Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Who Knew? Tom & Huck Grew Up.

Sometimes you has have to admire the spirit of people. The fellows in today's image appear to be enjoying themselves as they head off to where ever it is they're going. It could be work, it could be home from work, maybe the boss sent them on a chore. Whatever it is, they're having fun. An image like today's is one of those that's there to make you think. Are they singing to go along with their little dance? This is a "grab shot" that happens in real time. They didn't see me or agree to pose for a shot, they were just doing their thing and the moment was captured. This is the type of shot that a photographer can't (shouldn't) try to make money on. There's no "Model Release" that goes along with the image. At least one man, if not both men, is recognizable. If a shot is taken and is for personal use only, as is this shot, a Model Release is not needed. Things change when money changes hands. For more info on when an image is legal, hit the "read more".

There are several places on the Internet to find information about Model Releases and Property Releases from people with the knowledge and authority to know what they're talking about. As a caveat, nothing written in today's post is gospel. Please don't take my word for what is "legal" or what you can and can't do with your images. One of the places I go to to research what can and can't be done is Carolyn E. Wright's "Photo Attorney" blog (link). Another source where you can get a specific question answered would be Ed Greenberg and Jack Reznicki at "". Ed and Jack write a column for Photoshop User magazine if you're interested in following their monthly advice. A search with Google for +legal +photography will provide a host of links with information and forms for model, minor, product and property releases. Another caveat, you always want to look at information found on the Internet with a jaundiced eye. Make sure what you're reading is verifiable. ASMP (American Society of Media Photographers) (link) appears to have some good information and examples of different release forms.
Why is this important? One reason would be to protect yourself from law suits. Another would be to assure you have the right to be paid for the use of your image. Photographic images come under what is commonly called IP "intellectual property".(link) Basically the image is your creation and you have the rights to that image, as long as you have taken the proper steps to protect that IP. i.e. Copyright the image. A huge example of not protecting IP is why Intel Corporation names their processors with things like Pentium(r) or Core(r) or Xeon(r). Back in the 286 and 386 processor days Intel's chief competitor used the same numeric designations. The processor weren't the same, but the numbers were. Consumers were confused. Intel sued. The outcome of the suit was that a number cannot be copyrighted and Intel did not protect their IP. The actual Intel callout of the processors were I286 and I386 (eye286 and eye386). Intel, in ads and in daily correspondence, referred to the parts by their numbers only. The judgement was that Intel didn't do enough to protect their IP, therefore it didn't have IP rights on the names of the processors.
So, what's this all have to do with today's image? Nothing really, since I have no plans of trying to make money on it. But, it is an image that could be used in some sort of advertisement. Without some sort of protection the image is fair game for anyone on the Internet using it for whatever purpose they wish. If you want to keep the rights to your intellectual property you'll need to do "something" to protect it.