Legal Guidelines

Commercial Use

Content that is creative or illustrates an abstract idea – typically a staged shoot, often with models.

Customers license this content to promote a product, service, or idea:

  • Commercials and other marketing campaigns
  • TV and film productions

Before Pond5 can license content for commercial use, written releases are required for:

  1. any identifiable models in the footage before Pond5 can license the content,
  2. any identifiable location, building, or object (real property and/or intellectual property) in the central focus of the shot.
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Editorial Use

Content that is meant to inform and educate – typically not staged.

Customers license this content to depict something newsworthy or of public interest to their audience:

  • Documentaries
  • Museum exhibits
  • Books, magazines
  • News stories

The content cannot be used out of context by the customer and cannot be edited materially.

Generally, no written releases or permissions are needed for editorial use.

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Model Releases

Any contributor submissions with identifiable people must be accompanied with a written model release. A model release is a signed document confirming the person or persons within the contributor’s media consent to use their name and likeness for commercial use. 

Please make sure your model releases contain the following:

  • Model name (required)
  • Artist name (required)
  • Model signature (required)
    • If the model is a minor, a releaser name, signature and relation are required instead
  • Model picture (required if no witness signature is included)
  • Witness name (required if no picture of model is attached)
  • Witness signature (required if no picture of model is attached)  
  • Shoot date

Please make sure that all releases have full (first and last), legible names printed.  

Submission of releases written in English are strongly suggested.

The use of SAG talent is not permitted.

Here are links to our standard Model Release and Model Release (Minor). It is not required that you use our releases for the media you upload, but if you use a different release, it must contain essentially the same information.

Acceptable formats of signed releases:

  • JPG
  • PDF
  • DOC
  • TIF

Note: Release files must be at least 5KB in size.

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Property Releases

Any contributor submissions with property (real or intellectual) or objects must be accompanied with a written Property Release. A property release is a signed document confirming that property within the contributor’s media is approved to by the owner for commercial use.

Please make sure your property releases contain the following:

  1. Artist name (required)
  2. Picture/Visual Reference of property (required)  
  3. Owner Information – whether they are an individual owner or an authorized representative (required)
  4. Witness name (not required for “individual owner properties”)
  5. Witness signature (not required for “individual owner properties”) 
  6. Shoot date

Please make sure that all releases have full (first and last), legible names printed.

Here is a link to our standard Property Release. It is not required that you use our releases for the media you upload, but if you use a different release, it must contain essentially the same information.

Acceptable formats of signed releases:

  • JPG
  • PDF
  • DOC
  • TIF

Note: Release files must be at least 5KB in size.

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Model Releases: Examples

No model releases are needed for this video, since the silhouette is not recognizable.


 

A model release is required for this clip. Although the woman in the clip is not really recognizable, she is shown in a bikini and may be identified and recognizable by any beauty marks that she may have.


 

No model release is required for this video, since the model is not recognizable.


 

Although the child in this clip is barely recognizable, we highly recommend that a model release is submitted whenever minors are involved.


All people featured in the clip are recognizable and require a release.


 

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Property Releases: Examples

A property release is required for this clip. The design is unique which makes this building recognizable.


A property release is required for this clip. The interior of the museum is recognizable and it is a ticketed event. All ticketed events require a release.


No releases are required for this clip. There are no team logos, distinctive designs or names to make the game/stadium recognizable – so no property release is required. The players are not identifiable and there are no names on the jerseys so no model releases are required.

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Buildings, Cityscapes, Venues

Locations and Buildings

To license content for commercial use, contributors must provide property releases for all distinctive residences, monuments, major theme parks, landmarks and government buildings featured in their content. Key factors to consider:

  • The property in question- identifiable from the clip, like distinctive residences, heritage sites and estates
  • Main subject of the content (not incidental, random)
  • Privately owned (a home or business)

Skylines & Cityscapes

A property release is required when a building is recognizable and is the setting or main subject of the photo. However, city skylines where no single building is the main subject can be used commercially without a release.

Venues with Paid Admission

All ticketed events require a property release/permit that verifies that  you have permission to film. Any content produced within a venue (property) that requires visitors to pay admission to access – for example, a stadium, arena, concert hall, opera, movie theater, or museum – requires a release.

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Sports and Entertainment

Sports

Any media from sports events, like those sanctioned by the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, NCAA, FIFA, Olympics, NASCAR, Formula One, Premier League, Australian Football League, Tour de France and any other similar governing bodies, whether major or minor league, should not be submitted to Pond5 unless you have obtained proper permission to do so.

Even if  you have obtained credentials to cover a sports event, you need to confirm that you have the right to license the content.

Sports media from local high schools and non-NCAA sanctioned events may not have the strict restrictions that apply to major sports events, but you may need permission to film in a local high school or university, especially if you are filming minors.

Entertainment

At theatrical, music and other performances and events where admission requires a ticket, the right to record what occurs at the event may be restricted by the event promoter, organizer, sponsor or venue.  In those situations, you need to confirm that you have the right to license the content. In addition, recordings of performances of copyrighted works usually require additional permissions.

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Background Audio in Video Footage

Music/Recognizable Voices in commercial footage requires releases. If you own the music, a release is still required. If there are no releases for audio in background, please remove audio and upload.

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Logos and Art

Logos

  • When multiple logos are visible and no one brand stands out, the clip can be accepted for commercial use (this is often the case with skyline/cityscapes).
  • When one logo is visible or happens to be the main focus of the shot, a release is required.

Art

For commercial use, all artwork (including tattoos and graffiti), require property releases.

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Contributor Agreement

You retain the rights to all of your work. For more information check out our Contributor Agreement.

You can remove, edit or change the price for your media on Pond5 at any time. You will simply be using Pond5 as a marketplace through which you license the use of your media to other media producers under our royalty-free License Agreement.

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