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intellectual property releases

Explorer ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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I have a lot of cityscape and building photography. It's probably one of my favorite things to do. However, I can't upload most of them because I have never successfully gotten a property release, and I don't think it's from a lack of trying. I have tried finding the property owners online, but I have not received a response. After nothing for a month, I revisit the site and come in with printed-out forms, and politely explain to whoever I can there that I have an image of their property and if they are happy with it, I'd love for them to sign a release form. If it's a shop or cafe or something, I normally buy something I can actually afford so I'm not completely wasting their time. Here are 3 examples - and all attempts go something like this.  1: sure you can use it how you want! I don't really want to sign a form but you have my permission (very nice and friendly, but that doesn't help me, unfortunately) 2: the person you need isn't here. When are they likely to be here if you don't mind me asking? I don't know/come back at such a time. If it comes back at such a time, I'm met with either going back to number 1, or 'oh I'm not who you need to speak to please email this address you've already emailed' or 3, and this is the rarest but has shaken me up, having security called, marched out and banned from the premises. I think I'm on about attempt 30, all separate buildings. How are people getting their property releases because I'm honestly getting tired.  Do photographers generally have to pay for these releases or is there a better way of asking? A few times I've just retaken the picture in a way that it's not the entire subject or not recognizable, but I'm still waiting for my first sale so that's not really working.

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correct answers 3 Correct answers

Community Expert , Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

As long as a building isn't a focus point of the photo or the only building in a photo, you might be ok without a release.  I have a few submitted as an entire city skyline that are accepted without a release.  You may also be ok if the building is nondescript and not recognizable.

 

If I were a business, I'm not sure I would sign off on my brand or likeness being used for any commercial purpose.  I'm not surprised to hear there is some opposition.  There may also be some question about who actu

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Community Expert , Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

I agree with George's comments. A cityscape, streetscape, with logos and signs removed will be accepted without a Property Release. A building that is the sole focal point of an image is always going to need a property release, unless it's very old (>120 years). I suppose you've already read the property release guidelines, but here's the link in case you need a refresher:

https://helpx.adobe.com/stock/contributor/help/property-release.html

 

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LEGEND , Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

A book talking about a town will be making "editorial" use of local pictures, which has entirely different references. But when you sell stock you are selling it for ALL purposes, so for example, a building could be used in a derogatory way (e.g. a "before" shot for an upgrade business; a burger joint could be un unappetizing one; an office building could be hell for its workers etc. etc.) Who would give permission for their building to be used that way?

A second consideration: with all the relea

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Community Expert ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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As long as a building isn't a focus point of the photo or the only building in a photo, you might be ok without a release.  I have a few submitted as an entire city skyline that are accepted without a release.  You may also be ok if the building is nondescript and not recognizable.

 

If I were a business, I'm not sure I would sign off on my brand or likeness being used for any commercial purpose.  I'm not surprised to hear there is some opposition.  There may also be some question about who actually owns the IP rights, such as a business renting a building for instance.  Is it there building owner or business who signs the release, or both?  Perhaps the design is so unique the Architect owns the IP?

 

I would guess a majority of photographers either submit these as Editorial Use Only, or use them in other ways that don't need a release such as prints.

 

Sorry this has been frustrating for you!  I hope the process gets smoother 🙂


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Explorer ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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I do understand that about making it not the focal point, but I still get maybe %50 of those rejected and a lot of them just don't look right without it. And yeah I somewhat understand but it makes me wonder how people write books etc with this kinda stuff in. Normally, I try and seek out the landlord. Yeh, eventually I'll probably just have to upload them all in the hopes of editorial value.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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A book talking about a town will be making "editorial" use of local pictures, which has entirely different references. But when you sell stock you are selling it for ALL purposes, so for example, a building could be used in a derogatory way (e.g. a "before" shot for an upgrade business; a burger joint could be un unappetizing one; an office building could be hell for its workers etc. etc.) Who would give permission for their building to be used that way?

A second consideration: with all the releases in the world Adobe still won't accept a building with any signage or logos; that's a separate rule. 

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Explorer ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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that makes a whole lot of sense and answers why I have so many street photography books that get away with doing what I'm struggling with. I guess I need to improve my work to the point I can write a book, which was already a pipeline dream for me. thank you for clearing that up.

As for logos, I'm completely clear on that being a big no-no across all the stock sites, trying to brush up on my cloning skills to get rid of logos but honestly, it's one of the things I'm worst at.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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I agree with George's comments. A cityscape, streetscape, with logos and signs removed will be accepted without a Property Release. A building that is the sole focal point of an image is always going to need a property release, unless it's very old (>120 years). I suppose you've already read the property release guidelines, but here's the link in case you need a refresher:

https://helpx.adobe.com/stock/contributor/help/property-release.html

 

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Explorer ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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I've read one from a different stock website but this is more informative, thanks, although its opened up so many questions about how street photographers do their thing. So 2 points, I think a couple of mine are over 120 years old including a 500ish-year-old cathedral that got rejected, how would I go about uploading that and prove I wouldn't need a release? And is there any good way to approach a landlord etc about it because I would love to do it properly if it's actually possible or at least have a simple rejection

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Community Expert ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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Street Photographers are most likely not submitting for commercial use, but making portraits for non-commercial use.  Fine Art Prints aren't considered commercial use.

 

In all reality, you'd want to think of yourself as a door to door salesman to approach people this way, you'll need a really good "pitch" to grab their interest right away.  I wonder what the benefit is to the property/business owner though?  I see only downsides.


George F, Fine Art Landscape Photographer

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Explorer ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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I would happily offer them a cut from any sales, although frankly, I can't pretend that some mega-corp with a giant new minimalist building is going to see a cut of my sales as worthwhile. Maybe the odd small business but haven't managed to get far enough into a conversation to discuss that. Good to know I can get away with fine art, very much struggling to get my foot in the door there. I'm glad I made this post anyway it's definitely given me a better understanding with the variety of answers I've had.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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There really is no avenue to dispute the findings of the Adobe Moderators, so I think you'll continue to find getting your images accepted a "hit and miss" proposition. I've only requested a propertly release a couple of times from local businesses, and each time they've agreed. I always offer them a full size copy of my image as well, with permission to use it as they see fit, so they can see that it is high quality. Maybe that helps them say "yes" !

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Explorer ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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Actually a good idea about the print. Presuming I can track them down which has been a problem sometimes, I'll give that a go.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 03, 2023 Jan 03, 2023

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Just to clarify, I don't give them a print, but I provide the digital copy.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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Adobe's reviewers aren't historians so knowing the age of a 120 year old building may be asking a bit much. Since a 100 year old building may be protected. But I'd hope most would know that a gothic cathedral is no longer protected IP. That suggests something else in the picture - for example I've see a picture to be rejected because of a just-readable coffee cup. It may be worth sharing the cathedral picture with us (full original resolution) in case we have any useful insight.

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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So 2 points, I think a couple of mine are over 120 years old including a 500ish-year-old cathedral that got rejected, how would I go about uploading that and prove I wouldn't need a release?


By @marilyn26842475xcxa

Every so often the refusal is because of a small logo or something else, not the building per se.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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Community Expert ,
Jan 04, 2023 Jan 04, 2023

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How are people getting their property releases because I'm honestly getting tired.  Do photographers generally have to pay for these releases or is there a better way of asking?


By @marilyn26842475xcxa

When doing jobs on assignment, you sometimes get releases. Occasionally, you get releases when doing a photography job for free. And then just do jobs that don't require releases.

 

Sales is a different affair. You get sales, when the picture you're offering has a value for the buyer. Easy said, difficult to realize. I'm setting in pictures, not because I think that they sell, but because I took the picture and I have the time to upload. Some pictures don't sell, some pictures sell. Some pictures I like don't sell at all. Some pictures, that I did put in because I had them, sell. As long as you do not need to live from this, it's fun, add-on revenue or simply nice.

ABAMBO | Hard- and Software Engineer | Photographer

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