Permissions for Photos

August 2007
by Lee Wilson

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If you ever use photographs of private individuals in any project, getting written releases should be a routine part of your business that you never neglect. This is true even—or perhaps especially—if you are a cottage-industry, spare-bedroom entrepreneur. If you use the name or even a recognizable description of a living individual in any literary project, you may need a similar release; check with a lawyer regarding your specific project.

The form release below is not sufficient if you want to use the name, likeness, or performance of any celebrity or public figure in any advertisement or to sell any product. You’ll need a license from any such celebrity to avoid a suit.

Here are a few rules to remember about using photo releases.

● Have a lawyer prepare a release that is designed to work for you. Generally, the broader the release, the better. That is, the less specific your release is in stating the uses to which a subject’s photo can be put, the more leeway you have later. However, if the intended use for the photo is something the subject could object to (such as use in a book with highly…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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