A Model Release Form, also sometimes called a Model Release Agreement, is a document that is used when the image of a person, known as the "model", has been or will be used in photographs, video, or other art and the artist would like to acquire the full legal rights to that image to be used in any way they would like in the future.
The "model", for the purposes of a Model Release Form, does not have to be a traditional "model", such as a commercial model. The "model" can be anyone whose images were used in the art.
In a Model Release Form, the model "releases" the rights to the specific images that were used. This means the model acknowledges and agrees that the artist can do anything they would like with the photos, including publish, republish, distribute, edit, change, etc., unless the model would specifically like to include certain restrictions. If so, there is a space for the model to describe what those restrictions would be.
The model also releases any claims that he or she may have on future issues that may arise, like a right of privacy claim or right of publicity.
When working with images of another person as an artist, a Model Release Form is very important to ensure that you have properly acquired and retained the rights that you need for your art, whether it is commercial or otherwise.
How to use this document
You can use this document if you are an artist, such as a photographer, videographer, or other type of artist, looking to legally get permission to use images of a particular person in your work.
Ideally, you should have this document signed and ready before any use of the model's images. Many artists have their models sign a release on the day that the shooting (for photo or video) or art creation is taking place.
Here, you'll be able to enter identifying information such as whether you are working with a studio or not, as well as identifying information about the model.
Please be aware that if the model is under 18, a parent or guardian will also have to review and sign the document. If the model is a minor, you'll be able to establish that in the document and will be given an extra execution spot for the parent or guardian.
Model Release Forms in the United States are generally subject to specific state laws, which cover the laws that would be implicated in the use of another person's images, such as right of publicity and privacy laws. You should check your individual state laws for anything relating to the drafting and execution of a Model Release Form, or if you have any questions about what is permitted for the use of your images after signing a release. State laws, as well as certain specific Federal laws, including 18 U.S.C. Section 2252, cover the rights of minors and their images.
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