Model and Entertainment Release FAQ - United States


An Model and Entertainment Release used to give a photographer or promoter the right to freely use and distribute material relating to images, photos, video or sound recordings.
What is a Model and Entertainment Release
What is a Model and Entertainment Release?

A Model and Entertainment Release is a contract in which the subject of a photograph, video, writing, or audio recording consents to the use of a photograph, video, writing, or audio recording by an artist or a third party for commercial purposes such as advertising, publication in magazines, etc.

How does LawDepot’s Model and Entertainment Release differ from similar releases?

LawDepot’s Model and Entertainment Release is customizable for a variety of situations. It can be used as a photo release, a film/video release, an acting/performance release, and a sound recording release. It can also be used as a broad release for the use of the model’s image, likeness, or sound across multiple mediums.

Purpose of Model Release
What is a broad release?

A broad release is used to obtain consent from a model to use the model’s image, likeness, or sound across multiple mediums.

What is a photo release?

A photo release is used to obtain consent from a model to use the model’s image in a photograph.

What is a film/video release?

A film/video release is used to obtain consent from a model to use the model’s image, likeness, or sound in a film or video release.

What is an acting/performance release?

An acting/performance release is used to obtain consent from a model to use the model’s image, likeness, or sound in a performance.

What is a sound release?

A sound release is used to obtain consent from a model to use the model’s sound in an audio recording, performance, film or video.

Governing Law
Which State or Province do I select for Governing Law?

You should select the state or province in which the photo, video, writing, or sound recording was primarily created.

Photographer/Producer/Artist Information
If the artist is representing a company, should I put down the artist’s information or the company’s information?

If the artist created a work of art (sound recording, photo, etc.) while performing his or her job for a company, the company owns the copyright to the work of art. Consequently, if the artist is representing a company, enter the company’s information.

Model Information
Who is the Model?

For the Model and Entertainment Release Agreement, the model is the person whose image, likeness, or sound is being used.

Why does it matter if the model is a minor?

If the model is a minor, he or she will need parental permission to approve of the use of his or her image, likeness, or sound.

How do you define a “minor”?

Within the context of the Model and Entertainment Release, a minor is anyone who is legally under the age of adulthood in the jurisdiction where the contract is governed, even if the model is considered an adult in the jurisdiction where he or she lives.

Photograph Rights
What can I take pictures of?

When taking photos:

  • You can photograph people who are in public view. For example, you can take a photograph of a person sitting on a park bench.
  • You do not need parental permission to take photographs of minors in public view.
  • You cannot photograph people when they are in a private area or otherwise out of public view, unless you have their permission. For example, you cannot take a picture of someone in a public bathroom or changing room without his or her permission.

The above are general rules to which there are exceptions. All photos are different, and different jurisdictions have different laws. If you want to know your rights and/or the rights of your subject(s) regarding a specific photo, please contact a local attorney.

What pictures can I publish for non-commercial purposes?

When publishing photos for non-commercial purposes:

  • You cannot publish a photo of a subject if the photo could cause personal or financial harm to the subject, unless the photo is newsworthy or you have the permission of the subject.
  • To determine if a photo is newsworthy you must consider the subject of the photo and what he or she is doing. For example, a photo of police arresting a suspected criminal is newsworthy and may therefore be published for non-commercial purposes, even though it may cause personal or financial harm to the subject.
  • Some people (politicians, celebrities, etc.) are newsworthy regardless of what they are doing. As such, you may be able to publish a photo of a newsworthy person doing something that might cause embarrassment or personal or financial harm. The reasoning behind this is that the public is interested and has a right to information about newsworthy people, even if that information is embarrassing or harmful.
  • If a photo depicts a non-newsworthy person doing something that is not newsworthy but that might cause harm or embarrassment, you should not publish it without obtaining a signed Model Consent from the subject.

The above are general rules to which there are exceptions. All photos are different, and different jurisdictions have different laws. If you want to know your rights and/or the rights of your subject(s) regarding a specific photo, please contact a local attorney.

What pictures can I publish for commercial purposes?

When publishing photos for commercial purposes:

  • You need the permission of every identifiable model in the photo, even if the photo was taken in a public space. For example, if a photo has 10 identifiable models in the photo, you would require a model release for each of them.
  • If a model is a minor, you need parental permission as well.
  • You should ensure that every model in a photo that will be used for a commercial purpose signs a Model Consent.

The above are general rules to which there are exceptions. All photos are different, and different jurisdictions have different laws. If you want to know your rights and/or the rights of your subject(s) regarding a specific photo, please contact a local attorney.

What does "Commercial Purpose" mean?

A commercial purpose is a purpose with a goal of making money. A creation is used for a commercial purpose if it is:

  • Sold by itself, whether it is the original or a duplicate, whether it is unaltered or altered.
  • Part of a product that is being sold, i.e. a recording on a CD or a photo in a book.
  • Used for advertising or promotional purposes.
I took a picture of a friend and plan to post it on MySpace, Facebook, Flickr and other websites. Do I need my friend’s permission?

If you have even the slightest reason to believe that your friend would not want you to post the picture, you should seek his or her permission before posting. It is always better to err on the side of caution. This is especially true if the photo is embarrassing or could otherwise cause personal or financial harm to your friend.

Who owns the copyright to a photograph?

Generally, whoever pressed the shutter button on the camera is the copyright holder for the resulting photo. This applies even if someone other than the photographer came up with the idea for the photo.

One exception occurs when a photographer takes a photo as part of his or her job duties. In this case, the employer of the photographer would own the copyright. For example, if a staff journalist takes a photo of an accident for his newspaper while performing his job, the newspaper owns the copyright to the photo. This exception does not apply to freelance photographers.

Who owns the copyright to an artistic creation?

Generally, whoever creates the work of art is the copyright holder. This applies even if someone other than the creator of the work of art came up with the idea for the work of art.

One exception occurs when an artist creates a work of art as part of his or her job duties. In this case, the employer of the artist would own the copyright. For example, if an illustrator creates an illustration for the ad agency she works for while performing her job, the ad agency owns the copyright to the illustration.

 

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