Legal/Business Resources

PDFs /

Model Releases /


Copyright Basics from the US copyright Office-

What Is Copyright?

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States
(title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including
literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This
protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106
of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive
right to do and to authorize others to do the following:

• To reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords;
• To prepare derivative works based upon the work;
• To distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or
other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
• To perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and
choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual
• To display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and
choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural
works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual
work; and
• In the case of sound recordings,* to perform the work publicly by means of
a digital audio transmission.

In addition, certain authors of works of visual art have the rights of attribution
and integrity as described in section 106A of the 1976 Copyright Act. For
further information, see Circular 40, Copyright Registration for Works of the
Visual Arts.

It is illegal for anyone to violate any of the rights provided by the copyright
law to the owner of copyright. These rights, however, are not unlimited in
scope. Sections 107 through 121 of the 1976 Copyright Act establish limitations
on these rights. In some cases, these limitations are specified exemptions from
copyright liability. One major limitation is the doctrine of “fair use,” which
is given a statutory basis in section 107 of the 1976 Copyright Act. In other
instances, the limitation takes the form of a “compulsory license” under which
certain limited uses of copyrighted works are permitted upon payment of
specified royalties and compliance with statutory conditions. For further information
about the limitations of any of these rights, consult the copyright law or
write to the Copyright Office.

Copyright Basics

US Copyright Office Basics offers definitions and explanations of the law, as well as other useful information

University of Texas Copyright Crash Course

US Copyright Office: How to register copyright of a work of visual art

US Copyright Office: Pages on how to register copyright of a text

Stanford University Copyright and Fair Use: One of the best websites for information on copyright

Association of Research Libraries: Good resource for information on copyright in the academic environment

Know Your Copy Rights: Using Copyrighted Works in Academic Settings: Useful to librarians

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse

Indiana University Student Guidelines on Plagiarism: A website on plagiarism

Creative Commons: A licensing alternative to copyright


When Does a Copyright Expire?

Simplified Chart: US Copyright Term

Detailed Chart: US and International Copyright Term


Artists’ Copyrights

Appropriation, from the March 2005 CAA News

Artists and Copyright, from the March 2004 CAA News

Artists and Moral Rights
(VARA), from the May 2004 CAA News

The Photographers Right - pdf - Bert Krages, attorney

Legal Rights of Photographers - pdf - Andrew Kantor

The Ten Legal Commandments of Photography

I. Anyone in a public place can take pictures of anything they want. Public places include parks, sidewalks, malls, etc. Malls? Yeah. Even though it’s technically private property, being open to the public makes it public space.

II. If you are on public property, you can take pictures of private property. If a building, for example, is visible from the sidewalk, it’s fair game.

III. If you are on private property and are asked not to take pictures, you are obligated to honor that request. This includes posted signs.

IV. Sensitive government buildings (military bases, nuclear facilities) can prohibit photography if it is deemed a threat to national security.

V. People can be photographed if they are in public (without their consent) unless they have secluded themselves and can expect a reasonable degree of privacy. Kids swimming in a fountain? Okay. Somebody entering their PIN at the ATM? Not okay.

VI. The following can almost always be photographed from public places, despite popular opinion:

* accident & fire scenes, criminal activities
* bridges & other infrastructure, transportation facilities (i.e. airports)
* industrial facilities, Superfund sites
* public utilities, residential & commercial buildings
* children, celebrities, law enforcement officers
* UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, Chuck Norris

VII. Although “security” is often given as the reason somebody doesn’t want you to take photos, it’s rarely valid. Taking a photo of a publicly visible subject does not constitute terrorism, nor does it infringe on a company’s trade secrets.

VIII. If you are challenged, you do not have to explain why you are taking pictures, nor to you have to disclose your identity (except in some cases when questioned by a law enforcement officer.)

IX. Private parties have very limited rights to detain you against your will, and can be subject to legal action if they harass you.

X. If someone tries to confiscate your camera and/or film, you don’t have to give it to them. If they take it by force or threaten you, they can be liable for things like theft and coercion. Even law enforcement officers need a court order.
What To Do If You’re Confronted

* Be respectful and polite. Use good judgement and don’t escalate the situation.
* If the person becomes combative or difficult, think about calling the police.
* Threats, detention, and taking your camera are all grounds for legal or civil actions on your part. Be sure to get the person’s name, employer, and what legal grounds they claim for their actions.
* If you don’t want to involve the authorities, go above the person’s head to their supervisor or their company’s public relations department.
* Call your local TV and radio stations and see if they want to do a story about your civil liberties. * Put the story on the web yourself if need be.


American society of Media Photographers (National)

American society of Media Photographers (Local)

Artists Rights Society (ARS)

dpBestflow / American society of Media Photographers / Best Practices Resource:

Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that offers flexible copyright licenses for creative works.

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Intellectual Property Online: Patent, Trademark, Copyright

U.S. Copyright Office


The Free Expression Policy Project


CAA Copyright Basics

Intellectual Property and the Arts

This section provides links to CAA’s activities on intellectual-property matters as well as to useful websites and resources of other organizations.

CAA’s members are both copyright owners and users of copyrighted material. Artists and authors create new works, and many also quote from or repurpose material created by others. CAA encourages all members to become familiar with intellectual-property law as it affects you.


Wikipedia entry regarding model release/liability waivers for subjects in a photograph.

Dan Hellers very wording primer regarding the release. (who is Dan Heller?

Photo District News Online Business/Legal Section


Photo Release Examples

Adult Boilerplate
Multi -Minor Photo Release
Individual Photo Release for Children Under 18 Years of Age



In consideration of my engagement as a model, upon the terms herewith stated, I hereby
give to_____________his heirs, legal representatives and assigns, those for
whom________________is acting, and those acting with his/her authority and permission:

a) the unrestricted right and permission to copyright and use, re-use, publish, and republish photographic portraits or pictures of me or in which I may be included intact or in part, composite or distorted in character or form, without restriction as to changes or transformations in conjunction with my own or a fictitious name, or reproduction hereof in color or otherwise, made through any and all media now or hereafter known for illustration, art, promotion, advertising, trade, or any other purpose whatsoever.

b) I also permit the use of any printed material in connection therewith.

c) I hereby relinquish any right that I may have to examine or approve the completed product or products or the advertising copy or printed matter that may be used in conjunction therewith or the use to which it may be applied.

d) I hereby release, discharge and agree to save harmless [photographer], his/her heirs, legal representatives or assigns, and all persons functioning under his/her permission or authority, or those for whom he/she is functioning, from any liability by virtue of any blurring, distortion, alteration, optical illusion, or use in composite form whether intentional or otherwise, that may occur or be produced in the taking of said picture or in any subsequent processing thereof, as well as any publication thereof, including without limitation any claims for libel or invasion of privacy.

e) I hereby affirm that I am over the age of majority and have the right to contract in my own name. I have read the above authorization, release and agreement, prior to its execution; I fully understand the contents thereof. This agreement shall be binding upon me and my heirs, legal representatives and assigns.

Dated: ________________Signed:_____________________________________







Minor Photo Release Form

I hereby give my consent for "_your name here_" to use my photograph and likeness in publication and public presentation. I release them from any expectation of confidentiality for the undersigned minor children and myself and attest that I am the parent or legal guardian of the children listed below.

Signature: _________________________________ Date: ___________

Names and Ages of Minor Children:

Name: ______________________________________ Age: _____

Name: ______________________________________ Age: _____

Name: ______________________________________ Age: _____

Name: ______________________________________ Age: _____

Name: ______________________________________ Age: _____

Name: ______________________________________ Age: _____


Minor #2

Photo Release for Children Under 18 Years of Age

I hereby grant to _________________, agents and assigns the right to photograph my dependent and use the photo and or other digital reproduction of him/her or other reproduction of his/her physical likeness for publication processes, whether electronic, print, digital or electronic publishing via the Internet.

Model's Signature:

Model's Printed Name:


I certify that I am a custodial parent and have the aforementioned rights to assign.

Signature of
Parent or Guardian:

Print Name of
Parent or Guardian:


Date: ______________________

Lewis Hyde and the Copy Left Movement


Orphan Works:

An orphan work is a copyrighted work where it is difficult or impossible to contact the copyright holder. This situation can arise for many reasons. The author could have never been publicly known because the work was published anonymously or the work may have never been traditionally published at all. The identity of the author could have been once known but the information lost over time. Even if the author is known, it may not be possible to determine who inherited the copyright and presently owns it. Nearly any work where a reasonable effort to locate the current copyright owner fails can be considered orphaned. However the designation is often used loosely and in some jurisdictions there is no legal definition at all.

Reliable sources for Copyright Office documents related to this issue are here:


The Free Expression Policy Project

Copyright Website
update bennedict

United States Patent Office - Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure

Stanford University Copyright and Fair Use

Technical Advisory Service for Images


Illegal Art

Source for javascript based copyright notification and browser image locking.
JavaScript "NO RIGHT CLICK" for Images

Have you ever worked really hard on graphics for your site only to find later that someone has stolen them as their own. You can fully encrypt and protect your site with HTML-Protector and the scripts below will help against novices.

Use the script below so when someone right clicks to save an image off your page, a message will come up letting people know that your information is copyrighted.

This script only works on newer browsers, and it's not foolproof. If someone really wants something from your page they can find ways around it, but at least it's a warning to people who want to take your graphics. Copy and paste the following code, and make sure it comes right after your <HEAD> tag:

< script language="JavaScript">
// distributed by
< !--
var popup="Sorry, right-click is disabled.\n\nThis Site Copyright ©2000";
function noway(go) {
if (document.all) {
if (event.button == 2) {
return false;
if (document.layers) {
if (go.which == 3) {
return false;
if (document.layers) {
// --> </script>

Script For "NO RIGHT CLICK" for Source

Here is a handy little script which will not only protect your images from right clicking, but your whole page. Remember this only stops some visitors from viewing your source. There are ways around it and if someone really wants to view your source they may find a way. There is another trick below to protect your source code.

This script works best if placed within the head tags of your html. Homestead users can use the "insert html" option within their editors:

< !--
< script language="JavaScript1.1">
// distributed by http://www,
< !-- var debug = true;
function right(e)
if (navigator.appName == 'Netscape' && (e.which == 3 || e.which == 2)) return false;
else if (navigator.appName == 'Microsoft Internet Explorer' && (event.button == 2 || event.button == 3)) {
alert('This Page is fully protected!');
return false;

return true;
if (document.layers) window.captureEvents(Event.MOUSEDOWN);