A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things

Overview

Do you need a release for a photo of someone you took in public? How about photos of buildings? Does it make a difference if the subject was paid to be in the picture? You can't answer these questions without more information. As the photographer, you need to understand your buyer's concerns in order to make savvy decisions about how you market your photos and to whom. Here's how to make money from all your photos, whether or not they have releases, by understanding the business...

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Overview

Do you need a release for a photo of someone you took in public? How about photos of buildings? Does it make a difference if the subject was paid to be in the picture? You can't answer these questions without more information. As the photographer, you need to understand your buyer's concerns in order to make savvy decisions about how you market your photos and to whom. Here's how to make money from all your photos, whether or not they have releases, by understanding the business aspects of the law.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

The marriage of digital photography to the Internet has brought about vast opportunities for the commercial licensing of photos. Publishers, advertisers, manufacturers, etc., that used to buy photos from a few stock photo companies can now choose from thousands of start-ups selling only through the Internet. But just as their own works are legally protected, photographers must respect the legal rights of the people who appear in their photos. Heller offers solid advice on when a model release is required. Is one needed for someone photographed in public? If the person is unrecognizable? For photos of buildings? Heller has been a freelance photographer and photo industry analyst for over ten years, and his book is indispensable for anyone wishing to enter the field. Recommended for large collections; for a general guide to the photo business, see Jim Zuckerman's Shooting & Selling Your Photos: The Complete Guide to Making Money with Your Photography.
—Daniel Lombardo

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470228562
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/31/2008
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 279
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Dan Heller has been a freelance photographer and photo industry analyst for over ten years — a career that started when he put his photos on his Web site, www.danheller.com. His work has been featured in publications from news and business media to fine art books.

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION: HOW WE GOT HERE.

PART 1: EVERYONE’S DOING IT. SO WHAT’SWRONG?

Preempting Misinformation.

How to Think About Model Releases.

Hey, You’re Not a Lawyer.

Remember: It’s Just Business.

Working with Your Clients’ Lawyers.

PART 2: WHAT’S A MODEL RELEASE?

Getting on the Same Page.

Who is Responsible?

Litigation in a Nutshell.

Minimizing Your Involvement.

The Licensee’s Responsibility.

How was the Image Acquired?

Was the Release Status Understood?

The Practical Approach.

The Role of Ethics.

War Stories from the Muddy Middle.

When the Best Intentions Go Awry.

Pay the Quarter to Avoid the Parking Ticket.

The Bottom Line in Business.

PART 3: UNDERSTANDING “USE”.

Defining “Publishing”.

Understanding Commercial Use.

Understanding Editorial Use.

Satire and Humor.

Artwork.

Blurred Lines.

The Perils of Publicizing.

Self-Publishing and Self-Promotion.

PART 4: ANALYZING THE NEED FOR A MODEL RELEASE.

Risk Analysis: The Three Key Questions.

How is the Photo to be Used?

Is the Subject Clearly Recognizable?

How Did You Take the Picture?

Model Releases and Compensation.

PART 5: DISSECTING A MODEL RELEASE.

Contract Authorship and the Spectrum of Risk.

Your Own Model Release.

Boilerplates Gone Bad.

A Simple Sample Model Release.

Revising a Release.

Considerations for Editorial Uses.

PART 6: DEALING WITH PHOTOS OF PROPERTY.

Understanding Copyrights.

Copyrights Protect Expression.

When Being Inspired Is Not Copying.

Establishing Copyright.

Understanding Trademarks.

Trademarks Protect Identity.

Limits to Trademark Protection.

Assessing Value.

Implications for Model Releases.

Testing the Trademark System.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Hearst Castle.

Navigating the Trademark and Copyright Office Web Sites.

Considerations for Copyrights.

Editorial Use.

Public Display.

Art and Commentary.

Found Art.

Satire.

Special Considerations for Photos of Buildings.

Commercial Buildings.

Personal Homes.

PART 7: THE BUSINESS OF LICENSING.

Who Owns What?

Work-for-Hire Contracts.

Non-Work-for-Hire Contracts.

Licensing Agreement Basics.

Signed License Agreements.

The Indemnity Clause.

Negotiation 101: The Quid Pro Quo.

The Unsigned “Implicit” Agreement.

INDEX.

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