In order to license pictures to stock photography providers, one needs to include a model or property release when needed. For instance, in EyeEm.com they claim that:

  • The Eiffel tower by day does not need a property release, however, the Eiffel tower by night does.
  • If you own a car you cannot own the property release, as the car manufacturer owns the intellectual rights.
  • Pets don’t need a release, however animals in the zoo do.
  • The Flatiron building in NYC doesn’t need a property release, however a rubix cube does.

Where can I find this trivia-like information in general? how can I know whether my inanimate subject requires a property release?

  • \$\begingroup\$ They're pointing out the odd foibles - the lighting on the Eiffel tower, for instance is subject to copyright, but the tower itself isn't. On the other hand I don't get the car one. My car has been in several movies, yet I've never known anyone have to ask Mercedes to do that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 6, 2019 at 12:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ I understand the frustration about IP/trademark/property rights and releases, but I think this is too broad. Property image rights are dependent upon local laws and jurisdictions, and whether the view of individual properties have been claimed as IP (such as the Hollywood sign). Furthermore, objects in a particular property do not necessarily require/convey the same restrictions as the property itself. \$\endgroup\$
    – scottbb
    Sep 6, 2019 at 12:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Tetsujin If the car one were true, manufacturers would be after all the personal ad sites. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Sep 6, 2019 at 12:45
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Tetsujin Carrying it to the extreme, you can only photograph people in the buff and in a completely wild environment, otherwise the designers/makers of the clothes and any visible artifact could sue you for rights... Now I understand what these nudist magazines of my youth were all about:) \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Sep 6, 2019 at 21:11
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    \$\begingroup\$ 3. Spend more in lawyers fees than the photo's rights earn in a lifetime \$\endgroup\$
    – dmkonlinux
    Sep 7, 2019 at 5:51

1 Answer 1


In general, you will have to check this for each subject or at least for each country. A rough guideline could be the freedom of panorama which will at least tell you whether it's allowed to photograph things from a public space.

There are also some ressources throughout the web, where the restrictions you are asking for are collected. However, keep in mind that those are neither complete nor necessarily up to date. I personally would recommend the collection by Adobe.


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