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VM Release: A Model Release App for the iPhone

December 11, 2011 Legal 4 Comments

Written by: Charlie Borland

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?
Related Posts: Here is a Perfect Reason Why You Need Solid Model Releases

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Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. marcus says:

    I’m not a lawyer either, but the courts have had to adapt to the digital world just as everyone else has. In a fairly significant case last year for the software industry, a federal appeals court held that End User License Agreements are legally binding contracts. And there, all you’re doing is clicking a button that says “I agree”. My bank, and many of the stores where I use a credit card have digital signature devices that are essentially the same thing, as using an iPhone. I imagine they would still be using pen and paper if there was any concern that the digital signature wouldn’t be valid. There’s still the issue of someone saying, “I didn’t sign that” and you have to prove that they did, but that really isn’t any different with digital than it is with paper and ink.

  2. admin says:

    Great points Marcus. Thanks for chiming in.

  3. Tom McGhee says:

    This is Tom McGhee Photographer and creator of the VMRelease™ to let everyone know that when we were developing the VMRelease™ back in late 2009, the legality of the outputted releases was a if not the key element and concern of creating such a app. Without this there was no reason to move forward, therefore we invested a lot of time and research into the acceptance of the release in a digital form. In part we worked closely with the legal team of Getty Images who were and are very supportive of our VMRelease™. As this was the first digital release presented to them they took this issue very seriously and in doing so spent over 9 mths to conduct their research throughout all of the territories where their images are sold.

    This process delayed our actual release of our application to market as we did not want to present an application prematurly as this may result in releases being rejected, as was the case with a similar app which was released prior to our application just to rush to try and gain market share. We would never consider such a more as as a Pro Photographer of 17 yrs I know the hassle that this can cause in chasing up talent to sign another release form.

    So in closing I would simply like to assure all that the digital releases created via the VMRelease™ application are Legal and are being accepted by the major image agencies throughout the world. We continue to contact more and more agencies to add to our official list and are currently in talks with the likes of Image Source,Corbis/Veer and Gallery Stock to name just a few.

    For updates both Photographers,Producers and Fillmmakers are advised to check out our website http://www.vmrelease.com and follow us on Twitter @vmrelease for the very latest news.

    Android Users.

    We are also currently in the development stages of a VMRelease™ for the Android and plan on introducing this valuable addition to our family of App’s in Feb 2012.

    Also we want and value all feedback so keep it coming.


    Tom McGhee

    we are currently in the development stages of a VMRelease™ for the Android and plan on introducing this valuable addition to our family of App’s in Feb 2012.

  4. admin says:

    Thanks for filling us in Tom!

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