing another thread.

    Has anyone heard about anything substantially bad happening to a photographer because she or he worked with a model but failed to have the model sign a release?

    Or, have there been any cases where there were a release form and it saved the photographer's bacon?

    I'd like to hear more about experiences than theory. I get the theory.

    I did sufficient research on model release forms to convince myself they are a good idea - sort of an insurance policy. Please don't feel the need to talk me into using them. I already do.

    I can't imagine a judge or jury viewing a photograph of someone obviously posing in front of a camera and A) deciding that person was damaged against their will and B) that the photographer's right to expression should be violated.

    Yes, not all photos are going to be obvious poses. If it looked like I poked my lens through their bathroom window to get the shot... Or if the photograph ended up being used as part of a "I have herpes but my partner doesn't and we want to keep it that way" advertisement there could be issues.
     
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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  3. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    The publisher is responsible for the use of the photo, not the photographer. My work has been published in a national newspaper and on television without model releases and there were no problems.

    skieur
     
  4. ericonoahu

    ericonoahu TPF Noob!

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    That's an interesting and useful story but really has nothing to do with what I intended the thread to be about. I should have been more clear.

    I'm specifically not asking about situations where the photographer "sneaks a picture of someone." I am talking about a photographer and a person agreeing on an arrangement where the person intentionally poses so photographs of them can be made.

    In other words - models. Nussenzweig is not a model, he is a pedestrian on a sidewalk.

    Has anyone heard of a model or her representatives coming after a photographer/publisher for using a photograph?
     
  5. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Follow the case linked to in this thread then:

    http://www.thephotoforum.com/forum/general-shop-talk/210329-model-sues.html

    By the way - the forum has a nifty search feature, and there are Internet search engines that are also available. Might save you some time in the long run, and let you choose which which informational leads you want to follow.

    From the quote, I would suggest you don't yet fully understand what a model or property release is all about.
     
  6. ericonoahu

    ericonoahu TPF Noob!

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    Sorry I have somehow put you on the defensive Keith. I do appreciate your attempts to reply to my question and I didn't intend to put anyone on edge.

    I am new to this forum but not new to internet discussion in general. From my experience, the problem with most boards like this isn't repeat discussions of a general topic as much as discussions that go astray from a particular topic. I'm just trying to keep this one on track - not offend you or anyone else.

    What's even more handy than search features is actually reading and understanding a question or topic before you attempt to answer it.

    I asked: "Has anyone heard about anything substantially bad happening to a photographer because she or he worked with a model but failed to have the model sign a release?"

    You responded with a story about and issue that didn't really involve a model or someone the photographer "worked with." He snuck pictures of the person.


    You may be right. My basic premise is that (all things normal) the only way you can get in trouble for anything is if you have damaged someone. The second part of my premise is that we have the basic right to express ourselves and produce things to earn money.

    So, my understanding of a model release is an agreement between the person being photographed and the photographer that secures the photographer's (or publisher's) right to make and use the photographs and protects her from claims of damage by the subject of the photographs.

    Ironically, if I were making a point with that quote from the OP, the Nussenzweig story you responded with supports it. (Are you disagreeing with the substance of what I said or agreeing with it while claiming it indicates ignorance on my part?) Here someone was earning tens of thousands of dollars off the picture, the subject had no idea he was being photographed and never entered any kind of agreement concerning the photography, and the courts still found no damage against him.

    I certainly would like to learn how your understanding of model releases differs from mine. Please bring me to a fuller understanding. Yes, I've googled it and all - I would like to hear your version.
     

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