Releases for photos

Discussion in 'Sports' started by f1-fanatic, Jul 26, 2004.

  1. Hi everyone. I started shooting about 6 months ago and wanted to
    produce a few of my photos to sell but a friend of mine who happens
    to be in the printing business said that I couldn't do this without a
    release. My question is... If I was to shoot something like for
    instance an F1 car (along with logos etc) on a professional circuit
    while racing at one of the races this year. Could I reproduce the
    image or offer the photo for sale to a plublication without the need
    of a release from.. The driver, team, constructor, sponsors, circuit,
    FOM, and the FIA???? I see this as public domain because the driver
    is a celebrity and the event is a public display. Am I off base? do
    I need releases??? Any help woudl be greatly appreciated.
  2. First - you need to consult a lawyer.

    If you get flyers printed up and do not advertise you took the image, you can 'give away' anything you want. But, if you promote your business name or studio or phone number, your friend is more correct: you need a 'release' for the use of your image. (If you make one or two prints, and sell them at a garage sale, chances are you will not 'suffer the wrath of the FOM or FIA' -- but if you plan on internet coverage, good luck. Back to the opening line of this note.)
  3. The garage sale point is a good one. Past a couple of prints to friends (and the sport type), you could be on dangerous ground. Also, regarding your "public domain because the driver is a celebrity and the event is a public display" - a good rule of thumb, if it's a ticketed event (Monaco would be questionable), it is NOT a public display. Doesn't matter if the driver is a celeb unless you see him/her on a public street corner. Using your same logic, ANY sporting event would be a free-for-all and that ain't happening. If the venue has controlled access, it's not public.
  4. There are a couple of things I'd suggest you do before you start lining the pockets of an intellectual property lawyer with this question. First, review the attached article from a recent issue of Popular Photography about the legalities of shooting, which includes a section on sporting events. Second, see what information you can find from the organizing body (in this case F1), the event organizers and the relevant teams on the use of pictures of their cars. As someone not having media credentials at these events your situation is a little more murky because your rights and responsibilities are not clearly spelled out. Another problem is that the images are from F1, the absolute pinnacle of racing. If you had quality shots from a stock car race in Southeastern Wisconsin the teams and sanctioning body would be much more likely to help you to get images of their events published. F1 does not have that problem.

    I'd suggest you contact the team's communications staff first, tell them what you're trying to do, include some samples of the images and ask if they, or any other interested parties (sponsors, sanctioning bodies, tracks, etc.) would have a problem with what this and what restrictions they might apply. Remember that race teams, tracks, et al want their product to be presented in a positive light and restrict the rights to images of the events for exactly that reason. If you can present your efforts as adding to that positive image you'll get that much closer to getting what you want.
  5. Gentlemen, thanks for the heads up. It's help like this that makes this new forum so important. I appreciate everyones input and help. Fred, the pd.f is awesome... thanks for adding that. I am sure that others will also at some point (if they haven't already) ask similar questions. Thanks again.
  6. You're welcome. Unfortunately I have some recent experience with this rights and photo sales issue. Earlier this year I hosted a group shoot for twelve members of the Chicago Photography Network at three landmark buildings here in Chicago. Those buildings had a lot of the same commercial concerns that you are facing. If it would help I could e-mail you copies of the legal paperwork for that shoot.
  7. For editorial use you don't need a release. I never needed one in my life, and my agency even sold prints to Frank Williams of a particular shot (by Jean-Michele Dubois) that was published. Commercial/advertising use is a different matter. Sears one time bought a shot from a photog and ran an ad where they airbrushed-out the other sponsors, and Sears was sued and lost. You might want to ask this question on a pro-photog site Rob Galbraith and search their archives. Also try

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