Become an age fotostock Contributor
More details on editorial use

In this section we provide some additional information about editorial usage in the areas where agefotostock has a direct sales office: Spain, France, and the United States. If you need additional information about editorial usage in other parts of the world, you will have to consult with your local authorities or other source of information.

How is “editorial use” applied in the USA?

In the United States, the ability to publish a photograph for a newsworthy purpose of interest to the public is very broadly interpreted so as to protect the right of free speech found in the First Amendment. For example, in the US, the courts do not require the photograph to show a person described in the article, book, etc., there just needs to be some relationship between the subject discussed in the publication and the photograph.

How is “editorial use” applied in Spain, France and other European countries?

In many European countries the ability to publish a photograph for “editorial use” is not as broadly interpreted as in the USA. Generally speaking, the only situation in which you don’t need a model release is if the photograph is taken from a public place during a newsworthy event of public interest and is used to illustrate an article or text about this event. Also, in Spain, unless the model is a public figure, the person shown in the photograph should not be the main subject (central focus) of the photograph.

Therefore, in most European countries, unlike the USA, an editorial photograph must show a person involved in the event described in the published text, not someone with a vague connection to the subject of the text.

In conclusion, photographs that show a recognizable person can only be used in the following situations:

  1. For commercial purposes if they have a signed model release from the person shown in the image;
  2. In the USA they can be used for editorial purposes if they meet the following conditions:
    • the photo is taken in a public place
    • it is used to illustrate a factual article, book, news broadcast, documentary, or film concerning a matter that is newsworthy or of public interest
    • there is some connection between the subject discussed in the publication and the photograph.
  3. In Spain, France and other European countries in general they can be used for editorial purposes if they meet the following conditions:
    • the photo is taken in a public place during a newsworthy event of public interest
    • used to illustrate an article/text about this event
    • in the case of Spain (unless the model is a public figure) the person depicted in the photograph should not be the central focus of the photograph.

In any of the above cases, none of the photographs taken should “damage the person’s dignity” which means be offensive or embarrass the person being photographed.

Keeping all of this in mind, for editorial purposes it is very important for photographs to be properly captioned in order to be able to link the photograph with a specific event that could be the subject of an article/text.

You should also remember that laws about privacy and the use of model releases will vary depending on the countries and might change over the years. Remember that you might be subject to the laws of the country where the image was taken, in addition to the laws of the country where the photo is published, even if you don’t live in that country. Your best defence will always be a good model release.

Here are 2 images of young girls. The one on the left is model-released and the one on the right isn´t. The image on the right can be marked for editorial use because it shows a newsworthy event of public interest (Holy Week in Guatemala). The photo on the left can´t be marked editorial use only because it shows two girls in a bedroom, which is not a newsworthy event of public interest, nor taken in a public place. The image can only be licensed with model release.
If you have any doubts, or need further information, please contact
Eva Cascales.

© 2014 age fotostock. All rights reserved
Blog for Photographers Follow us on twitter