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Hi, I am new to this site, and am looking for some advice.
I have been commissioned to take some photos for a UK transport consultancy company. They want pictures of (a) iconic pictures of the town they operate from and (b) pictures that capture transport. These pictures will be used on the company's website and brochures to support advising their company and services.
Some of the iconic town centre features are private buildings. The images would be taken from public property/land. But I am finding a lot of conflicting information about whether I need a property release or other permission to take such photos, for my client to use in the way intended.
Can anyone please direct me to the right information source to verify what permissions (or otherwise) that I need?
Thanks so much in advance for any help.
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Have a read of this and, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.
Thanks Carabosse, I'll have a good read
Am I understanding this right? I can take photos for my client to use on their website and promotional literature of buildings and features within a town centre (whether they be public of private buildings) so long as I am on public property when the photo is taken. Is that correct? This is a new type of project for me, so I'd appreciate a sense check. Many thanks
Is anyone able to help on this one? I have contacted a legal firm as well, but still not got an answer. Very grateful of any advice.
Quote: Is that correct?
Yes. As far as I'm aware.
You could ask the Police. They're the people that you'll find yourself dealing with if someone complains.
Thanks Jester, I appreciate your help
No-one can stop you taking photos in the UK of any subject as long as you are shooting from public land (the designation of what is or is not public land does cause confusion however but that's a different matter). You should have no need to involve the police (they have slightly better things to do I would hope) and quite frankly, probably wouldn't have a clue
However, having the right to take photos does not give you the right to use them commercially - far from it. In theory, any person or any object appearing in a photograph that is being used for non-editorial purposes (i.e. advertising in any form) MUST have a model/property release. In practice, it is impossible to provide property releases for every single item in a background for instance however, it is expected that the main subject of an image will be model released.
It is not incumbent upon the photographer to obtain releases as long as you inform the client in writing (to cover yourself) that model or property releases may be required as it is their responsibility to ensure they are in place however, it is 'normal' practice for the photographer to obtain these.
Quote: In theory, any person or any object appearing in a photograph that is being used for non-editorial purposes (i.e. advertising in any form) MUST have a model/property release. In practice, it is impossible to provide property releases for every single item in a background for instance however, it is expected that the main subject of an image will be model released.
I would take issue with that. In the UK there is no requirement for a model release at all. It is there as a safety net in case someone takes issue with the fact that you are making money out of their likeness. In reality photo agencies on the whole will not take photos without a model relase because they have better things to do than worrying about potential multiple claims and it is easier for the photographer to get the relase at the time than for them to follow up later. I believe it is different in the US where the sense of image rights is much stronger and model releases are required.
Quote: It is not incumbent upon the photographer to obtain releases as long as you inform the client in writing (to cover yourself) that model or property releases may be required
The photographer is under no 'obligation' to do any such thing. You may consider it a professional courtesy to do so as part of customer care.
Yes, this is pedantic but I think full advice should be given so the OP canmake their own mind up.
When photographers take photos of London landscape I wonder how many of them have traipsed round all the properties from the Gerkin to the Shard to St Paul's, and got property releases from each of them?
Quote: Am I understanding this right? I can take photos for my client to use on their website and promotional literature of buildings and features within a town centre (whether they be public of private buildings) so long as I am on public property when the photo is taken. Is that correct? This is a new type of project for me, so I'd appreciate a sense check. Many thanks
That is my understanding from the written word as well. Think about seaside postcards that show houses and hotels, even people on the beach need not be contacted otherwise you would be seeking hundreds of names and addresses to get release docs done, estate agents that also show the house next door, google camera views on google earth, record photographs of town centres. I understand it all to be fair game but one should also consider the polite way to go about it.
The examples given above are not advertising - my answer specifically related to advertising which is what the OPs question was about. In any event as I said, it is NOT incumbent upon the photographer to obtain releases - it is down to the person using using the photos to ensure relevant releases are in place.
Many photos are used 'illegally' and companies work on the basis that nobody will bother chasing and most don't. That doesn't mean it is right. or indeed legal. You do have to understand the difference between an image being used for editorial purposes and that being used to advertise a brand or a product. You cannot use the image of an object that is not in the public domain or the image of a person, to advertise your own product or service without express permission.
Tesco, Zara, River Island and many others have found themselves in hot water for utilising images for advertising purposes without appropriate consent.
I've said it many times but the laws about copyright and what can and cannot be done (fair use/public domain/privacy etc) are complicated which is why there are many rich lawyers and few rich photographers but one thing is clear, and that is images taken on private property, images of property that belong to 'someone' else or images of people are not usable for advertising without a release from the owner and to do so puts you at great risk of legal action
Barrie, I agree it is not incumbent on the photographer to obtain release. I disagreed with (in bold)
"It is not incumbent upon the photographer to obtain releases as long as you inform the client in writing (to cover yourself) that model or property releases may be required...".
A more accurate comment would be "...though I advise you to inform the client..."
You can use an image of a person in advertising wihtout their permission and if that is not the case I am sure you can point me to some thing that explicitly forbids this. But if you do use an image in such a way, you open yourself to action by them which is quite a different thing. This is where I think use of words like 'legal'; and 'illegal' whether or not they are in the infamous inverted commas is misleading when giving advice about rights. As you say, copyright and image rights are complex and increasingly there is a load of bunkim being spread on the internet about what you can and cannot do as a photographer so I think it is important that those who have met these issues are accurate in what they say.
FFS you are being so pedantic it beggars belief. From the OPs point of view it matters not whether you use the term illegal in its true sense or not. The fact remains using property or a personal image without permission for advertising purposes can cost you and/or your client a great deal
I wish there was a shaking head in disbelief emoticon
How true - it cost a previous client of mine, £250,000.
I recall that Tesco's were also forced by a student to remove her image from one of their T Shirts and come to a private settlement.
"Fair Use" generally comes down on the side of the one being used rather than the user.
Quote: How true - it cost a previous client of mine, £250,000
Did it cost the photographer anything?
That's the issue here isn't it? Does Claire herself need the permission or is it down to her client to obtain it?
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