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I`m a little confused about model releases.  It is my understanding that any person shown in an image must sign a model release for commercial use, but not for editorial use.  I`ve come across many images showing people from a lot of seasoned contributors that have no model releases listed but are licensing for commercial use.  Why does Alamy allow this?  Am I missing something?

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No you are not missing something. It is the photographers responsibility to make sure that releases are in place. Alamy have a blanket policy of anyone, or even any body part, in an image must be released. I was looking at a few micros recently and they say, as Alamy used to, that you need images to be released for recognisable people. Alamy go a bit far with their policy but those are their rules so we have to follow them if we want to contribute. It is also the picture buyer's responsibility to ensure that the image is appropriately released for their use. Listing images for commercial use without adequate releases is playing with fire.

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3 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

No you are not missing something. It is the photographers responsibility to make sure that releases are in place. Alamy have a blanket policy of anyone, or even any body part, in an image must be released. I was looking at a few micros recently and they say, as Alamy used to, that you need images to be released for recognisable people. Alamy go a bit far with their policy but those are their rules so we have to follow them if we want to contribute. It is also the picture buyer's responsibility to ensure that the image is appropriately released for their use. Listing images for commercial use without adequate releases is playing with fire.

Thanks, Colin... I understood correctly.  I have no intention of playing with fire, as you put it. :)

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12 hours ago, Sharon said:

I`ve come across many images showing people from a lot of seasoned contributors that have no model releases listed but are licensing for commercial use

 

As a new contributor to Alamy I too have been trying to get to grips with this but isn't there a distinction here between Royalty Free and Rights-Managed images?

 

I too have noticed that there are different approaches both amongst those on this forum and in the wider Alamy world.  You only have to look at images reported here as used in publications to see that those marked 'for editorial use only' are in a tiny minority, most are Rights Managed with no model release and no property release even though they contain identifiable people and property. These include images from very successful and experienced Alamy contributors, including those well into the $100,000 Club. Yes, they have been used editorially but they haven't been restricted to that by the photographer.

 

I can see that Royalty Free images have to be locked down with model and property releases for commercial use. Agencies and photographers that specialise in this type of image pay vast sums to set up seemingly 'candid' scenes with paid models and locations but surely it isn't quite as straightforward with Rights-Managed.

 

I've seen Alamy described as an editorial picture library and this seems like a good generalisation. Pictures that sell seem to be those often with human interest so it is, say, people looking at view, not the view itself. In the same vein it will be walkers on a trek, commuters pouring off the train to work, spectators at an event.  It's not going to be possible to get releases from those people in most circumstances but surely they can still be on Alamy?

 

I think it's then a question of whether they should be marked as Editorial Use only or just Rights managed with no model or property releases. Just from looking at images that sell it seems that the jury is still out.

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1 hour ago, Harry Harrison said:

 

As a new contributor to Alamy I too have been trying to get to grips with this but isn't there a distinction here between Royalty Free and Rights-Managed images?

 

I too have noticed that there are different approaches both amongst those on this forum and in the wider Alamy world.  You only have to look at images reported here as used in publications to see that those marked 'for editorial use only' are in a tiny minority, most are Rights Managed with no model release and no property release even though they contain identifiable people and property. These include images from very successful and experienced Alamy contributors, including those well into the $100,000 Club. Yes, they have been used editorially but they haven't been restricted to that by the photographer.

 

I can see that Royalty Free images have to be locked down with model and property releases for commercial use. Agencies and photographers that specialise in this type of image pay vast sums to set up seemingly 'candid' scenes with paid models and locations but surely it isn't quite as straightforward with Rights-Managed.

 

I've seen Alamy described as an editorial picture library and this seems like a good generalisation. Pictures that sell seem to be those often with human interest so it is, say, people looking at view, not the view itself. In the same vein it will be walkers on a trek, commuters pouring off the train to work, spectators at an event.  It's not going to be possible to get releases from those people in most circumstances but surely they can still be on Alamy?

 

I think it's then a question of whether they should be marked as Editorial Use only or just Rights managed with no model or property releases. Just from looking at images that sell it seems that the jury is still out.

 

Hi Harry,

If you mark an image as having property or people in, but without having the corresponding releases, then the photo is automatically set as rights managed in the license type on Alamy Image manager. My understanding is that there is then no particular need to mark an image as editorial use only (not for commercial use) as this should be taken as a given by the purchaser. You can mark an image as editorial use only if you think it might be ambiguous. I've personally never done it. This might help:

https://www.alamy.com/blog/understanding-editorial-and-commercial-usage

 

It should also be noted that it is no longer possible to upload new releases to Alamy as they no longer wish to store them due to privacy reasons. If you mark an image as having releases, a client can request them from you if they need to, via Alamy. See thread below:

https://discussion.alamy.com/topic/11078-model-release/?tab=comments#comment-201200

 

Steve

 

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13 minutes ago, Steve F said:

If you mark an image as having property or people in, but without having the corresponding releases, then the photo is automatically set as rights managed in the license type on Alamy Image manager.

 

Thanks Steve, I hadn't noticed that images without releases were automatically set to Rights Managed but that's probably because that's my default anyway. That Alamy blog certainly seems to place the onus on the buyer to establish whether they can use a picture for commercial use. It's still surely a bit of a grey area as by allowing the buyer to select a Rights-Managed licence you, as the photographer, are still 'listing images for commercial use'.

 

In answer to the question posed in the original post, "Why does Alamy allow this", then if they didn't then a huge number of sales would disappear, or am I missing something? I doubt that there is a clear answer for any particular image in a global market where countries each have their own copyright and personal privacy regulations.

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Posted (edited)
50 minutes ago, Harry Harrison said:

In answer to the question posed in the original post, "Why does Alamy allow this", then if they didn't then a huge number of sales would disappear, or am I missing something? I doubt that there is a clear answer for any particular image in a global market where countries each have their own copyright and personal privacy regulations.

 

It is the buyer's responsibility to use the image in the correct manner, but Alamy also relies on their contributors to label their images correctly as needing releases or not. As to why do they allow this, well, I guess this goes along with the QC checking process for when you upload photos. Contributors are expected to carry out the QC checks themselves and label the images correctly; Alamy doesn't have the resources to check every single image.

 

It is correct that images that need model releases, but don't have them, can only be used editorially. But I think the tick box for editorial use on Alamy Image manager is a bit of a red herring. If you mark an image as having property/people and that you don't have releases, it will automatically be a rights managed license and you don't need to tick editorial only. But I'm open to correction if anyone has a clearer understanding of this!

 

Edited by Steve F

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1 hour ago, Steve F said:

I think the tick box for editorial use on Alamy Image manager is a bit of a red herring

 

Yes, it's the use of that tick box that confuses me the most. I have used it occasionally where members of the public are quite prominent in the picture but normally I don't. Fair enough that Alamy rely on contributors to label their images correctly but the model and property release information is under the Optional tab.

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There didn't used to be a box for editorial only and I doubt that many of us have gone back over our old images to add it. It has always been understood that if you have no releases it should be clear to the buyer.

 

Paulette

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31 minutes ago, NYCat said:

There didn't used to be a box for editorial only

 

Thank you Paulette, that's very interesting, it actually helps me a lot.

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8 hours ago, NYCat said:

It has always been understood that if you have no releases it should be clear to the buyer.

Yes. Effectively putting an image as RF is a statement that you have releases. If you haven't got releases and you put an image as RF you could be heading for bother.

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3 hours ago, Colin Woods said:

Yes. Effectively putting an image as RF is a statement that you have releases. If you haven't got releases and you put an image as RF you could be heading for bother.

 

But now there is editorial RF, isn't there?   With all the changes it does get a bit confusing.

 

Maria

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