Public Affairs | Illinois

Public Affairs | Illinois University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Block I logo home page

Release Forms





If you are planning to use an individual’s image or likeness in media such as photographs, video, etc., you should request written permission to do so. Releases should also be completed and signed by any talent working with companies or individuals shooting photography, video or audiotape on University premises. Use the forms below accordingly.

Talent/Model Release Form
Talent/Model Release Form for Minors
Location Release Form

Why are Release Forms Necessary?

People often ask whether they need to get a release to use images of individuals, audiences, crowd shots at events, etc. The answer is that you should obtain a release from any individual who is personally identifiable in the image. Images used in University publications/materials such as Web sites and print pieces typically have a promotional or marketing component. If you do not have a signed release, there is a risk with people who, now or in the future, dislike their specific image being used and want us to stop the use. Publishing images of minors under the age of 18 without a release is especially risky when photos are posted for the world to see. 

Even when the participants may have been told that photos were going to be taken, there is the issue of whether they knew their photo was being taken at a given time and what would be the extent of its use. Sometimes people object when they see their facial expression and feel it is not flattering. Occasionally people do not realize they were captured in a "candid" photo. Sometimes people have orders of protection in place and don't want their images displayed on the Web. People may also be concerned about not making a big issue by going to the photographer to demand that any photo taken of them not be used; this can be eliminated by offering a release which they can deny in a relatively private manner. All of these are risks.

Copyright and Permission Issues

Besides wanting to avoid the potential for upsetting people with whom we would like to maintain a long-term good relationship, an additional reason for requiring a release is that we try to educate others on copyright and permission issues since we want them to avoid plagiarism and academic misconduct issues by recognizing the benefits of good attribution.

Student Privacy Legal Issues

Another potential issue where students are involved occurs when there is a question whether the image constitutes an educational record that would be a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act violation unless a written consent/release is obtained. The Registrar's Office is especially involved in this issue, which typically comes up in class roster pictures and pictures of classroom activities. The closer the tie-in with educational activities/educational records, the more important it is to obtain a written release to FERPA requirements.