Property and Model Releases

Model Release: The objective of a good model release, from the perspective of a photographer, is an agreement from the model protecting – releasing – him/her from future possible legal claims that could be brought against the photographer.

The model release therefore should clearly articulate 1) the photographer has the right to take and use the photograph, 2) what the photographer can do with the photo – including time, usage, transferability, modifying the picture, etc., 3) that the model expressly states they are giving consideration for the release (there can be additional compensation negotiated – its up to the parties) and 4) ideally, for the photographer, the terms are as open-ended as possible.
Other considerations are the jurisdiction, or what laws govern.  Ideally, the selections are what is easiest for you and your business.

Remember that it is good business practice to add as many specifics about the shoot as needed for the model to know exactly what is happening with the use of their likeness.

Sensitive Issues Clause : If there is any chance at all that the model may not like where their likeness is being used, you should have the model sign a Sensitive Issues Clause. Some sensitive areas include (but are not limited to) HIV/Aids, Transgender, Child Abuse and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Always use good moral judgment!

Minor Child Release : Minor children must always have an adult sign for them. Make sure to check that the person with the child has the authority to sign for that child.

Limited Model Release : Use this release if you are positive that the images you are creating will be used for self-promotion ONLY.

Property Release : The most important use of a property release is for advertising, big corporations or if you are worried about a trademark. When in doubt, get a release.

Credit: These releases were created by Drew Epstein of Barker, Epstein & Loscocco. Drew specializes in copyright, trademark, photography and art law and has represented hundreds of design and image professionals. He is a longtime member of the Board of Directors of the Photographic Resource Center at Boston University and was also an adjunct professor there for 6 years, where he taught Legal Issues for Arts Administrators. http://www.photolaw.net.