Why I don't need a form release?

adichiru

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Hello,

I have been wondering a lot about when I need and when I don't need a form release in order to publish or sell a picture and I have read and heard many answers, 99% of them were approximate, unclear or even stupid.
I have however been following Scott Kelby land he was on a trip to India a few months ago. Came bank and publish many pictures with people, even portraits. I asked him if he actually has a release form for each an every picture and he said no I don't because I don't need to. I can't explain here why so don't ask me but you can find out in my courses.....
I am not going to buy those courses for this reason only and also I am not sure that those courses are universally valid - I have seen many materials that apply to US mostly so in many cases almost irrelevant.

Does anyone know why he (or anyone else) would not need a from release signed by the people in the photos you would take (while on holiday .... or)?

Most of them were outside and around Taj Mahal or on the street.

Thank you,
Adi
 

tirediron

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I would assume either (1) Because he's claiming journalistic license (generally speaking journalistic images don't require release), and/or (2) because he's not using them commercially, that is, he is not using them to advertise a product or service.
 
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adichiru

adichiru

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I would assume either (1) Because he's claiming journalistic license (generally speaking journalistic images don't require release), and/or (2) because he's not using them commercially, that is, he is not using them to advertise a product or service.

He was using them commercially. As far as I know, from some "unofficial" discussions with a layer with lots of years of experience in copyright and intellectual property stuff, if you use them on your own website and that website offers services/products it means you use them commercially. Also, it seems that if your name is also your photography business' brand and you use these kind of pictures on different sites related to your name/brand (facebook, G+ etc.) it also means you are using them commercially.

The journalistic license is a good idea. I will look into that.

Thanks,
 

tirediron

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He was using them commercially. As far as I know, from some "unofficial" discussions with a layer with lots of years of experience in copyright and intellectual property stuff, if you use them on your own website and that website offers services/products it means you use them commercially. Also, it seems that if your name is also your photography business' brand and you use these kind of pictures on different sites related to your name/brand (facebook, G+ etc.) it also means you are using them commercially.
Canadian and US IP law treat the definition of 'commercial' very differently. It also depends on how you display them. A gallery of images on your website is not necessarily commerical if it is not be used to specifically advertise your services, HOWEVER, there is no black and white in law. There is also the simple fact that the legal beagles may have done the risk mitigation and decided that they were unlikely to get sued by anyone from India.
 

KmH

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Jake - Yes. The qualifier is "controlled conditions", which defines when a model is there knowingly to pose. Some other factors are - if you are being paid to shoot, or if the shoot is done in private.

As tirediron mentions, release law isn't as cut and dried as laws like, say, traffic laws.

And again, when the term 'commercial use' is used, that is referrring to the legal definition of 'commercial use'. I can sell prints of photos with people in them as art and it is legally considered an 'editorial use' until I start distributing the prints in large quantities, which at some un-specified quantity becomes 'commercial use'.

Here in the USA release law varies by state, and there are 50 somewhat differing versions, whereas copyright law is federal law.

The most recent issue of Photoshop User magazine, in it's regular "The Copyright Zone' colume written by attorney Ed Greenburg, and Photographer Jack Resnicki, they mention a recent stock photography lecture by Bill Bachmann they attended. Bachmann notes that as he travels around the world making photographs, he ALWAYS gets a release, be it from a monk in Tibet, a native boy in the African bus, or anyone else.

So you can see there are 2 ends to the spectrum and many other approaches in between.

The bottom line is this - A photo that is released is more valuable for commercial usage, than a photo that isn't released.

For those that are in the US, I highly recommend this inexpensive book - A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things
 
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jake337

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As tirediron mentions, release law isn't as cut and dried as laws like, say, traffic laws.

And again, when the term 'commercial use' is used, that is referrring to the legal definition of 'cpmmercial use'. I can sell prints of photos with people in them as art and it is legally considered an 'editorial use' until I start distributing the prints in large quantities.

Here in the USA release law varies by state, and there are 50 somewhat differing versions, whereas copyright law is federal law.

The most recent issue of Photoshop User magazine, in it's regular "The Copyright Zone' colume written by attorney Ed Greenburg, and Photographer Jack Resnicki, they mention a recent stock photography lecture by Bill Bachmann they attended. Bachmann notes that as he travels around the world making photographs, he ALWAYS gets a release, be it from a monk in Tibet, a native boy in the African bus, or anyone else.

So you can see there are 2 ends to the spectrum and many other approaches in between.

The bottom line is this - A photo that is released is more valuable for commercial usage, than a photo that isn't released.

For those that are in the US, I highly recommend this inexpensive book - A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things

So pretty much it may or may not be needed but it's always a good idea to cross your T's and dot your I's.
 

KmH

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No doubt! It is better to have a valid release on file, than to not have one.

A common practice for retail photographers is to just include a release clause in their contract.
 
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adichiru

adichiru

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...

The most recent issue of Photoshop User magazine, in it's regular "The Copyright Zone' colume written by attorney Ed Greenburg, and Photographer Jack Resnicki, they mention a recent stock photography lecture by Bill Bachmann they attended. Bachmann notes that as he travels around the world making photographs, he ALWAYS gets a release, be it from a monk in Tibet, a native boy in the African bus, or anyone else.

I find that VERY hard to believe but I am not yet familiar with Bill Bachmann's photography style. When I am in a moving tuk-tuk in Thailand and see a very interesting image should I stop the tuk-tuk and also everyone else that got into that picture or chace them on the street to take the release? If he does that than I will never shoot people again in my life!
However, if you see travel photography more like a mobile studio photography you may be able to do it as Bachmann says. Then again that is not travel photography and you WILL definitely loose moments, expressions and many other things soooo important to photography of any kind.

Anyway, thank all of you for the info and links!
 

Tony S

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Get your legal advice from an attorney, not everyone who has an opinion and the ability to post on the internet. Releases and copyrights are the two most misunderstood, misinformed and mis-stated subjects you can find on an internet forum.
 

manaheim

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Tony S said:
Get your legal advice from an attorney, not everyone who has an opinion and the ability to post on the internet. Releases and copyrights are the two most misunderstood, misinformed and mis-stated subjects you can find on an internet forum.

This too. :)
 

orljustin

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Came bank and publish many pictures with people, even portraits. I asked him if he actually has a release form for each an every picture and he said no I don't because I don't need to. I can't explain here why so don't ask me but you can find out in my courses.....

You certainly don't need releases to display your vacation images online in any form.
 

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