For contents uploaded to PIXTA which includes identifiable persons (i.e., they can be recognized by people who know them), the subject of the photo accrues portrait rights, so a model release (a usage agreement for their portrait) must be submitted or it cannot be sold or used in advertisements without their permission.
This is very important to avoid trouble with models or purchasers and to sell them safely as stock photos, so please exercise careful judgment when determining whether or not a release is necessary, and if necessary, be sure to submit the release.
 

What is a model release? When is it necessary?

A model release is a written agreement which grants the ability to use a stock photo for sale when signed by the subject who holds the likeness rights.

When you obtain a model release and submit it to PIXTA, “This image has a signed model release.” will be displayed on the sales page, and purchasers will be able to use your content with peace of mind.

 
img_model_release

 

A model release is required for all photos, illustrations, and images which include identifiable individuals.

Even if the subject is the photographer themselves, a family member of the photographer (including small children), or someone other than the main subject depicted in the image, if they are identifiable, a model release is required for each individual.

Furthermore, even if the subject is a public billboard or other signage that depicts people, if the individuals are identifiable, it cannot be sold without a model release.

Conversely, in cases in which only body parts such as the hands are showing, or the individual is shown in silhouette or from behind and cannot be identified, it is not necessary to obtain a model release even if an individual is shown.

However, a photo that does not require a release does not mean that it does not require the subject’s permission. Even if a release is not required, as a matter of courtesy on the part of the photographer, please obtain the permission of individuals that will be photographed.

 

《Examples of when a model release is required and not required》
The faces of the individuals are clearly depicted, so model releases are required. If multiple individuals are depicted, please submit a model release for each individual.
Only the individuals’ feet are depicted, and they are not identifiable, so model releases are not required.
The individual is shown from behind, and they are not identifiable, so a model release is not required. * For cases in which the subject is shown from behind or in profile, but characteristic areas of the person are depicted which would allow the individual themselves or those acquainted with them to determine the identity of the subject, please obtain a model release.
The subject is shown entirely in silhouette, and they are not identifiable, so a model release is not required.
The baby’s face is clearly depicted, so a model release is required. The hands holding the baby cannot be used to identify the individual, so a model release is not required. If the subject is a minor, please obtain the signature of their legal guardian. (The consent of all legal guardians is required.)
The face is partially covered by a mask, but the individual is still identifiable, so a model release is required. In particular, a person is more easily identified if their eyes are depicted, so please make judgments carefully.
If the majority of the face is covered as in this example, and the individual cannot be identified, a model release is not required.
The man in the middle is depicted in such a way that he can be identified, so a model release is required. There are several passersby shown behind him, but because they are blurred to the extent that they cannot be identified, so model releases are not required.
Click the image!
At this size, the individual can hardly be recognized, but their face is clearly shown at full size.
Even in cases where the photo was taken without a specific person as the main subject, such as crowd scenes, if persons are shown who are identifiable at full size, a model release is required. Please be sure to expand the image to full size and check. Additionally, model releases are required for public signage and posters that depict people who are identifiable.

 

 What should I do if I’m not sure a model release is needed or not?

In cases where the face is not depicted, but there are elements that make it possible to an identify an individual, such as the subject wearing special clothing or doing a performance only that individual is capable of, or in cases where it is ambiguous whether a person is identifiable, such as photos taken in profile, when you are not sure, we strongly recommend obtaining a model release just to be sure.

 What should I do if I can’t obtain a model release?

In cases in which you cannot realistically obtain a model release, such as unknown passersby in scenic photos, please try to avoid showing their faces, blur them out, or crop them out if they are near the edge of the frame.
* Please be aware that excessive processing that harms the quality of an image as stock content, such as adding clearly unnatural blur after photographing, may result in the rejection of a submission.

How to submit a model release

Please submit model releases at the same time you submit a work. Please be aware that submissions will be rejected if a release is not submitted for each individual for whom a model release is required.

 How to submit a model release

1. First download and print out a model release form for each subject in advance, and fill in the the line for the photographer appropriately.

*Please download and use the latest form available at the link below
Download Model Release

 

2. At the time of photography, obtain the signature of the subject. * The photographer should retain the signed original copy of the form, as well as have the subject retain a copy.

  • Before photography, please be sure to have the subject check the contents of the form thoroughly, and obtain their signature after they have understood it.
  • Even if the subject is the photographer themselves, a relative, or close friend, a model release is required. Please follow the normal procedure for submitting a model release.
  • If there are multiple subjects, a model release is required for each individual.
  • Even if you are photographing the same subject, please obtain their signature on the model release after photography. Reusing the same model release for photographs with different themes or taken on different dates can potentially lead to trouble later.
  • In cases when the subject is a minor, the signature of the legal guardian is required. In such a case, please obtain the consent of all legal guardians.
  • In cases when the subject is deceased, please obtain the signature of the next of kin or a close relative. In the notes section of the model release, please indicate that the subject is deceased.

3. After uploading a work, upload and attach the appropriate number of model releases on the submit page.

Common reasons for rejection related to model releases

Please be aware that your submission will be rejected if the submitted documents are deficient in the following ways.

  • Information is missing Writing is illegible or incomplete, or the copy is out of focus
  • The contents of the document cannot be determined because the image is too small etc.
  • The number of release forms submitted does not match the number of subjects
  • The photographer’s own signature or seal is missing (if the signature line is typed, a separate seal or signature is required.)
  • The model’s signature is not handwritten (If the model cannot write their own signature, the legal guardian’s handwritten signature is required on the Parent(s) line.)
 Examples of rejected model releases
*Click the images to expand.

Missing information.

Writing is illegible.

Part of the document is missing. The image is out of focus and the writing is illegible.

If the contents of the submitted model release forms are deficient in some way, you can display it by going to Account Page (login required) → File Manager → Model Releases → Rejected, so please upload the appropriate documents again.

If it is not displayed in Rejected, it is possible that the number of model release forms submitted did not match the number of subjects included in the work. Please check the contents of the work again, and obtain and submit a model release for each identifiable person.

If you wish to attach the appropriate documents and resubmit them, please upload the revised model release, attach it to the content which was rejected since there was lacking information and submit again.

Frequently Asked Questions about Model Releases

Q. I have something about which I’m not sure if a model release is required, could you look at it for me before I submit it?
A. We ask that creators carefully consider the contents of this page and make the decision themselves.
PIXTA makes the decision at the time of submission for sale, we are unable to handle any inquiries other than submissions. We ask for your understanding.
In order to avoid trouble we recommend that you obtain a release just in case if you are not sure, or if you are unable to obtain a release, to refrain from selling the work.

Q. Even though it seemed like I wouldn’t need a release for my work, it was rejected for a deficient model release.
A. In cases where it is ambiguous whether an individual can be identified or not, such as when they appear very small or partially in shadow etc., we may have cautiously decided to avoid the risk.
In order to avoid trouble with subjects or purchasers, we will sell these kinds of works after a release has been obtained, or if a release cannot be obtained, we will refrain from selling it, so please register only works that definitely have no problems.
In cases that are clearly a fault of the system, such as a work being rejected even though it contains no people, we apologize for the inconvenience and ask that you please submit a support form with the content number.

Q. If it is a model I have photographed before, can I submit the same model release form?
A. Please obtain the subject’s signature on the model release form for each photography session after explaining this to the subject. If they are different cuts photographed on the same day, you may use a single release form, but if you reuse the same release from for photographs taken on different date or a different theme, it may lead to trouble with the subject.

Q. The photo shows my child and I, so I have permission. Are the documents required?
A. Even if the subject is the photographer themselves, their relative, or a close friend, please be sure to submit the model release forms. If the subject is a minor, the signatures of the legal guardians are required after obtaining the consent of the legal guardians.

Q. Is a model release required if the subject is deceased?
A. Yes, if they are identifiable, please submit a model release form. In such a case, please obtain the signature of a close relative of the subject, and indicate that the subject is deceased in the notes section.

Q. Are model releases required for illustrated content?
A. Yes, if it is modeled on an existing person, and that person is identifiable, a model release is required even for illustrations.

Q. Do you accept releases provided by sources other than PIXTA?
A. Yes, if it has the same requirements as the PIXTA release form, and the necessary information is entered correctly on said form, feel free to submit it.
* Depending on the form, some may require the signature of a witness (third party) in addition to the creator and model.
Please be aware that in such a case, we will not accept forms that have not been properly signed by all parties.


In order to sell stock content more safely, we thank you for understanding the above.