Permission to use peoples images : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I have a fairly large number of beautiful images, some nude, of people, friends etc, which I took about twenty years ago. I never made them public before. I have no idea how to contact many of the people now, for permission. Does anyone know whether it would be legal for me to use them in an exhibition, put them on my web site etc. now, without obtaining a release first? Any other problems anyone knows of related to this issue?

-- Andrew Hopkins (, December 13, 1998


You need to talk to a lawyer if you are really concerned. Basically though, and this is just a legal layman's opinion, if the images are being used for artistic or non-defamatory, non-embarrasing editorial purpose, you are probably in the clear. In short, as long as you are not exploiting their likeness for personal gain, you might be okay. Of course that doesn't mean someone won't try to sue you anyway if they and their lawyer think that there is something to be gained by doing so. I would hestitate before publishing them on the web, especially the nudes.

You sound like an honest guy, try offering a print in xchange for a signed model release to those people you can still find. Have you tried looking these people up on the web (if you know their names)? How about through one of those people finder services? If someone does try to sue you and you can prove that you did make an honest effort to find them, that might be looked upon favorably by a court.

-- Ellis (, December 14, 1998.

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