Model Releases, Copyright and Where to Learn More

Last week, the Canadian government changed the Copyright Act to ensure that the copyright to work produced by a photographer is the same as for any other artist.  Simply, you retain your copyright whether you do the work for yourself or are commissioned to do so.  In the past, being prior to November 7, 2012, commissioned work became the property of the commissioning agency unless specifically excluded by contract.  Well done Canada! I regularly listen to Frederick van Johnson who hosts the This Week in Photo podcast.  Like any podcast, some episodes are more interesting than others depending upon what you are looking for.  A recent episode featured Mr. Jack Reznicki and Mr. Ed Greenberg of and their critical book, The Photographer's Survival Manual.  (Link to purchase this book at the bottom of the post)

Even though I own the book and recommend it to students, repetition is the mother of skill and so I learn something whenever I listen to these gentlemen.  What was my learning this time?

Electronic model releases may not stand up in court because electronic documents can be edited.

I have looked at, and purchased, electronic model release systems for the iPad, and liked the one from the American Society of Media Photographers very much.  (Others left me underwhelmed).  Until Mr. Reznicki and Mr. Greenberg did their little role play, I missed completely how an electronic release could be challenged in court.  Paper is the way to go.  Listen to the episode of TWIP here.

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