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Overview of the Model release form

This document is GDPR compliant.

Use this model release letter or waiver to obtain permission from an individual to use material featuring their image, or the image of a child of whom they are the parent or legal guardian. Having a signed waiver can give a business protection should the individual appearing in the material decide to bring legal action against them.

In general, when material is being used for commercial purposes, a model release form should be obtained from the people being featured. This is because their image constitutes personal data for the purposes of the data protection regime.

This model release form can be used:

  • if you are a business seeking to use an individual's image for commercial purposes
  • if you are an individual whose image is being used for commercial purposes
  • if you are the parent or legal guardian of a child whose image is being used for commercial purposes
  • when the individual is a member of the public
  • where the individual is clearly identifiable, whether they are on their own, or in a small group
  • only for individuals based in England, Wales or Scotland

This model release form covers:

  • who the parties are
  • the material being published, whether a photograph or video footage
  • the purposes for which the material is being published
  • storage of the material to areas outside of the EEA
  • transfer of the material to areas outside of the EEA

A model release letter is signed by the subject of a photograph or video, granting permission for their image to be published and used. It is the contract under which one party agrees on the use of their image by another party.

Note that a photo release form is different to a model release form. A photo release form gives someone permission to print the photos or use the photos for personal reasons. For example, a wedding photographer may sign a photo release form giving the bride and groom permission to print photos.

If you wish to use an individual's image, it is good practice to require them to sign a model release letter. By doing so, the model waives their rights in relation to the released image. This therefore, protects you from potential claims in relation to the use of the individual's image further down the line.

In a model release, the model grants the business permission to use the content in one form or another.  Examples of how the content can be used includes on websites, blogs, marketing materials or printed publications. This means the said image can be edited, copied, modified, exhibited, published or distributed without any right to inspection or compensation for the model.

Yes - certain images are unlikely to contain personal data, for example:

  • Where individuals are incidentally included in an image or are not in focus (this is common during street photography)
  • When an image features someone who passed away; or
  • When an image is being used for journalistic, informational, literary, artistic or research purposes.

Ask a lawyer for further advice on:

  • If the individual is a celebrity
  • If the individual is based outside of England, Wales or Scotland

Other names for Model release form

Photography release form or Photo liability waiver.

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