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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-29-05 11:18 PM
Original message
Anyone ever do a book?
I've got a friend (cough) who's thinking about putting together a picture book of shots he's (cough) taken over the last few years as a small-town Jimmy Olsen.

His (cough) boss says the shots are all his; the subjects were all in public places. Heck, most of them have gone to press.

Does my friend (cough) need releases from people? Or is it just the small ;) matter of finding a publisher, writing a bunch of captions, and buying that sailboat in the South Pacific? :D
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FloridaPat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 10:29 PM
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1. If the faces of the people are recognizable, you need a release form.
I like that sailboat in the S. Pacific idea.

Good luck with your, I mean, your friend's book.
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regnaD kciN Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-01-05 11:15 PM
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2. It's a tricky question...
...and your friend (cough) would best be served checking with a lawyer.

I used to assume that, if the face was recognizable, you needed a release, period. However, several photo-business books I've read said that this is not the case if a) the photo was taken in a public place, and b) it is used for editorial rather than commercial purposes. The last part means that, if the photo is going to be used for advertising a product, organization, or individual (say, a political campaign), the subject can veto its use, so that they don't find their likeness being used to endorse someone or something they don't support.

The question would be, then, whether someone could convince a judge that a book constituted commercial rather than editorial use -- I suspect this would be tricky, but only a competent lawyer could give a definitive answer.

Of course, since the procedures involved in preparing for a lawsuit can be as lengthy, expensive, and wearying as the trial itself, your friend (cough) might want to ask himself (cough) whether a) any of the subjects would be likely to see this as a way to "easy money," and b) whether they have more resources to draw this out than your friend (cough). In most cases, I would think these are mutually-contradictory matters -- in other words, if your friend (cough) has enough money to make it worthwhile for a subject to sue him (cough), he (cough) probably has enough money to drag out the proceedings longer than the subject could stand; conversely, if he (cough) doesn't have enough money to keep a lawsuit defense going through the pre-trial period, he (cough) probably doesn't have enough to make it worthwhile for the subject to sue in the first place.

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Ms. Toad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. You will need to check state laws.
There are a number of states that have enacted right of publicity/persona laws in recent years - and they vary tremendously from state to state.

Here's a link to Ohio's:

(RC 2741 - you will need to click on XXVII in the left frame, then on 2741 in the right frame)

Bottom line: Check with an attorney. Your "friend" would probably be better off with an attorney who practices in the realm of intellectual property (especially since there may be copyright issues involved - some publishers like to own everything - which may not be in your "friend's" best interests).
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