When is a Crowd Release Notice Needed?

May 24, 2016

Topic: General Legal
Time Investment: 5 Minutes
Suggested Product:  Photography Crowd Release Notice


Photographing in a public venue can seem like fair game for photographers, but it gets tricky when there could be potential claims by the individuals photographed EVEN IF they had no expectation of privacy in the area.

What happens when you’re using commercially or the individual wants to be compensated?

This is where crowd release notices that are either placed in the terms of a ticket sale, registration confirmation, or posted at the event can work in the favor of the photographer.  Let’s go through names, likeness, the notices and some top questions to help acquaint you with this unarguably grey area of law.


Name & Likeness Guidelines

Consent is typically not needed to use an individual’s image or likeness that is not recognizable or identifiable.  However, should they be recognizable or identifiable and to be used in a promotional or commercial nature, a written release is typically needed.

This gets tricky in an environment of a large event when releases are generally not required from people who may be recognizable or identifiable in a street or public place provided that the individuals are not the focus of the photograph and photograph is reasonably related to subject matter.

All of that being said, while a release or a notice may not be required, the use of a crowd release notice may be added protection for your photography.


What is a crowd release notice?

This is a notice posted at a venue that (should) work to put the individuals in the area on notice of the following:

  • they may be photographed or otherwise recorded
  • images with them in it may be used in specific manners (many notices are written generally for irrevocable worldwide use in perpetuity)
  • release of claims for compensation by the individual


Why is this notice needed if there is no right to privacy?

While entering into a public venue often brings with it no expectation of privacy.  However, having a notice within a registration form, terms of purchase or posted at an event can add an extra layer of protection.

Obviously, a large event with many guests would be difficult for the photographer to acquire a release from each, therefore, having this notice in these methods works to eliminate the claim by the individual in the image that they had no notice of these actions and possible use of likeness.


Does the crowd release notice release other parties?

NO. The crowd release notice would only release the photographer for the event and would not release a third-party who has snapped an image of another.

Check out the Crowd Release Notice here!


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