If I work for a large corporation, must I sign a release to let it use my picture?

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If I work for a large corporation, must I sign a release to let it use my picture?

I have a required annual business meeting in 4 months. In the on-line registration page at the bottom there is a box for me to initial for “Photo Release”. They want me to sign off on my personal image if I am photographed at the event. This would give them the right to use my personal image in any manner present or future and could even sell my image to other parties. Do I have to sign this?

Asked on November 25, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, an employer can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes requiring an employye to sign a release regarding the use of their image. That is unless such action violates the terms of an employment contract, union agreement or company policy. Also, it cannot constitute some form of actionable discrimination.
The fact is that if you refuse to sign you can be fired. In fact, an at will employee can be terminated for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. So unless you want to jeopardize your job, you should consider giving the release.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you don't want to possibly be fired, demoted, or otherwise suffer some negative consequences due to refusing to sign, yes: your employer may require employees to give permission to use their images, and may take action (up to and including termination) against employees who do not consent.


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