Anatomy, Art Jobs

Legal Tips that Every Nude Model Needs to Know

May 30, 2014

By Alina Bradford

Images by Belovodchenko Anton

Being an al natural model for fine art photography may get you some extra cash, but it can also get you jail time.

Notorious photographer Zach Hyman’s model found this out while modeling for him in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, according to NBC News. She was arrested and charges were brought against her.

So how can models protect themselves from legal problems?

These tips from Rex D. GlensyDirector of Intellectual Property Concentration and Associate Professor of Law at The Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University will help keep models from making costly legal mistakes that may ruin a career.

Release Forms and Legal Protection

A model may think that by signing a release form that they are not held responsible for the legal implications of a photo shoot. Not true, says Glensy. “You cannot have someone released from committing a crime.” He says that if the police find you posing unclothed in a public place you can be arrested release or no release. 

The photographer, on the other hand, may go free if the model is the one breaking modesty laws.

How Models Can Protect Themselves on Location

Models need to check the laws in their area to see if the location of the shoot allows for the degree of undress that will be used in the shoot. Many city and state websites offer this information or will list phone numbers that they can call for more information. 

According to Glensy, some municipal buildings will allow for fine art shoots as long as the proper forms are filled out and the public is alerted. Models should check with their photographers before the shoot to ensure that these steps have been taken.

After the Shoot

After the shoot, a model may worry about the legal implications of how their photos are displayed. For example, if the photographer uses a model’s image in a way that may cause legal ramifications (such as combining the image with a copyrighted image or trademarked product) will the model be implicated in legal actions? 

Generally speaking, no. “If the action of combining the image with something else is done without the consent or knowledge of the model, the model is not responsible,” says Glensy. “The act of infringement would have been committed by the artist. If anything, the model might have a claim against the artist if the release that she/he signed did not cover such a use.” 

As a model, knowing the laws and how they affect a shoot can protect a career from legal struggles.

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