VM Release has created a new APP for the iPhone allowing photographers to capture model releases from those they photograph and all digitally using the iPhone. This is pretty cool and certainly has its usefulness for those photographing people and private property.
The app has a Adult Release, a Minor Release for the kids, and a Property Release for that farm photo you just took. The app maintains a database of releases that can be downloaded and archived on your computer as well as sent from the iPhone. It has the ability to enter the photographers signature after the shoot, the models, and a witness signature as well. You can also create a jpg or pdf of the release to submit with the original images. The price is great as well at $9.95.
The site and video states the releases are perfectly legal but it does not state who decided a digital release was legal. I assume they are legal documents since Getty and Alamy have signed on and promote the app to members. I cant help but wonder about the legality as it has always been my understanidng that you needed a paper release with the signature written with real ink.
About 5 years ago I was hired by an out of state lawyer to go to the hospital in my town and photograph a womans injuries as she recovered from a head on car collision. The lawyer told me I could not shoot digitally and had to shoot film and send the negatives with the prints. He said with all the potential image manipulation taking place that the court would not accept digital pictures of the woman’s injuries.
Is there a difference between a digital photo and a digital model release as far as the courts are concerned? I am not sure. Any lawyers out there?
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