The August issue of Shutterbug magazine has an interesting article on the need to obtain a model release. Glenn also briefly covered the subject at his blog in May. Given some of us are doing studio next weekend, I’ll give a quick (but not comprehensive) overview of model releases.
What is a model release?
A model release is a simple form that provides clarity around copyright and your rights to use the image.
Why do I need one?
Models releases vary in format, but a signed release demonstrates that the model has acknowledged your right to copyright and limits their right to object to images being used commercially in the future.
Even if you’re shooting a subject with no intention of commercially exploiting the image at the time, you should ensure that a release is signed. Circumstances may change down the track and no model release has the potential to limit your ability to use the image later on.
If you’re shooting a family member or friend who is happy to sit for you it is best to get them to sign a release in case things go pear-shaped later. People can get resentful if they perceive that you are making money from their image! For persons under the age of 18 you should have the consent of their parent or guardian.
This advice is quite general and resources you may find elsewhere on the Internet may not address the specifics of Australian law so, if you’re searching online for further information on the topic, please bear this in mind.
I’ve updated the article to include a link to the Arts Law Centre of Australia Online. Members can download a copy of a model agreement written from an Australian perspective for $35.