153 Market St., Lexington, KY 40507 This is an advertisement phone: (859) 253-9999
Todd & Todd A Professional Limited Liability Company

Personal Injury Newsletter

Release Requirements Before Using a Photograph

The right of a photographer to sell or commercially exploit a picture of a stranger depends on numerous factors. Much will depend on whether the subject’s consent was obtained. Further, the subject of the photograph might have a right of privacy and a right of publicity (i.e. a right to control the use and commercial exploitation of photographs). The extent and availability of these rights vary by state.

Right to privacy laws protect an individual from disclosure of private facts. The right to publicity controls the right to commercial use of a photograph. The first protects from disclosure of embarrassing facts, the second from financial loss from unauthorized commercial use. People who lead public lives have restricted rights of privacy, but broader rights of publicity (some states even give such rights to deceased persons).

An individual’s rights of privacy and publicity are limited, however, by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which ensures freedom of speech. Publication of photographs in connection with news, political, social and economic events is considered protected speech, and not “commercial use.” Some contend that there is no requirement for a release from the subject if the intent behind publishing is to inform or educate. Where a photograph of another is taken and used for the purposes of educating or informing the public, as in a newspaper, the photographer may not need to obtain the consent of individuals pictured in the photograph.

As stated above, privacy and publicity laws vary among states, however, and it is not always easy to determine newsworthiness. Thus, it is also difficult to determine when a release or consent is needed. To be on the safe side, (especially when photographing private individuals) photographers should always seek the consent of the individual photographed.

Precautions For Photographers to Limit Potential Liability

The prudent photographer will consider obtaining a written release from any individual in the photograph who is recognizable. If a travel magazine publishes a photo of the Grand Canyon, with several tourists in the foreground, a release probably need not be obtained from all the tourists. Where individuals are in the photograph incidentally, and are not recognizable, no release is necessary. Photographers should also consider the following items:

  • Obtain parental consent from parents or guardian of minors whose image is used.
  • Even if the photograph is to be used for a “newsworthy” purpose, obtain a release in case the photograph is later used for other purposes.
  • Caption the photograph correctly.
  • When altering or cropping a photograph, avoid placing the individual photographed in a context other than that consented to in the release.
  • Drivers & Their Duty to Passengers
    If you are injured in a traffic collision while riding as a passenger in a vehicle, you may want to know about the driver’s liability toward you. The driver does have a duty to act responsibly toward you, but the extent of that... Read more.
  • Liability for Litigation Fees and Costs
    Many people embark on a lawsuit without taking into consideration all possible consequences. Litigation can be very costly and not all the costs are obvious. Most expect the costs of hiring an attorney and make payment arrangements,... Read more.
  • Damages Recoverable for Injuries Affecting Quality of Life
    Relatively recently, courts have begun awarding damages in certain cases for “loss of enjoyment of life,” also called “hedonic damages,” named for the ancient Greek school of philosophy called... Read more.
  • Proceeding with a Class Action Lawsuit
    A “class action” is a lawsuit brought by a representative plaintiff on behalf of a class of persons with similar claims. The class and the lawsuit must be certified by a judge as appropriate for class action treatment. If... Read more.
Personal Injury News Links
Share This Page:

Contact Information

Todd & Todd A Professional Limited Liability Company (859) 253-9999 153 Market Street, Lexington, KY 40507

COMMUNITIES WE SERVE

Todd & Todd, PLLC is located in Lexington, KY and serves clients in and around Lexington, Keene, Nicholasville, Versailles, Midway, Georgetown, Wilmore, Winchester, Ford, Paris, Stamping Ground, Richmond, Cynthiana, Sadieville, Frankfort, Burgin, Clark County, Fayette County, Franklin County, Harrison County, Jessamine County, Mercer County, Scott County and Woodford County.

Designed and Powered by NextClient

© 2014 - 2020 Todd & Todd, PLLC. All rights reserved.
Custom WebExpress™ attorney website design by NextClient.com.

Contact Form Tab