As the legal counsel of age fotostock, I have been asked many times about the importance of getting fully released images.  My answer has always been the same : It is the best way to ensure that we provide our customers with problem-free images which will give them the peace of mind and total confidence they require for their advertisement projects.

But what are fully released images?

When we refer to fully released images, we mean images that have all the required authorizations from the persons (Model Release) or owners of the properties (such as architectonical properties, logos, copyrighted works, trademarks, logos etc…in this case the release is called Property Release) depicted in the images.

For example, when licensing the following image marked as fully released, the client gets the assurance that this image has a signed model release from the persons depicted in the image.

Are releases always required?

No. The need for releases will depend on what’s featured in the image, the intended use of the image and the law applicable to such use.

Let me now illustrate this :

-The following image which does not feature any recognisable person or distinctive property does not require any releases.

-In the case of the following image, it can be used without any model release to illustrate an editorial article about Rafa Nadal. This same image could not be used  to promote, advertise or endorse a product or service without getting a model release from Rafa Nadal.

If we take a look now at the following image featuring la Pyramide du Louvre (Paris), the need for a property release will depend on the country where the image will be used. In France and other countries where artwork (scuptures) and architectonial works (buildings) permanently located in public places are protected by copyright and do not benefit from the so-called freedom of Panorama, any commercial  use of this image shall  require a property release from the copyright holder (architect Leoh Ming Pei) . (By freedom of panorama we mean a provision in copyright law that allows people to take and publish photographs of modern buildings or public art installations and use them without infringing copyright).

On the other hand, this same image can be freely used in  Spain, where the Copyright Law includes a freedom of panorama exception.

In my next post, I will further explain what can be considered « editorial uses».