An inquiry about signing a Agreement.

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An inquiry about signing a Agreement.

Post by Carolyn »

When a model signs the portrait rights agreement, is there any stipulations of his name and certification number? If the model uses a penname instead of his offical name, and uses a temporary certification number, and then he makes a fingerprint on the agreement; in this case, will the agreement still have legal effect?

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Post by AndyJ »

H Carolyn

I'm not entirely clear about what you mean by 'portrait rights agreement' and 'certification number'.

Are you based in the UK? If so it is worth mentioning that there is no legal requirement for a model release, which is what I'm guessing you mean by portrait rights agreement. A release is only necessary in jurisdictions such as the USA where there is publicity rights (aka privacy rights) legislation, or if you want to sell your images to advertising agencies or some photo agencies. This would cover the agencies (rather than you the photographer) against claims of defamation in the event that a model's image was used to sell a wholly inappropriate product. If you have the USA in mind, remember that it may be necessary to have a specific form of words in your agreement, which meets the requirements of the local state law. If in doubt take a look at the website of the American Society of Media Photographers where you will also find some examples of compliant release forms.

However you didn't actually ask about releases, but about how they should be signed. The model needs to sign in their own name, although they can stipulate that only their modelling or stage name is used in connection with the images. There might be occasions where an internationally famous model has their own limited liability company (for tax purposes) and then they may be able to sign using their stage name when they would effectively be acting as an agent on behalf of themselves, but mercifully I don't think you are dealing with anything like that!

As mentioned earlier I'm not clear what certification number you are referring to. Certainly in the UK there is no requirement for you to check if models have any certificates (such as a work visa) to conduct their business, even if they are not British nationals, because you, as a photographer, are not deemed to be an 'employer' for the purposes of the right to work rules. If this is something specific to employment law in another country then you would probably need to check with the local authorities about the validity of a temporary certificate number.

If someone is illiterate and therefore cannot sign their name, a fingerprint may suffice (although you will also need to record their real name), but this then raises the issue of whether the person has understood the contents of the document they have just 'signed' if they can't read. In such circumstances, to be legally waterproof, it may be necessary to have the signature witnessed by a third person, along with a statement to the effect that the model was read the document and understood it before signing.

Sorry if I haven't answered your question - please come back if you need any clarification.
Advice or comment provided here is not and does not purport to be legal advice as defined by s.12 of Legal Services Act 2007
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