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Photography Question 
Charles Hooper

Model Release for Special Events

I an an Old Time Photographer and I take photos at County & State Fairs across country. I would like to post
these photos on a Web site for my customers, their families and friends in different Cities to purchase extra copies. I could also like to provide other items I can't provide at the Fair. Should I get my Customers to sign a blanket Model Release for this purpose. We do alot of children also.
I also deal with Rodeos, Parades, and youth sporting events. It's impossible to get releases at some of these events
like Little League.

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2/14/2007 8:21:26 AM

W.    "Should I get my Customers to sign a blanket Model Release for this purpose."

Customers don't sign Model Releases, Charles. Models do. In advance, before you take their photo. For in case that photo gets 'out there' at a later stage. Whomever purchases it.

If you're not in the USA then don't worry too much about Model Releases (unless you shoot subjects as real models, in-studio or out). Bystanders that coincidentally appear in photos and subsequently sue the photographers are engaging in a typical American cultural pastime: sue evrything in sight, for anything.
Most other western countries have a more relaxed gluteus maximus...

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2/14/2007 9:56:08 AM

Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  Companies that photograph large events such as high school games are fairly common. Many then post the images in a catalog section of their web site for family and friends to purchase. is a good size outfit here in St. Louis that offers images for over 50 high schools and events in such a manner.

The games, fairs, etc. that you described are public events so the door is wide open as far as any privacy issues. As long as you donít use the images to promote commerce or trade (advertising) then youíre okay. Now if you stick one of the images on your home page in a manner that may look as promotional, then that may be construed as a method of advertising and you should obtain a properly signed release for those images.


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2/14/2007 12:50:35 PM

Mark Feldstein
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2005
  Unfortunately Charles, the laws on privacy and releases aren't as clear-cut as Raymond suggests. Here's a link to a law review article covering this subject that I'm sure you'll find useful.

Understand that model releases don't prevent lawsuits in our litigious society but they go a long way toward defending a lawsuit. The laws pertaining to mass communications and publishing, both in print or electronically on the internet aren't as straightforward as logic might seem to dictate or our preferences would like.

And, while BP is a great place for photographic advice but as far as legal advice, even though everyone is clearly trying to be helpful, I wouldn't rely on it, even if it came from me and I'm a lawyer. LOL !!

So, I'll give you some advice you can rely on: Be prudent and check with a lawyer in your area who specializes in intellectual property. Buy some of their time, maybe an hour or so tops, get their opinion in writing on their letterhead and you can rely on that as a defense as well, if it's ever necessary along with any releases you get signed.

Take it light ;>)

Take it light.

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2/14/2007 3:51:14 PM

Charles Hooper   Thanks Ray & Mark for your imput. I think I'll Talk to a Lawyer in my area.

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2/14/2007 8:04:44 PM

Raymond H. Kemp
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/2/2004
  Glad to have been of help. Good luck with your venture.


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2/14/2007 9:10:19 PM

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