When Photographers Need a Photo Release

When Photographers Need a Photo Release

When Photographers Need a Photo Release: Photography Law and Rights

It is easier now than ever before to take a picture anytime, anywhere, and of anyone. Thanks to the invention of smartphones it is just as easy to take the picture you took and post it online. Just about anyone with a smartphone or digital camera is seen as a photographer. But just because it is easy to take a picture and share it does that mean it is okay legally? Do you know if it’s okay legally to sell the picture you took? Read on for what everyone involved in photography needs to know about the law and their rights.

Privacy Laws: Who’s Picture Can You Take?

People have a reasonable expectation of privacy according to the Supreme court. What this means is that if you are in your house you have the right to be left alone. If that is what you want. This is not exactly the case when you are out in public. If you are in a public space you have forfeited part of your right to privacy. This means that if you are a photographer in a public space you can take a picture of anything you want. It doesn’t mean that you can stalk a private residence and take pictures.

Publicity Laws

Just because you can take a picture of anything you want doesn’t mean you can do anything you want with it. Everyone has the right to protect their likeness. You don’t have to be a celebrity in order to protect your likeness. When it comes to photography law and rights, likeness means a representation of a person used to promote products, services, or ideas. Likeness isn’t just a picture of a person.

Let’s say for example you asked a celebrity to take a picture with you. If you were to take that picture and use it for your idea, service, or product you would be violating their use of likeness rights. You would be in violation because they didn’t agree to promote it. However, you could sell that picture to a publication. The reason being is that they were just a regular person posing for a picture in public.

Photo Release Forms and Use of Likeness Forms

This is where a photo release form and use of likeness form comes in. Everyone has the right to protect their likeness from being used against their will. If the picture is going to be used to promote something then a photo release form is a must. It’s not just for celebrities either. We all have the right to select what things our likeness¬†promotes. If you are at a park and a photographer takes your picture it is perfectly legal. But if they take that picture and use it to promote a website or ad they are in violation.

What Photographers Are Responsible For

A use of likeness form and photo release form are not necessary if the picture isn’t being used to promote something. If that picture is being used to promote something then a use of likeness form and photo release form are necessary. Even if you are working alone you still need to get one signed. This gives you the legal right to sell the photo because the person gave you permission to.

If you are hired by a company for a photoshoot make sure they get those forms signed. Remember that if you are in public you can take all the pictures you want. You can even sell them to a publication. But make sure a release is signed if the picture will be used to promote something.

Photographers interested in protecting themselves with trademarks can learn more here.

Looking to start a business or grow your current business? Contact FL Patel Law today by visiting our website or calling 727-279-5037.

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