Release for shooting someone's property

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by Nimitz, Oct 19, 2007.

  1. Nimitz
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    Nimitz New Member

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    Ok, we all know that when a photographer takes a photograph that they own the copyright unless they choose to sell it or give it away. We all also know that in order to use a photograph of a person where that person's likeless is recoganizable you need to secure some type of signed release. So, here's the question:

    What about photographing someone's property? Do you need a signed release to use that photgraph for your own purposes?

    Ex1: you photograph a nice landscape of what turns out to be a private lake owned by an individual. You are approached by a company who wants to pay you a large sum of money to use this image in their upcoming "Lakes of the Mohave Desert" calendar. Do you need a release from he property's owner?

    Ex2: Does anything change if the photograph is of the person's dog? (Since cats and dogs are considered 'property' under most state laws)

    I'm looking for some no kidding informed legal advice here- any lawyers out there?
  2. skieur
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    skieur New Member

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    It comes down to the basic simple fact that you can copyright an original work and property does not fit that definition. Property is not copyrightable.

    At the same time other laws may come into effect. If the property is readily identifiable as belonging to a particular person then how you use it could even lead to a defamation suit if you made it look unduly run down or a fraud charge if you were implying that a house was for sale for example when that was not accurate.

    In the end, a lot depends on the content of the shot and its intended use.

    skieur
  3. Nimitz
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    Nimitz New Member

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    Ok, so you take a photo of someone's dog and later want to sell that image to a company making a dog calendar ... do you need a release?

    You take the same image but now a company contacts you about purchasing the rights to put this photo on their dog food cans. Any change?


    Bottom line: if I take images of people's pets do I need a signed release to use the photos for my own commercial purposes?
  4. skieur
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    skieur New Member

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    First one: No, because the photo does not "imply" anything about the dog or by connection its owner.
    Second one: Yes, because the implication is that the dog's "healthy look" is the result of its owner feeding him\her a particular dog food.

    Bottom line: No, if it involves putting it in a portfolio or posting it. Yes, if it involves any kind of advertising or photo content that links it to an individual owner.

    Of course, to be absolutely certain get a lawyer who works with media people to give you the most definitive answer for your own area. You can find info. on the net, but reading law is both reading what is there in the document as well as what is not there and paying close attention to wording.

    skieur

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