Grants:PEG/Wikimedia New York City/Development of a model release process for photos and video

statusNot Funded
Fashion Law Institute Model Release Project
model release templates for image and video uploads
targetEnglish Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons
strategic priorityImprove quality
start dateMarch 1 2016
start year2016
end dateMarch 1
end year2017
budget (local currency)7500
budget (USD)7500
grant typeOrganization
non-profit statusYes
organization• Fashion Law Institute• Wikimedia New York City

Project goal edit

When sharing certain images of individuals that suggest a use of personality rights, Wikimedia contributors are currently using model releases, requesting them when they are not used, criticizing the ones that are used, and being frustrated and confused by lack of clarity for what kind of model release to use and when to use one. The primary aim of this project would be to provide a set of model release agreement templates designed to address legal issues raised by the posting of images and video on Wikipedia, including copyright and privacy, publicity, and personality rights. The project would also provide explanatory examples and promote effective use of the forms.

See the talk page of this proposal for some example cases where there has been confusion among Wikimedia contributors about the consent of people featured in photos. Beyond Wikimedia projects, the development of a Creative Commons-licensed legally reviewed model release would improve the quality and legitimacy of the broader media commons.

Plan edit

Images and videos are a highly efficient means of conveying information, but rights issues can raise serious questions about whether their use is appropriate. The project will provide a way for the Wikipedia community to document that the requisite rights have been secured.

This project would be especially useful in areas that commonly use photographs and video of people to illustrate key points. For instance, clothing and accessories are frequently shown while being worn by models, but the modeling community has become increasingly sophisticated in regard to models' rights to the use of their images. Similarly, photographs are often the ideal means of conveying the defining features of illnesses and other medical conditions, but the use of an image or video for this purpose without first securing the express right to do so can have serious legal repercussions.

Activities edit

This project has four key components:

  • The first stage will be to draft a set of model release templates, drawing upon the legal expertise of the Fashion Law Institute community. Particular attention will be paid to key jurisdictions in the United States (e.g., New York and California) and internationally. We would also seek input from the broader Wikipedia community as to its experience and concerns regarding the use of images and videos.
  • In conjunction with drafting model release templates, we would also prepare an explanatory legal memorandum and public guidelines for their use, including illustrative examples. These guidelines would reflect contemporary norms and best practices, and the explanations would help users understand the need for model release agreements.
  • As the first draft of model release templates and guidelines are completed, the material would be made available for use in test cases. We would also encourage review by the broader Wikipedia community.
  • Final drafts would then be prepared, incorporating comments from Wikipedia users, and submitted for official use.

In conjunction with the posting of the final version of the model release agreement templates and guidelines, we would also be open to working with the Wikipedia community to make people aware of the material and how it can help with posting images and video.

Fit to strategy edit

Establishing templates with guidelines and illustrative examples would support several key objectives for enhancing Wikipedia: clarifying the status of rights associated with images would strengthen trust while reducing risk; it would encourage people to submit useful images and videos that they currently unsure that they can post; and it would also show the Wikipedia community's commitment to maintaining the highest professional standards and respecting others' rights. In addition, the project with increase participation by reaching out to law students and professionals who are not at present Wikiepedia contributors.

Measures of success edit

The key indicators of success would be completion of the material, its implementation on the Wikipedia site, and subsequent use for image and video uploads.

Resources and risks edit

Resources edit

This will be an official project of the Fashion Law Institute, a nonprofit organization founded with the support of Diane von Furstenberg and the Council of Fashion Designers of America.The Fashion Law Institute's founder, Professor Susan Scafidi, is world-renowned expert on intellectual property law and the creator of the world's first course in Fashion Law. The Fashion Law Institute is based at Fordham Law School, where it established and maintains the law school's extensive Fashion Law curriculum.

The project will be managed by the Fashion Law Institute's Associate Director and professor for the Fashion Ethics, Sustainability, and Development course, Jeff Trexler. Besides Professors Scafidi and Trexler, faculty members include

  • Ali Grace Marquart (former Deputy General Counsel and Director, Business & Legal Affairs; Wilhelmina International, Ltd.) and Doreen Small (film producer and former Vice President and General Counsel, Ford Models, Inc.), principals of Marquart and Small and co-teachers of the Fashion Modeling Law course;
  • Angela Byun, Senior Director of Business Affairs and International Licensing at Condé Nast, who teaches the Fashion Licensing course
  • Stanley G. Sherwood (former International Tax Counsel, Kering), Managing Partner at Sherwood Associates, who teaches Fashion Law and Finance; and
  • Ewa Abrams, Vice President, Associate General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer at Tiffany & Co., and Brien Wassner, partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, who together run the Fashion Law Practicum.

The Fashion Law Institute has a robust global network of faculty, alumni, law students, and supporters who can apply their expertise to this initiative; the national and international breadth of the Fashion Law Institute community will be a significant resource for this project, inasmuch as legal rights can vary widely not just among various countries, but provinces and states as well.

Risks edit

Local legal variations make a one-size-fits-all form impossible to guarantee, though the templates will be reviewed for conformity with the law of leading jurisdictions.

A related issue: changes in the law over time, particularly after the material is finalized for posting and use. To address this issue, it would be useful to include an indication of when the material was posted or last revised.

In addition, the templates will need to make clear through a disclaimer that they do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon for personal use without consulting a qualified attorney. The aim of these templates is not to advise individuals taking, posting, or being featured in photographs and videos, but to provide a record for Wikipedia in regard to the rights associated with the posted material.

Budget breakdown edit

USD 7,500 (the value of legal services to be provided for this project will be substantially greater than the requested amount). This includes the following
  • Legal research
  • Drafting of documents
  • Giving a legal opinion in the name of the Fashion Law Institute
  • Publishing consent documents and templates as described in Wikimedia projects with appropriate licenses
  • All money goes to the Fashion Law Institute - Wikimedia community support is provided by volunteers
Number Category Item description Unit Number of units Cost per unit Total cost Currency Notes
1 Legal research staff at Fashion Law Institute one hour 60 125 7500 USD standard rate for legal research in this sector. Includes a mix of time from lawyers and office assistants. The significance of this request is that granting this amount of money demonstrates Wikimedia community support, while not actually being enough money to justify FLI engaging in this project for the sake of money.

Non-financial requirements edit

  • Public acknowledgment of the Fashion Law Institute on posted templates and explanations, along with the date the material was posted or last revised.
  • Review by the broader Wikipedia community would also be useful.

Discussion edit

Community notification edit

I will post here when the notice is done. Blue Rasberry (talk) 17:37, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I just shared the link to this proposal at all of those places. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:34, 21 December 2015 (UTC)

Endorsements edit

Do you think this project should be selected for a Project and Event Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project in the list below. Other feedback, questions or concerns from community members are also highly valued, but please post them on the talk page of this proposal.

  • Matthew Ferguson 57 (talk). You've clearly put a lot of work in to this project, and it is commendable. I would use a standardized release form were one available, because the survival of images is more guaranteed than at present, when it seems that any image can be removed by overzealous deletionists on commons at any time.
  • User:Ozzie10aaaa (talk) could be useful
  • User:Ste.caneva (talk). I think the project is useful and could have good impact on the Wiki community. It could even provide a scalable case for similar initiatives in other disciplines and/or countries. There are only a few points I would like to comment upon:
    1. The expertise field of the leading institution is fashion. I wonder if experts in the medical sector (which is one of the fields considered in the proposal) should be added or whether the legal framework is the same.
    2. As pointed out in the proposal, there is indeed no certainty about the way the models will be kept up-to-date after the release. Maybe there should be some reflections on this point. A possible follow-up could be envisaged, such as yearly interactions between the leading organisation and the local wikimedia community.
    3. In order to foster the dissemination of the models and their translation to other legal codes, it might be interesting to consider establishing a contact with the organisations previously taking part in Europeana Fashion [1]. In addition to actively participating with the Wikimedia community in the involved countries, this Europeana partner project was one of the most active concerning the legal framework for the use of fashion-related photos and videos. - Ste.caneva
I replied at the talk page. Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:23, 2 February 2016 (UTC)
WMBE will endorse this project, User:Ste.caneva will speak for us --DerekvG (talk) 09:59, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
  • I would support this. Provided that community agreement can be obtained, particularly on Commons, this should provide a good opportunity to rationalise some of the difficult issues of consent that have dogged Wikimedia projects for the last 10 years. It won't solve everything - medical images in particular may perhaps be out of scope - but providing a generally-agreed consent form could help cut through some of the ad hoc arguments and admin decisions that remain too often the norm. As a secondary issue, it would be good to make this an integral part of the community discussions around improving the Photographs of identifiable people guideline which has needed significant work for some time. I have started on a re-write at Photographs of identifiable people/Draft 2015-16, but haven't got very far with it yet. Discussions with the community will be key, as an externally-imposed legal document is unlikely to gain much traction. But Bluerasberry has been making very significant efforts to involve others and to answer questions, and I'm sure he is well aware of that. If I can be of help (via Commons/OTRS/WMUK or legal), I'd be pleased to become involved. MichaelMaggs (talk) 15:14, 5 February 2016 (UTC)
  • How want you bypass the zealous Commons administrators? Without valid OTRS they can come after years and file a deletion request.--Kopiersperre (talk) 20:28, 7 February 2016 (UTC)
Kopiersperre Commons administrators have no opinion on this matter, so far as I know. There is no process for submitting model releases to OTRS. OTRS is for copyright release, not model release. It happens that some people do give model releases in OTRS, and some Commons administrators accept them, but there is no documented process for this. Sometimes these releases are accepted. See the talk page for examples. If you know any zealous Commons administrators then direct them to criticize this proposal. I need feedback. Blue Rasberry (talk) 21:35, 11 February 2016 (UTC)

See criticism on talk page! Blue Rasberry (talk) 15:31, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

  • Concern is that a conservative position by the lawyers could be used to justify deletion of 10s of thousands of images that do not meet this new bar. Those on Commons might look at the images of smallpox taken by the CDC and state that we do not have a clear indication that the CDC got appropriate consent and therefore we must remove them. If smallpox were to reappear (it exists in weaponized form in at least two countries and no one under 30 is immunized) we would than have no images of it which would be a disservice to the world. This could also mean that we could not take compatibly licensed images from PLOS Medicine or other journals as they will not give us their consent form to double check. And how would we prevent people from forging the forms? Would we than need to verify the identify of our contributors? Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 11:01, 30 April 2016 (UTC)
  • (your comment here)