If you have taken photos of subjects owned and managed by individuals or corporations other than yourself, or subjects that have their rights reserved (such as buildings and owned land, pets, and artwork), the documents for obtaining permission when selling the work are called “property releases.”
What is a property releases?
A property releases is a consent form for the owner of the subject of the photo to give approval for the content to be sold as stock photos, in the case that you have taken photos of subjects owned and managed by individuals or corporations other than yourself, or of subjects that have their rights reserved (such as buildings and owned land, pets, and artwork).
When you shoot pictures and produce stock content, depending on the subject, there is a possibility that various rights may come into play.
・ Logos and products of companies that are registered as trademarks and designs
・ Copyrighted characters and works of art
・ Pets and goods that are owned by third parties
When selling products including subjects such as those and others not listed as stock content without permission of the rights holders and owners, it may lead to trouble such as claims and lawsuits from the buyers as well as the rights holders.
In particular, if the content you already sold became a problem, there are cases where you will be held responsible for the damages, including the cost of suspending the use of and recovering of artifacts using that content.
As described above, before selling content that includes subjects owned and managed by individuals or corporations other than yourself, or subjects that have their rights reserved (such as buildings and owned land, pets, and artwork), please judge carefully whether or not consent will be necessary in advance, and obtain property releases as needed.
When is a property release necessary?
“Can I sell a picture I took of ●● without a problem?”
“Is a property release necessary for the photos I took at ××?”
The need for a property release varies depending on the subject and content of the photos, the terms and use of the content, etc. Please recognize that deciding whether or not consent is necessary, as well as obtaining the consent when it is deemed necessary, is under the responsibility of the creators themselves.
(※ For example, to give an example when taking photos at the zoo, support can vary depending on the location; there are places that say, “personal commemorative photos are okay, but commercial photography of any kind is prohibited,” and others that say, “it is possible to take photos for use as stock photos if you apply for permission in advance,” still others that say, “there aren’t really any restrictions established,” as well as places that say, “photography is prohibited only of certain subjects or in specific on-site locations.”)
In addition, it is not necessary to submit the property releases obtained to PIXTA. Please store them safely on your own in case there is an inquiry from the purchaser.
The following are examples of subjects that we would highly recommend the creator to confirm whether or not consent is needed for sale as a stock photo (please keep in mind that it is not intended to cover every subject that needs consent).
- Works of art that are protected by copyright (those in which it has not been more than 50 years since the creator died)
- Products with characteristic designs (please be especially careful of one-of-a-kind furniture, miscellaneous goods, daily necessities, etc.)
- Pets and famous animals, etc.
- Pictures taken on land owned and managed by third parties (commercial facilities such as theme parks and zoos, historic structures, at the house of an acquaintance, etc.)
- Other places that have some sort of regulation on taking pictures (commercial photography)
As creators that take pictures and produce content for sale, please behave as such, and conduct research in advance on your own about whether or not you need consent for the target of your photographs.
Basically, if you take pictures of subjects or places managed and owned by a third party other than yourself, or in an area with restrictions in regards to photography, it would be best if you check whether or not if you need permission beforehand.
Also, unlike personal photography work, taking pictures to be used as stock photos is “Commercial Photography”, and those pictures may be used for advertisements or commercial purposes.
Please take note when you check whether permission is needed or not, that there are also cases where it is permitted to take pictures as personal memorabilia and as photography work, but the sale of photos as stock photos is prohibited.
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Frequently asked questions about property releases
● What should you do if you are in doubt whether or not you need a property release?
When you are in doubt, we strongly recommend checking in advance with the subject’s owner, manager, or rights holder, just in case.
For example, if the subject’s owner, manager, or rights holder is unknown, or if it is not possible to check, then please refrain from selling that content.
● What should I do if I cannot obtain a property release?
Property releases are necessary, so please refrain from selling content for which you cannot obtain one.
However, in regards to buildings and such that appear in a landscape photo, because taking photos from a public road is not prohibited, if it is taken only as a part of the landscape (= not the main subject), it is essentially thought of as not a problem.
● How should I obtain a property release?
Property release documents can be downloaded from the following page. Once you have filled out the required fields, please ask the subject’s owner, manager, or rights holder to sign it.
*Please download and use the latest form available at the link below
Download Property Release
In addition, when you have already obtained property releases, the buyers will purchase with confidence if you note that in the comments section of the content for sale.