A release is a written agreement between you and the person you are photographing, or the person who owns the property you are photographing, which gives you permission to sell the image commercially. If the image is used in an advertisment or promotion it will need a release, but you can sell an image for “Editorial use” even if it doesn’t have a release.
- Commercial use
- is when an image is used to advertise, promote, sell or endorse a product, service, organisation or brand. Examples include billboards and print advertising.
- Editorial use
- is when an image is used in conjunction with, and to illustrate, a story or descriptive piece of text. Examples include magazine or newspaper features and books.
- A model release
- says the person being photographed has given consent to be photographed and to the use of the images you capture. It doesn’t just apply to professional models or situations where people know they are posing for photos. You should seek to get a signed model release any time that your photos contain images of people, unless you are certain that you will never want to use them for anything other than editorial purposes.
- A property release
- says that the owner of a certain property, such as a pet or a building, has given you consent to take and use images of the property. You don’t need one for public property, such as government buildings (although you may run into problems just from photographing them, for security reasons). But for images of private property — and particularly of objects that are closely identified with specific people — you are safer if you get a release.
The releases you obtain should be saved forever and should be linked in some way with the photographs to which they relate. You can expect to be asked to produce them whenever you license an image, and you will need them if you ever have to defend yourself in court.
Some definitions courtesy of American Society of Media Photographers.Top
- To maximise the potential to sell your images for “Commercial use”.
- To sell your images Royalty Free.
- If a person can recognise themselves in an image. Examples when you need a model release also include, crowd scenes, team sports, and scenarios when the face is not visible such as parts of the body, or silhouettes. For a picture of two people shaking hands, where only the hands are in shot, you need two model releases.
- Get a signed and dated release. Make your releases as broad as you can, you never know where an image may be used.
- Put a photograph of the model on the release.
- Ensure you have all releases signed before you commence shooting.
- Obtain a release for every day of the shoot if you are photographing the same model or property.
- Get a parent or guardian to sign a release on behalf of a minor (under 18).
- Make sure your releases are in perpetuity (for all time).
- If the model is deceased you still need a signed release from their heirs if an image is going to be used commercially. Records about heirs are normally publicly available at government offices.
- When you register and “sign” the Contributor Agreement you agree to Clause 1.4.4 and 4.6.
Uploading and assigning model / property releases to your images
- Go to My Alamy.
- Under “Organise images”, click “Manage images”.
- Next to each image, indicate whether there are people or property that need a release.
- Indicate whether you have a release
- In Manage Images go to upload releases link in toolbar at top. This should open a window similar to upload images.
- Select the “choose releases to upload” on the top right hand side. Select the releases you wish to upload from the browse function (you can select multiple releases to upload at one time) then click upload.
- When the files have uploaded you can search for the images which require the releases using Manage Images’ search function. When you have found the image, open it and bring up the attributes tab.
- In the box to the right of “Do you have model / property releases? – yes” is the “Assign releases” box. Click on this box and it will open a list of your uploaded releases on the left hand side with “model/property release(s) assigned to this image” window on the right.
- Select your appropriate model/property release and click the “Add” button. Your model/property release will now appear in the right hand side window. Click save and close. There should now be (1) to the right of the Assign releases box. Save changes and close the image box.
Note: The licence type you set for your images may be determined for you depending on your answers to questions 3 and 4.Top
The summary below is intended to provide general guidelines and information with respect to releases. It should not be thought of as a definitive guide and we recommend that if you have questions concerning the need for a release, you should consult a lawyer.
Remember, if your Rights Managed (RM) images are intended to be used editorially, i.e. non commercial use then a release should not be required.
However if you intend to sell your Rights Managed (RM) images for commercial use, or wish to sell them on Alamy as either Royalty Free (RF) or Rights Managed - Exclusive (RM-E) then the below summary applies:
|Identifiable||Any person who is identifiable in any way||Yes|
|Silhouette||Recognisable by shape||Yes|
|Professional sports and team logos (identifiable)||The players face and/or the players number, team jersey logo, or helmet icon is visible||Yes|
|Crowd scene||Any person who is identifiable in any way||Yes|
|Public / Civil servants, uniforms and equipment||Police, Fire, Medics||Yes|
|Celebrities or public figures||Recognisable figures photographed in an arranged or public situation intended for any advertising use||Yes|
|Body part (hand model)||Includes all body parts, even if face is not visible||Yes|
|Galleries, museums, theme parks, and places open to public.||Depends on the photographic policy of the property concerned. Some places open to the public have photographic policies in place which may mean that by taking images on these properties you are bound by contract.||Yes|
|Public property||Government buildings, public schools, parks.||No|
|Private property - identifiable.||Homes, office buildings, private schools, universities and the surrounding property, cars, boats, private and corporate jets and planes. Studio locations with identifiable features.||Yes|
|Private property - unidentifiable.||Locations with no identifiable features.||No|
|Private property from public accessible location. For example, a street or motorway.||Building(s) in an image whose central focus is not these buildings. For example landscapes and skylines.||No|
|Famous locations, landmarks.||Release required unless properties classified as being in the public domain. Rules vary from building to building and country to country so it is incumbent on you to check your legal position with regards to such images.||Yes / No|
|Corporate logos and insignias.||Any trademarked logos or insignias.||Yes|
|Historic Locations.||Monument or historic home. Need to check with property owner.||Yes / No|
|Product designs||Recognisable designs that may be subject to a patent or trademark, this can stretch from everything from computers, MP3 players through to children’s toys and figurines.||Yes|
|Corporate logos and insignias.||Any trademarked logos or insignias.||Yes|
|Pet / Zoo / Farm / or rare animals.||A recognisable animal. Excludes wildlife.||Yes|
|Publicly displayed art.||Privately-owned art that is publicly displayed. Excludes art classified as being in the public domain.||Yes|
|Works of Art.||Sculptures, paintings, drawings, installations etc. Photographs of Artwork that is protected by copyright should not be submitted to Alamy.||Yes|
|Logos / trademarks.||Images which are of a logo and very little else should not be uploaded to Alamy as they represent a breach of copyright. Images which include identifiable logos or trademarks can only be sold for editorial usages, and should be restricted for advertising and promotional usages.||Yes|
The information supplied by Alamy above and on the site in regards to model and property releases is intended solely for information only. You should not rely upon it for any specific questions you may have in regards to model/property releases. You are advised to seek legal advice before relying on any information contained in these guidelines or on the site.
The single most important consideration is that the information that you apply to your images on Alamy is current and correct. Customers will be clear whether they need a release and the site does allow then to filter in/out released images. If they are supplied with the facts they can make an informed judgment based on their particular project. Please be aware that if you claim that you have a model/property release when you do not, then you risk litigation.Top