What is my potential liability for posting photographs of people without a model release?

UPDATED: Aug 29, 2011

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What is my potential liability for posting photographs of people without a model release?

As a photographer, I try to get a model release at all times. On the occasion I have an image without a model release, and I want to post it on my website, what risks do I run without a model release? The site is a photography portfolio site, promoting my photography business. The images are not posted for resale, just samples of my work.

Asked on August 29, 2011 Nevada


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It is always best to obtain a written release and authorization from a person whose image will be used in any advertisement in that the unauthorized use of a person's image be it a photograph or video for profit or possible profit is an actionable offense in the civil arena, tortious use of a person's likeness or image.

The negative outcome of the unauthorized use of one's umage for business promotion or profit would be a lawsuit seeking injunctive relief and damages. Attorney's fees in defending such an action could be quite expensive.

Prudence suggests that a written lease by every indiviual you wish to place for your business promotion be first obtained before the image is displayed.

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