Model Releases and Government Personnel

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Sleepy_Sentry, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. Sleepy_Sentry

    Sleepy_Sentry TPF Noob!

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    I just got back from China and out of the 2500 hundred pictures I took, I got a few good shots of military personnel and guards on duty.

    I want to submit some to stock photo websites, but I don't have a model release for obvious reasons. I submitted the photo below to SXC and they said that "after serious consideration," they were not "comfortable with the context" in which the picture was taken.
    [​IMG]

    I understand model releases are important, but was I supposed to go up to every soldier in this picture and interrupt their training to ask for a model release?

    Do some sites have an exception to the model release rule that would allow me to upload this? As far as I'm concerned, these soldiers are government officials on duty and I shouldn't need their permission to distribute their photo. Nikon ML-L3
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  2. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    To sell as a stock photo? Absolutely, yes! Stock agencies have tightened their requirements for model/property releases in recent years, after some court cases indicated they were being to lax.

    It seems you don't understand what model releases are all about.

    To quote a portion of the following Wikipedia entry link:

    Model release - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Also see: Model Releases

    http://www.istockphoto.com/docs/modelrelease.pdf
     
  3. Sleepy_Sentry

    Sleepy_Sentry TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the advice. I understand why model releases are necessary. I just think stock photo agencies need to exercise a bit more flexibility. Obviously if my photo were of a group of children a model release signed by the parents would be a must. But the People's Liberation Army?

    My guess is the PLA isn't going to sue if a photo of their soldiers ends up in Glamour.
     
  4. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You're thinking too narrowly. What if one of those people is under witness protection? (ok unlikely in this case) but the reality is it's not your decision or the stock agencies decision if the people themselves want to appear to endorse a product. Maybe the guy with his eyes closed simply doesn't want to appear in an advert for the army looking like he's doing martial arts asleep. Being in a group involved in an activity does not mean the subjects automatically sign away their right not be involved with commercial endorsement.

    That's where the line is drawn though. Feel free to print that image and sell it as your own artwork, but if you put it in a magazine with your contact details underneath you better expect that if any of these guys kick up a stink about it you'll end up in court and you'll lose. Stock photography is commercial works.
     
  5. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    From the point of view of having published my own photos, if and when it comes to a case the issue will revolve around the "identifiability" of the individual in the photograph to the average person seeing the image being used for stock or advertising purposes. Usually, that is not very high at all.

    As a photographer, the answer is to use camera angles, lenses, and perhaps even a little sophisticated photoshopping to minimize "identifiability".

    skieur
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010

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