Following best practices for photo and video releases in our work is not only necessary in fulfilling legal permission requirements, but is also an important part of maintaining positive relationships with our UMBC community.
Signed releases are required from subjects in any paid UMBC marketing campaigns. But, even if your project does not include paid ads right now, it is important to remember that media may be used in a variety of ways over time, so it’s always better to err on the side of getting clear permission from subjects.
Fortunately, it’s now easier than ever to document releases. In addition to the option of printing out a physical form, you may instead request that subjects sign a Docusign version. To access the link to share and obtain those forms, be sure to visit the Photo/Video/Audio Release guideline section of our UMBC Brand and Style Guide.
A few other FAQs related to permissions:
How long does a photo release last? We should aim to “sunset” or stop using images after about 5-6 years, unless the use is specifically representing a time period from the archive.
Are releases needed at events? While it is not usually feasible to collect releases at in-person events, you are encouraged to include signage that lets attendees know they may be filmed (and that they should alert staff if they need to opt out). It is okay to use images from events for future promotion of the same or very similar events (given none of the subjects in the shots have asked to opt out), but it is important to use discretion and follow up if looking to use imagery in more broad campaigns, publications, or paid marketing.
Can I use past imagery if no release was obtained? There may be times we need to work with archival media, and whenever feasible, we should seek retroactive written permission and signed releases. We should be mindful of the potential reasons someone who previously granted general permission to use their likeness in our media may not be comfortable with future use in specific publications and materials – particularly those related to sensitive topics, or after a significant amount of time has passed. In these cases, we will strive to confirm permission for particular usage or find alternative imagery that fits our needs.
Are releases needed for self-submitted work? When receiving images from our community and partners, staff should share the messaging below. If there is a chance the submitted photos would be used in paid advertising, a signed release form should also still be collected.
By making a submission, you give permission for your photos, recordings, or other creative material to be used in and adapted for future UMBC communications and marketing, and you confirm that you have the right to give permission, that you are the creator of this work or have the permission of the creator, and have obtained permissions from any other people featured in the work.
Questions about photo releases and related topics? Contact Marlayna Demond at firstname.lastname@example.org.