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A model release, known in similar contexts as a liability waiver, is a legal release typically signed by the subject of a photograph granting permission to publish the photograph in one form or another. The legal rights of the signatories in reference to the material is thereafter subject to the allowances and restrictions stated in the release, and also possibly in exchange for compensation paid to the photographed.
Publishing an identifiable photo of a person without a model release signed by that person can result in civil liability for whoever publishes the photograph.
Note that the photographer is typically not the publisher of the photograph, but usually licenses the photograph to someone else to publish. Liability rests solely with the publisher, except under special conditions. It is typical for the photographer to obtain the model release because he is merely present at the time and can get it, but also because it gives him more opportunity to license the photograph later to a party who wishes to publish it. Unless a photo is actually published, the need (or use) of a model release is undefined. And, since some forms of publication typically do not require a model release (e.g., news articles and other editorial use), the existence (or non-existence) of a release is irrelevant.
Note that the issue of model release forms and liability waivers is a legal area related to privacy and is separate from copyright. Also, the need for model releases pertains to public use of the photos: i.e., publishing them, commercially or not. The act of taking a photo of someone in a public setting without a model release, or of viewing or non-commercially showing such a photo in private, generally does not create legal exposure, at least in the United States.
The legal issues surrounding model releases are complex and vary by jurisdiction. Although the risk to photographers is virtually nil (so long as proper disclosures of the existence of a release, and its content is made to whoever licenses the photo for publication), the business need for having releases rises substantially if the main source of income from the photographer's work lies within industries that would require them (such as advertising). In short, photo journalists almost never need to obtain model releases for images they shoot for (or sell to) news or qualified editorial publications.
Photographers who also publish images need releases to protect themselves, but there is a distinction between making an image available for sale (even via a website), which is not considered publication in a form that would require a release, and the use of the same image to promote a product or service in a way that would require a release. Whether or not publishing a photo via the internet requires a release is currently[when?] being debated in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. It is likely that any and all exposure to the public of unreleased photos via any vehicle will constitute civil liability for the photographer.
Source - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A property release is a legal release signed by the owner of property used in a photograph or video granting permission to use or publish the photograph or video in one form or another.
If you are including the depiction of recognizable private property on video on video, photograph, or a traced illustration, you will need a signed location (Property) release from the property owner.
Authors do not need one for public property, such as government buildings (although you may run into problems just from photographing/videoing them, for security reasons!). But for images of private property — and particularly of objects that are closely identified with specific people — photographers are urged to get a release.
Most animals in zoos are the property of the zoo and usually cannot be used for commercial purposes without the consent of the zoo.
Commercial vs Editorial Use
Commercial Use: Defined as any media to which money exchanges hands. Money could be paid for the subject of the photograph/footage/media or the media itself. Wholesale, retail, and professional uses of photography would fall under this definition. The commercial photographic world could include: Advertising photography - photographs made to illustrate and usually sell a service or product. These images are generally done with an advertising agency, design firm or with an in-house corporate design team.
Editorial Use: when an image is used in conjunction with, and to illustrate, a news related story or any non-commercial text demanding imagery. Examples include magazines, newspapers, features and books.