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model release forms for street photography

Discussion in 'Talking Pictures' started by lfc1892, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. lfc1892

    lfc1892 Well-Known Member

    Are they required in the UK for street photography if it's to be published or sold?
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  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    No. They're never required by law in the UK as such, just that without one, you leave yourself open to civil action if the picture is used to show the subject endorsing a product (i.e. in advertising), or otherwise defames them in some way. Some publishers require them, but that's a different matter.
  3. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    By coincidence a very similar discussion developed on a thread in the RPS Forum. Here is my contribution posted last night:

    (In answer to point about model release forms for street photography)

    Please be assured that, with "street" photographs in UK, there is absolutely no problem in the circumstances you suggest.

    In UK anyone is entitled to take any photograph, if he/she (the photographer) is in a public place. Even if what they are photographing is in a private place. No model release form is required to use such photographs in normal circumstances.

    The only possible exception is if the photographs are used in such a way as to suggest that a recognisable person is endorsing a particular view or product. For example, a photograph used in such a way that it suggests the person or people in it subscribe to a particular political view or endorse a particular car, variety of chocolate or whatever.

    However, it may be sensible to take account of current public opinion, even when it is wholly deviant. For example, it is absolutely legal to stand in a public street and take photographs of children through the railings of a school playground. But, I suggest, it might be imprudent to do so. Defeatism? Well, maybe. But sometimes I think it is better not to cause public upset, no matter how ill-founded such upset may be. Remember that enthusiastic amateur photographers like us are a minority and, by definition, democracy legislates against minorities if we push the politicians too hard.
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  4. lfc1892

    lfc1892 Well-Known Member

    Great advice and help guys. Thank you
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  5. Done_rundleCams

    Done_rundleCams AP Forum Ambassador to Canada

    FWIW, albeit in Canada, when I was shooting for newspapers and magasines, the publications, usually, wanted
    me to try get names of the people in the photo, if possible, but, never a model release. The only photographers that
    I knew that always carried model releases were those shooting for stock photography.


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  6. Model releases are important for stock photographers.
    Are there any countries where laws make you sign one with all the participants of a street photo?
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  7. dan marchant

    dan marchant Well-Known Member

    Actually in regard to UK law these comments are incorrect. The UK has no image rights or right of publicity laws and so it is perfectly legal to use someone's likeness, even in advertising. This is something that was reiterated in the judgement of the 2013 case "Fenty & Ors v Arcadia Group Brands Ltd (t/a Topshop) & Anor [2013] EWHC 2310 (Ch) (31 July 2013)". The judge, Mr Justice Birss stated at the beginning of his judgement....

    It is important to state at the outset that this case is not concerned with so called "image rights". Whatever may be the position elsewhere in the world, and how ever much various celebrities may wish there were, there is today in England no such thing as a free standing general right by a famous person (or anyone else) to control the reproduction of their image (Douglas v Hello [2007] UKHL 21). There is a developing law of privacy but no question of that arises in this case. The taking of the photograph is not suggested to have breached Rihanna's privacy. A celebrity may control the distribution of particular images in which they own the copyright but that right is specific to the particular photographs in question. Whether an image right can or should be developed is not what this case is concerned with.
    Of course most companies wouldn't do this because of the bad press it would be likely to engender but legally you wouldn't have a basis to bring suit if they did.

    In the case mentioned above Rihanna had to sue for passing off and, while she won, it was in large part because she had already had business dealings with Top Shop (and she also had to show that, as a famous person, she had show that she has goodwill and reputation amongst relevant members of the public), which is something an ordinary person in the street would not be able to do.
  8. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    You're correct, but you need to keep an eye on one bit Mike said, "or otherwise defames them in some way". If I take your photograph in a public place, stick a nazi symbol on your arm and plaster it in posters all over the place, you'd probably have a case against me.
  9. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Please point out exactly what was incorrect in my post. You will note that I was talking about civil action and defamation, nothing to do with privacy, and had pointed out that it wasn't a question of legality. If you're saying that not having a model release for a shot used in advertising doesn't automatically mean you would lose a civil case, of course that's true, but it's a matter for a court to decide based on if the promotion of a certain product was seen to defame them. Sure, most people don't have the resources to sue, and most don't have the fame to make defamation all that significant, but how about an image of a Catholic priest used to promote condoms, for example? It's not remotely a matter of image rights, but one of the reputation of the subject and thus a matter of libel.
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  10. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    And by Mike, I meant Nick :)
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