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Author Topic: doubt about WHEN model release is needed  (Read 1485 times)

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« on: May 17, 2018, 07:05 »
0
Hi everyone. I'm learning the theory behind stock footage upload workflow. A question raised, regarding model (and for that matter property...) releases.

So, it's pretty obvious that a recognizable face must have a signed release by the model in question. But... when there is a model (or many like in a street scene) but not recognizable, can it be uploaded as a commercial clip even without model release? What about (for instance), a close-up of, say, two hands writing on a keyboard (no face). Would that require a release?

So, for instance, i thought this shot would need a release, but it turns out it's being sold as a commercial clip stating clearly that it has NO model release. I know the model is seen from behind (no face), but still:

https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/134920/ibiza-dancer-gogo-woman-club-disco.html [nofollow]

This next one shows parts of 2 different bodies, IS sold for commercial purposes, and has NO release:

https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/73505213/tatoos-artist-using-needle-and-dabing-colour.html [nofollow]

I'm a bit confused. The same questions go to property (example... shooting a known city square where one can recognize buildings in background...)


« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2018, 08:35 »
+1
Hi everyone. I'm learning the theory behind stock footage upload workflow. A question raised, regarding model (and for that matter property...) releases.

So, it's pretty obvious that a recognizable face must have a signed release by the model in question. But... when there is a model (or many like in a street scene) but not recognizable, can it be uploaded as a commercial clip even without model release? What about (for instance), a close-up of, say, two hands writing on a keyboard (no face). Would that require a release?

So, for instance, i thought this shot would need a release, but it turns out it's being sold as a commercial clip stating clearly that it has NO model release. I know the model is seen from behind (no face), but still:

https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/134920/ibiza-dancer-gogo-woman-club-disco.html

This next one shows parts of 2 different bodies, IS sold for commercial purposes, and has NO release:

https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/73505213/tatoos-artist-using-needle-and-dabing-colour.html

I'm a bit confused. The same questions go to property (example... shooting a known city square where one can recognize buildings in background...)
You are right to be confused policy varies from site to site as does the interpretation of inspectors. "Recognisable" is a bit of a subjective term. Probably the only way to go is submit and learn from experience.

« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2018, 10:17 »
0
Hi everyone. I'm learning the theory behind stock footage upload workflow. A question raised, regarding model (and for that matter property...) releases.

So, it's pretty obvious that a recognizable face must have a signed release by the model in question. But... when there is a model (or many like in a street scene) but not recognizable, can it be uploaded as a commercial clip even without model release? What about (for instance), a close-up of, say, two hands writing on a keyboard (no face). Would that require a release?

So, for instance, i thought this shot would need a release, but it turns out it's being sold as a commercial clip stating clearly that it has NO model release. I know the model is seen from behind (no face), but still:

https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/134920/ibiza-dancer-gogo-woman-club-disco.html [nofollow]

This next one shows parts of 2 different bodies, IS sold for commercial purposes, and has NO release:

https://www.pond5.com/stock-footage/73505213/tatoos-artist-using-needle-and-dabing-colour.html [nofollow]

I'm a bit confused. The same questions go to property (example... shooting a known city square where one can recognize buildings in background...)
You are right to be confused policy varies from site to site as does the interpretation of inspectors. "Recognisable" is a bit of a subjective term. Probably the only way to go is submit and learn from experience.

Oh "nice". Ok, i'll pass on this subject for the moment. Thanks for the clarification. I suppose Pond5 is more permissive, since all the "doubtful" clips i found were uploaded there.

« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2018, 15:02 »
+1
I agree with Pauws99, but will add some personal experience.

Years ago, when I was first starting with iStock, I had a shot of a balloon salesman on the beach in Cabo.  You could see nothing of him but the lower part of his legs, as he was totally covered in balloons.  iStock rejected it for trademark.  Well, sure enough, several of the balloons had trademarks on them.  I was just learning Photoshop in those days, so asked our group's artist for some help in removing them (since my first attempt was a total mess).  He did so, and I learned some PS in the process.  But... iStock still rejected the image.

They wrote me a real, honest, personalized email (I was impressed!), apologizing, but hoped I would understand.  Given the surroundings (beach, with recognizable hotel), and the nature of the sales, they said it would be possible for that salesman to look at that image and identify himself in it. As such, they still had to decline the image.  I was bummed out, but avoided pretty much all people for years after that.

Fast forward to this past year. I learned about Editorial, and started to submit a lot of images (some rather old) in that category.  All have been accepted (except for those with focus or noise issues). These included several images of closeups of hands doing various things (cooking, sewing, weaving, etc -- things I came across in my travels).

Multiple agencies (not ShutterStock, but I can't really remember which), actually bumped them over to Commercial, saying they thought they would sell better there. Even though I know these are images of the type that iStock would have rejected a decade ago. (I no longer submit to iStock because of their insanely low royalties, so don't know their reaction today to those images).

So...  it is a moving target.  Both regards the agencies and regards time. What is accepted or rejected today may be the flip next year.  Just because one agency rejects it as commercial, doesn't mean another won't accept it.

My advice... submit as commercial to each of your agencies.  If any particular agency rejects for editorial reasons, just resubmit as editorial.

« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2018, 17:41 »
0
I agree with Pauws99, but will add some personal experience.

Years ago, when I was first starting with iStock, I had a shot of a balloon salesman on the beach in Cabo.  You could see nothing of him but the lower part of his legs, as he was totally covered in balloons.  iStock rejected it for trademark.  Well, sure enough, several of the balloons had trademarks on them.  I was just learning Photoshop in those days, so asked our group's artist for some help in removing them (since my first attempt was a total mess).  He did so, and I learned some PS in the process.  But... iStock still rejected the image.

They wrote me a real, honest, personalized email (I was impressed!), apologizing, but hoped I would understand.  Given the surroundings (beach, with recognizable hotel), and the nature of the sales, they said it would be possible for that salesman to look at that image and identify himself in it. As such, they still had to decline the image.  I was bummed out, but avoided pretty much all people for years after that.

Fast forward to this past year. I learned about Editorial, and started to submit a lot of images (some rather old) in that category.  All have been accepted (except for those with focus or noise issues). These included several images of closeups of hands doing various things (cooking, sewing, weaving, etc -- things I came across in my travels).

Multiple agencies (not ShutterStock, but I can't really remember which), actually bumped them over to Commercial, saying they thought they would sell better there. Even though I know these are images of the type that iStock would have rejected a decade ago. (I no longer submit to iStock because of their insanely low royalties, so don't know their reaction today to those images).

So...  it is a moving target.  Both regards the agencies and regards time. What is accepted or rejected today may be the flip next year.  Just because one agency rejects it as commercial, doesn't mean another won't accept it.

My advice... submit as commercial to each of your agencies.  If any particular agency rejects for editorial reasons, just resubmit as editorial.

That's a really interesting situation... I'm really impressed that they wrote you a personalised mail (I wonder if they would still do it today). And it actually makes some sense their justification to not allowing your photo to be sold for commercial purposes...

Anyway, i'm gonna lay back a bit on that subject, and just see what they will tell me! thanks for the useful answers!

« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2018, 22:34 »
0
you said: "they said it would be possible for that salesman to look at that image and identify himself in it"

there is no such protection for being able to self identify yourself in a video or photo in almost every country in the world. this is just a nonsense rejection from an agency that does not understand copyrights, trademarks, and likeness rights. there are some countries where you cannot take a person's photo without his permission, but this is rare.

in order for it to be a violation, the general public would have to be able to identify him, not the individual, his immediate  family, etc.

here is an example. I made a TV commercial, and after it ran on tv, the main actor told me that random people that he met in the following weeks asked him if he was the person from that TV commercial. that means that the general public recognizes him as being the person in that video.

if you show the photo of the salesman to people in his town, and no one can recognize him (which would probably happen), he has no rights, regardless as to whether he can self identify himself. in addition, how does someone prove in a court of law that he is the guy in the photo if it just shows his pant leg? the person could be any of millions of people, and he wouldn't even be able to prove to itsock that he is the salesman in the photo, let alone a court of law. it makes no sense. you do not need the person's permission simply because his pant leg is showing in a  photo according to US law or laws of most countries.


« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2018, 23:29 »
+2
there is no such protection for being able to self identify yourself in a video or photo

I think you miss the point entirely.  It doesn't matter one whit what the law says, or what could be defended successfully in court if such a suit were drawn.  Each agency has the right to decide what will, and will not, be accepted.  iStock, in the specific case I described, chose not to accept it.  Basically they were (probably "are") very risk averse.

When they stand to make a small number of dollars from each image, why would they want to invite trouble by putting up an image that might result in a lawsuit costing 10's of thousands of $?  Remember, at the time of this story, the "editorial" setting did not exist.

Some agencies might be more lax, while others may be even more concerned.  I know that SS has frequently bounced images because they claim a property release is required. I resubmit as editorial, and they accept them.  That was not an option in 2007, when that Cabo balloon salesman image was submitted.

« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2018, 12:29 »
0
Hi guys,
Just out of curiosity (as I never resubmit any rejected images as editorial): Do they sell regularly as editorial?
I get the impression from the forum (silly me) that editorial images sell waaaay too little, and arent worth the bother. Obviously there could be cases of people who earn a living shooting only editorial, but in general, are they likely to sell just a little as commercial, or a lot less ?
thanks!

Brasilnut

  • Author of the Brutally Honest Guide to Microstock
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2018, 13:03 »
0
Quote
Hi guys,
Just out of curiosity (as I never resubmit any rejected images as editorial): Do they sell regularly as editorial?
I get the impression from the forum (silly me) that editorial images sell waaaay too little, and arent worth the bother. Obviously there could be cases of people who earn a living shooting only editorial, but in general, are they likely to sell just a little as commercial, or a lot less ?
thanks!

You're less likely to get a big sale with them...over $50, but yes they do sell regularly, at least for me. I'd estimate that they're about 50% less valuable (on average) but they're also easier to submit and post-process. About half of my portfolio consist of editorials.

Some photographers do earn a living submitting editorial, mainly the breaking news types.

Sometimes it doesn't take that much effort to turn an editorial image into commercial. I worked on this one this morning and took me about 20 minutes (it's not perfect but good enough).
 
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 03:15 by Brasilnut »

« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2018, 13:15 »
0
You're less likely to get a big sale with them...over $50, but yes they do sell regularly, at least for me. I'd estimate that they're about 50% less valuable but they're also easier to submit and post-process. About half of my portfolio consist of editorials.

Some photographers do earn a living submitting editorial, mainly the breaking news types.

Yep, I was about to say the same, and note that these editorials account for about 50% of my revenue.  But mine are not "breaking news" images. Rather, street images taken during my travels.

We travel the world frequently (India, Dubai, New York already this year, Calif next month, then Namibia and Botswana in July. More still being planned).  I photograph mostly for my travel blog, but then I cull through those I think may also sell, and post them.  If there is a trademark involved, I might Photoshop it out first. If a face or recognizable car brand though, I just post as editorial.

Very rarely do those get the $30+ royalties, but they are daily 36 cents per download, adding up to $100 a month or so for the editorial.  (Yes, you can do the math, and my total sales are around $200/mo...)

« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2018, 23:15 »
0
you said: "I think you miss the point entirely. "

no, you are completely wrong.

the stock agencies have made up their own imaginary rules that are not supported by laws. they drew the line somewhere. the problem is that we can easily move the line, using their own understanding of trademarks and copyrights, to basically make everything illegal.

for example, stock agencies think that clothing can be trademarked or copyrighted and therefor cannot be in a photo. they are wrong. if they were right, by their own definition, you could argue that only photos that depict completely nude people are legal, and all photos that show any clothing should not be permitted.

recently announced, no photos that have animals such as monkeys in non-natural positions (such as wearing a tie and hat), because the monkey did not decide to willingly wear the clothing. by the same definition, the stock sites should ban all photos of babies, people in jail, or anyone else who is doing something unwillingly. babies and incarcerated people don't get to decide the clothes they wear. kids under 4 can't make decisions for themselves so all photos of kids under 4 should be banned.

stock agencies think that manufactured goods, such as cars, houses, property, toys, sunglasses, are all protected by rights that prevent us from selling photographs with those items. the agencies are wrong. if they were rgith, you would not be able to sell any photo that contains any man made product, including blank walls because clearly by the agency definition the sheetrock is protected intellectual property.

you can't film in national parks due to recent laws about commercial use of federal lands, clothing is protected, all manufactured goods are protected, so by their definition we can only legally film nude people and some nature photos. they are wrong.

the true fact of the matter is that you have the right to sell almost any photo you take because trademarks and copyrights are for protected classes and do not transfer to photography. for example, you can have ford motors and ford bakeries but you can't have 2 companies using the ford name to make cars.

copyrights protect the photo, not what is in the photo. you run into problems if you make exact duplicates of other people's works (such as photographing another photo). you can take photos of logos such as the Ford logo and sell it. it has been upheld in court (Daniel Moore vs U of Alabama).

the US copyright office has an extensive list of products that are not protected by copyright, that is freely available, yet stock agencies claim that they have copyright protection that they explicitly do not have. stock agencies do not use the resource of government information to interpret copyright laws, they just make up their own laws based on vast misunderstandings of laws.

ignorance has harmed the stock industry.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 23:18 by unnonimus »

« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2018, 23:21 »
0
you said: "Years ago, when I was first starting with iStock, I had a shot of a balloon salesman on the beach in Cabo.  You could see nothing of him but the lower part of his legs, as he was totally covered in balloons.  iStock rejected it for trademark. "


trademarks are protected by the lanham act. there is nothing in the lanham act that prevents you from taking photos of trademarks and selling those photos.

daniel moore vs u of alabama has upheld that it is legal to sell photos that contain trademarks.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2018, 23:53 by unnonimus »

SpaceStockFootage

  • Space, Sci-Fi and Astronomy Related Stock Footage

« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2018, 00:09 »
+1
The thing you seem to forget every single time is that because something is legal or isn't illegal, doesn't mean that agencies have to accept it. They may be 'imaginary rules' but they are within their rights to make up whatever rules they want. If a brand new agency wants to only accept black and white images then they're more than welcome to do that. There are no laws saying that photos can't be in colour, but just because colour photos aren't illegal, doesn't mean that this new black and white agency have to accept colour photos.

It's perfectly legal for me to bake a loaf of bread, but if I send that loaf to Shutterstock HQ they have no obligation to list it for sale on the site. 

Likewise, I can make up an imaginary rule that people have to wear orange shoes or they can't come in my house. There is no law forcing you to wear orange shoes, but there is a law stating that you can't come in my house if I haven't given you permission to do so... and if you ain't got your orange shoes on, then my 'imaginary rule' is supported by law.

There are a few exceptions, but none of them have ever popped up in your arguments. For example, if Fotolia had a policy that they won't accept any submissions from black people... that;s going to land them in a lot of trouble. But if they don;t want pictures in colour, pictures of people wearing clothes, pictures of any types of products... even taken with certain cameras, in certain resolutions or aspect ratios... they're more than welcome to not accept them.

You may not be breaking any laws by submitting your images or selling your images, but they're not breaking any laws by not accepting them. So although your advice may be 'correct' when it comes to a legal standpoint, it rarely has much basis in reality with regards to the agencies... and just serves to confuse people when they're asking for advice related to getting content accepted at stock agencies.

 

« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2018, 01:13 »
+2
you said: "I think you miss the point entirely. "

no, you are completely wrong.

the stock agencies have made up their own imaginary rules that are not supported by laws.

TOTALLY NOT RELEVANT.  They are a private business, not a government. They can make whatever rules they wish, as long as those rules do not violate the law.

You are pissing up the wrong tree, and appear more interesting in arguing than in helping anyone understand the actual environment into which we are all selling.  I am out of this "discussion," since you are now just acting the role of troll.

« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2018, 01:31 »
+1
you said: "I think you miss the point entirely. "

no, you are completely wrong.

the stock agencies have made up their own imaginary rules that are not supported by laws. they drew the line somewhere. the problem is that we can easily move the line, using their own understanding of trademarks and copyrights, to basically make everything illegal.

for example, stock agencies think that clothing can be trademarked or copyrighted and therefor cannot be in a photo. they are wrong. if they were right, by their own definition, you could argue that only photos that depict completely nude people are legal, and all photos that show any clothing should not be permitted.

recently announced, no photos that have animals such as monkeys in non-natural positions (such as wearing a tie and hat), because the monkey did not decide to willingly wear the clothing. by the same definition, the stock sites should ban all photos of babies, people in jail, or anyone else who is doing something unwillingly. babies and incarcerated people don't get to decide the clothes they wear. kids under 4 can't make decisions for themselves so all photos of kids under 4 should be banned.

stock agencies think that manufactured goods, such as cars, houses, property, toys, sunglasses, are all protected by rights that prevent us from selling photographs with those items. the agencies are wrong. if they were rgith, you would not be able to sell any photo that contains any man made product, including blank walls because clearly by the agency definition the sheetrock is protected intellectual property.

you can't film in national parks due to recent laws about commercial use of federal lands, clothing is protected, all manufactured goods are protected, so by their definition we can only legally film nude people and some nature photos. they are wrong.

the true fact of the matter is that you have the right to sell almost any photo you take because trademarks and copyrights are for protected classes and do not transfer to photography. for example, you can have ford motors and ford bakeries but you can't have 2 companies using the ford name to make cars.

copyrights protect the photo, not what is in the photo. you run into problems if you make exact duplicates of other people's works (such as photographing another photo). you can take photos of logos such as the Ford logo and sell it. it has been upheld in court (Daniel Moore vs U of Alabama).

the US copyright office has an extensive list of products that are not protected by copyright, that is freely available, yet stock agencies claim that they have copyright protection that they explicitly do not have. stock agencies do not use the resource of government information to interpret copyright laws, they just make up their own laws based on vast misunderstandings of laws.

ignorance has harmed the stock industry.

And I say unto you go learn how to take photos and what kind of camera and lenses you need

Because you ain't no photographer

« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2018, 05:09 »
+2
What is the difference between an "imaginary" rule and a real rule?

« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2018, 21:16 »
+3
Unless you plan to spend time in court and money on lawyers to argue the toss about questionable intellectual property issues, ignore all advice regarding intellectual property from the user unnonimus. It is irrelevant hair splitting over the possible interpretations of legalities if any issue actually went to court.

As a stock photographer, you want to avoid going to court - it eats up time and earnings and the goal is to make money not case law.

Agencies have their requirements - and they're not uniform - but are generally risk averse. As the photographer, you probably should err on the side of caution and get releases wherever possible. Don't end up like the photographer in Dance Steps on Broadway - he got the agency to take the photo down and still ended up having to settle the suit.


 

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