Are you a photographer looking to have your photograph released to you? Or are you a rights holder looking to release your subject matter to an artist? The law relating to this topic is the Copyright Act. That Act talks about an “artist” and “artistic work” and we use the term “subject matter”. In the above example, the photographer is called an “artist”, his client the “rights holder”, the client’s house which is photographed the “subject matter” and the photograph the “artistic work”.
An artistic release is an agreement between a rights holder and an artist.
The artist wants to create artistic works, like photographs, from certain subject matter, like a house or another kind of property.
The rights holder has the rights in the subject matter – usually because they own it.
The rights holder agrees to give the artist permission to create artistic works from the subject matter in exchange for a release fee and subject to certain restrictions.
The artist needs to know how they’re going to be able to use the rights holder’s subject matter so that they can confidently exploit any artistic works they create from it.
A magazine photographer needs to be able to sell his photographs to make money.
Similarly, the rights holder needs to know how the artist is going to be able to use their subject matter so that they have peace of mind.
A homeowner needs to know how photographs of their home will be used.
Why you should get one
Are you an artist like a photographer or a rights holder like a homeowner in this situation?
You should get a written artistic release agreement to regulate your relationship with the other party because it will:
- Protect you;
- Make your duties to one another clear; and
- Prevent disputes between you.