Another "legal" question

rlemert

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I chair the advisory board for the engineering academy (a small "learning community" inside a regular school) at one of our local high schools. We plan of having 'action' pictures of our students on our web site, but the academy's director is concerned about the possible need for model releases.

The way I've been reading the other 'copyright' threads here suggests that this should not be something we need to be concerned about - as long as the pictures are not used commercially and they're not taken where the students would have "a reasonable expectation of privacy." A broader interpretation would even suggest that this would constitute "editorial" use.

I'd appreciate hearing the forum's opinions on the subject.

(For the record, we are contacting local legal help. Second-year law students in North Carolina are apparently authorized to provide "pro bono" legal assistance to non-profit organizations, and we utilized their services to help us with our 501c3 application. I've asked our treasurer to bring this question to them, but I also wanted to get a feel for the general consensus on what we're doing.)
 

ronlane

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Would love to help you but I figure that since I've never even set foot in NC, I probably don't know the laws there. So here's to good luck with getting your answer.
 

radiorickm

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Well, this might be a silly question, but how many model releases are signed for the year book? And why would this be any different?
 

Big Mike

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The way I've been reading the other 'copyright' threads here suggests that this should not be something we need to be concerned about - as long as the pictures are not used commercially and they're not taken where the students would have "a reasonable expectation of privacy." A broader interpretation would even suggest that this would constitute "editorial" use.
I believe you're correct. But I'm just a (Canadian) guy in the internet. I'd certainly recommend following up with the actual legal advice.
 

KmH

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Copyright and model releases are separate, not related, legal issues.

While here in the US copyright law is federal law and applies the same to all 50 states, model release law is state law and there are 50 different versions.
Even then, model release law is not as cut and dried as laws like, say, traffic laws.

Check with the high school. They may have every student's parents sign a document that includes a model release clause.

Dan Heller's Photography Business Blog: Busting Myths about Model Releases
 

Gavjenks

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This is sticky. Using action shots on your website is basically using them to advertise the school, which could be non-editorial use, depending on who knows what all. Stick to the local legal advice on this one.

Or just get releases. It shouldn't really be that hard should it? You know where the kids are every day to get your forms back from them...
 

nycphotography

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I chair the advisory board for the engineering academy (a small "learning community" inside a regular school) at one of our local high schools. We plan of having 'action' pictures of our students on our web site, but the academy's director is concerned about the possible need for model releases.

The way I've been reading the other 'copyright' threads here suggests that this should not be something we need to be concerned about - as long as the pictures are not used commercially and they're not taken where the students would have "a reasonable expectation of privacy." A broader interpretation would even suggest that this would constitute "editorial" use.

I'd appreciate hearing the forum's opinions on the subject.

(For the record, we are contacting local legal help. Second-year law students in North Carolina are apparently authorized to provide "pro bono" legal assistance to non-profit organizations, and we utilized their services to help us with our 501c3 application. I've asked our treasurer to bring this question to them, but I also wanted to get a feel for the general consensus on what we're doing.)

Very simple answer:

Tell the academy director to prepare whatever 1 page "model release" he would like to use, and then agree that before any image is used on the web site, administration will be given a week's advance notice, during which they can track down the student and get the release signed. After all, these ARE students. They can be tracked down and asked to sign the release. It's not like random people encountered in the wild that you can never find again.

Offer NO resistance, but spend NONE of your own time and effort on producing the release form, nor on getting them signed. That way you can be a TEAM PLAYER, and COOPERATE, while still delegating the actual BS work to the ones who seems to care.

BTW, I think most schools have some standard clause in the papers that students sign that the school can use images of them for promotional purposes. Suggest to him that if he really wants to be on top of his game, he should address it universally for all students and not just for your project.
 

Gavjenks

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BTW, I think most schools have some standard clause in the papers that students sign that the school can use images of them for promotional purposes. Suggest to him that if he really wants to be on top of his game, he should address it universally for all students and not just for your project.
Uh no. PUBLIC (sounds like that's what it is) high schools can't just require you to sign model releases by default... Some might very well try, but they shouldn't be.

It's not a private club. It's a public school that you're required by law to attend. Forcing you to sign model releases would therefore give you absolutely no reasonable legal way to deny somebody the right to do whatever they want with your image. Throw it in some porn ads, maybe put your face on a huge billboard that advertises care for rectal cancer at a nearby clinic, etc. etc. Don't like that? Lulz, too bad! gotta sign or you can't go to school and social services will come and harrass you if you can't afford full time home schooling.

The only papers they make you sign usually are some proof of your age, immunization, residency documentation, etc. as allowed or required by various laws.
 

nycphotography

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Oops. High School. I was thinking colleges. Nevermind the blanket release part lol. Just stick with the first part.
 

skieur

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Having done a lot of shooting in educational establishments, the general rule is if the shot has something to do with education, then NO model release is necessary.

skieur
 

table1349

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The way I've been reading the other 'copyright' threads here suggests that this should not be something we need to be concerned about - as long as the pictures are not used commercially and they're not taken where the students would have "a reasonable expectation of privacy." A broader interpretation would even suggest that this would constitute "editorial" use.
I believe you're correct. But I'm just a (Canadian) guy in the internet. I'd certainly recommend following up with the actual legal advice.

That's Okay Mike. We like Canadians and respect your opinions around here on everything except the weather. Cause frankly the only weather you have up there in Canada is Cold, Colder and I wonder where my B@!!$ fell off. :mrgreen:

Oops, sorry, I forgot about the one day of summer when it gets up to 70 degrees for about 45 minutes. :lmao:
 

table1349

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Hey I got a question: A friend of mine has been experiencing fever (100 F or greater), cough, nasal secretions, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Any idea what he may have??? He thought about seeing a doctor, but I told him the best place to get diagnosed was on a photography forum.

OP. Seriously, go with the legal advise available to you, not here on a photo forum. They call it the Practice of Law for a reason and Lawyers practice at it a lot more than most photographers.
 

nycphotography

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Hey I got a question: A friend of mine has been experiencing fever (100 F or greater), cough, nasal secretions, fatigue, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Any idea what he may have??? He thought about seeing a doctor, but I told him the best place to get diagnosed was on a photography forum.

OP. Seriously, go with the legal advise available to you, not here on a photo forum. They call it the Practice of Law for a reason and Lawyers practice at it a lot more than most photographers.

A sniffly nose? I think you should rush him to the ER stat. Every. Single. Time. Why take even the slimmest chance.

Of course we can then all wonder why our health insurance is $600 / mo. How did that happen?
 
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rlemert

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Copyright and model releases are separate, not related, legal issues.

You're right - I was confusing the two concepts. I thought there was something about this I hadn't thought through.

OP. Seriously, go with the legal advise available to you, not here on a photo forum. They call it the Practice of Law for a reason and Lawyers practice at it a lot more than most photographers.

I believe you will find that I addressed this in my last paragraph.
 

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