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 1

PART 1: EVERYONE’S DOING IT. SO WHAT’S WRONG? 9

Preempting Misinformation 12

How to Think About Model Releases 24

Hey, You’re Not a Lawyer 28

Remember: It’s Just Business 32

Working with Your Clients’ Lawyers 36

PART 2: WHAT’S A MODEL RELEASE? 41

Getting on the Same Page 44

Who is Responsible? 51

Litigation in a Nutshell 56

Minimizing Your Involvement 63

The Licensee’s Responsibility 69

How was the Image Acquired? 70

Was the Release Status Understood? 72

The Practical Approach 77

The Role of Ethics 82

War Stories from the Muddy Middle 83

When the Best Intentions Go Awry 84

Pay the Quarter to Avoid the Parking Ticket 86

The Bottom Line in Business 88

PART 3: UNDERSTANDING “USE” 93

Defining “Publishing” 97

Understanding Commercial Use 103

Understanding Editorial Use 106

Satire and Humor 108

Artwork 110

Blurred Lines 112

The Perils of Publicizing 114

Self-Publishing and Self-Promotion 126

PART 4: ANALYZING THE NEED FOR A MODEL RELEASE 131

Risk Analysis: The Three Key Questions 131

How is the Photo to be Used? 133

Is the Subject Clearly Recognizable? 134

How Did You Take the Picture? 136

Model Releases and Compensation 145

PART 5: DISSECTING A MODEL RELEASE 151

Contract Authorship and the Spectrum of Risk 154

Your Own Model Release 158

Boilerplates Gone Bad 159

A Simple Sample Model Release 162

Revising a Release 166

Considerations for Editorial Uses 171

PART 6: DEALING WITH PHOTOS OF PROPERTY 173

Understanding Copyrights 180

Copyrights Protect Expression 180

When Being Inspired Is Not Copying 183

Establishing Copyright 189

Understanding Trademarks 192

Trademarks Protect Identity 192

Limits to Trademark Protection 195

Assessing Value 198

Implications for Model Releases 202

Testing the Trademark System 211

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 211

Hearst Castle 212

Navigating the Trademark and Copyright Office Web Sites 216

Considerations for Copyrights 218

Editorial Use 224

Public Display 226

Art and Commentary 226

Found Art 228

Satire 228

Special Considerations for Photos of Buildings 231

Commercial Buildings 234

Personal Homes 236

PART 7: THE BUSINESS OF LICENSING 243

Who Owns What? 247

Work-for-Hire Contracts 250

Non-Work-for-Hire Contracts 252

Licensing Agreement Basics 255

Signed License Agreements 256

The Indemnity Clause 257

Negotiation 101: The Quid Pro Quo 264

The Unsigned “Implicit” Agreement 267

INDEX 274

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