Legal question

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Taylor510ce, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    I know the basics of model releases and copyrights and all of that, but was unsure about this one. If you were to travel to highschool sports games, take action shots of the players, and then upload to your account to sell to the students, would you need model releases? I was thinking of doing this and handing out some cards, or emailing the coaches to let them know of the website. I know that many people do this, but thought maybe they had some pre-arranged agreement with the school.
     
  2. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The best legal advice anyone here can give you is: "Don't take legal advice form an Internet forum". Consult a lawyer!
     
  3. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    Point taken. I am sure there are people on here who have engaged in the same type of business. So I guess I am curious see what others have done, and also how they have handled any legal hurdles.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    Your questions involve the very basics essentials of model releases so you may want to re-examine your belief that, "I know the basics of model releases and copyrights...". A model release protects and defines the rights accorded the model and the publisher of a photo, not the photographer. Publishers and models expect the photographer to handle the paperwork only because the photographer is right there when the photo is made. Sometimes, the photographer also winds up being the publisher, but it's not very common.

    The basic concepts involved here deal with what constitutes 'publishing' and what constitues 'commercial use'.

    As long as the players cannot be perceived as endorsing or sponsoring your 'business', and the photos were made in a public, spur of the moment way, you don't need a model release to display the photos on a business web site because that is not 'publishing'.

    Selling photos in small quantities to a limited number of private individuals is not a 'commercial use' (it's not mass distribution), so again a model release would not be needed.

    As tirediron pointed out, you cannot rely on legal advice you get in online forums, because it is often based on Urban Legend, not fact.
    Model release laws vary by state. In particular the concept of 'Right of Publicity'.

    Visit: Model Release Primer
    and get Dan's book A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases.

    Model Release law is not as cut and dried as, say, traffic laws. So very often the correct answer is, it depends.
     
  5. MohaimenK

    MohaimenK TPF Noob!

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    actually I don't think so because I know there are photographers that go to mountain bike evens and do the same exact thing and sell to them. One thing you can do is put them on the website, but have them password protected. That way you can give them a log in ID to see the photos. Like through Smugmug.com and once they buy it, have them sign a paper. But again, if they are buying their picture, they don't have to but you want to make sure you give them a reciept and you can put a little paragraph in there :)
     
  6. Christie Photo

    Christie Photo No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    This sounds right to me.

    I may have been kidding myself for the past thirty years, but I think the bigger issue is the school's role. Being a school activity, they are responsibe for the students. So, if for no other reason than courtesy, I would make certain that I had the school's permission to proceed. Make sure they know what your doing and what you intend to do with your photos.

    -Pete
     
  7. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    I would definately notify the school coaches etc.

    KMH, I do know the basics, but this becomes sort of a possible gray area. What if my site has product banners orother ads on it? Just wanted to check to see if anyone had had thing smisconstrued or angered parents/students complain.
     
  8. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    It doesn't matter if your sight has product banners or other ads on it. Just look at TPF, all the banner ads here, and the photo's of people (and property) that get posted. All without TPF demanding model releases from the people in the photo's. TPF is a commercial web site. It exists to sell advertising space. They get free content from forum members.

    Being members we miss a lot of ads that non members have to look at.

    Think about a newpaper. They have other companies ads in the paper. They don't need a model release from any people in the Ad. But, the advertiser does.
     
  9. Taylor510ce

    Taylor510ce TPF Noob!

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    Good point.


    So has anyone had to deal with any unruly people when selling photos of this nature ( or any event really ) online?
     
  10. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    There's a distinct difference in publishing a photo for a news piece Vs using the photo for commercial purposes. But then again, I'm not a lawyer, I just play one on TV
     

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