In the everchanging face of our business, one of the aspects that changes only in one direction is the legal aspect. It becomes ever more complex, in no short part due to the fact that more people are more aware of their rights, and more protective of their work, on either side of the camera. Rampant fraud and misappropriation are likely not going away anytime soon, and it’s in your best interest to have even the most modest legal awareness, and documentation to protect yourself and your work.
This sort of thing doesn’t need to be complicated, and the same technology that enables and encourages the aforementioned fraud and lack of appropriation, can make it a little easier to deal with it – Shake is an app for iOS and Android that can generate legally binding agreements on the spot. Recently, they’ve added templates for photographers for image and model releases, and if you have a smartphone, which you do, then I would recommend having a good look at it.
Within the image release, it grants full rights to the photographer to use and edit the model’s image, full rights to sell that image, and the model’s release of the photographer for any claims in connection with the use of the image. It covers what the vast majority of people will likely ever need, and even if it’s not as complete as you may like, short of having an attorney on retainer, this is a pretty good option – though not a substitute.
Using The App
Downloading the app was simple enough, though it doesn’t appear in the iPad Only store. I’m not sure if it just hasn’t been optimized yet, but on the iPad, the app showed black borders around it. Nothing distracting, but I figure considering the iPad’s proliferation that it would be prudent to have it be flush. The site shows it as such, but I couldn’t get it to look quite like that.
Otherwise, the questions are concise, and easy to read and understand largely due to their brevity and lack of legal jargon. It’s also easy to move back and edit before completion, and there is room to actually write in an open manner. The steps are somewhat numerous and I’d probably set aside a few minutes to do this, but at the end, you’ll have something nice an professional looking. I really liked the overall look, feel, and use.
The Shake site also mentions that you can now add a photo of the people signing the document at the time it’s being signed, though again, in my quick run through, I didn’t see this option, though it could be there, and not a problem either way.
There’s one point I should really stress here, is that as it’s on a digital device, it’s likely subject to autocorrect. The model’s name I was using was Charlotte Blackwood (homage to Top Gun), and I didn’t realize until about the end of the process that iOS’ autocorrect had changed it to Black Wood. Now, as this is a legal document and the law is an endevour that hangs on specificity, you’d want to make sure the names are right for the document to carry any weight at all.
Overall, I like the app, and I’ll be carrying it with me. It’s also free, which is sweet. Get it here.