Invasion of Privacy Laws Require Amateur Photographer to Get Model’s Release

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“If I either take pictures or video people with my camera can I sell the video/pictures without having verbal consent or written consent from them?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

Generally speaking, you should have a signed model’s release form before you attempt to do anything commercial with somebody’s likeness, whether it is a still picture or video, or you run the risk of running afoul of privacy laws, and a lawsuit for invasion of privacy. There are a few extremely narrow exceptions, such as those having to do with newsworthy events, or a public figure, but they are narrow enough, and tricky enough, that unless you are a professional who really knows what they are doing (in which case you probably wouldn’t be asking this question), it’s not worth the risk.

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Author: Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

Anne P. Mitchell, Esq. is a noted family law expert, Internet law expert, and Professor of Law at Lincoln Law School of San Jose. She is the author of "Surviving Divorce: the Single Father's Guide" and "The Email Deliverability Handbook"

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