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A Digital Photographer's Guide to Model Releases: Making the Best Business Decisions with Your Photos of People, Places and Things by Dan Heller

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Chapter 6. Dealing with Photos of Property

Dealing with Photos of Property

In previous parts of this book, much of what I've presented about model releases involves photos you've taken of people. But the subject of a photo doesn't have to be a person; it can also be a thing, and a release may be necessary to publish photos of it if certain conditions apply.

If you're like most photographers, you're thinking ahead and saying to yourself, "property release," because that's a term commonly used in association with buildings, the most popular kind of thing that photographers get releases for. But there's nothing unique about buildings themselves. In fact, photos of them require releases only if they are trademarked, and then only under limited conditions.

The reason most people think releases are necessary for buildings is because of a perpetuating cycle of capitulation: The problem finds its roots in companies that overly assert infringement claims, which causes publishers' lawyers and other advisers to tell their clients, "If you really want to avoid a suit, just get a release," which then feeds the misinformed rumor mill on the Internet that both photographers and publishers alike require releases of these things (regardless of use). The more this cycle continues, the more misinformation perpetuates. And that's exactly what the trademark holders want, as it gives them more control than they are legally entitled to. ...

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