DISCLAIMER: Aside from legal advice (I do understand that every nation is different), what I am looking for is anything that I might have missed and yet comes from common sense application. I do want to be 110% sure that I won't be doing anything inaccurately (minors are a very serious matter).

I am going to have a shooting session with 2 models, both of them not yet of age. Provided that I am NOT shooting any kind of nudity (which would be illegal anyway), and that the parents are involved in the whole process, I would like to ask if there are any special clauses to include in the contract, if I have to collect some personal info from them and/or their parents, and from whom I have to get the contract signed (does a minor signature have any meaning, anyway?).

EDIT: Since some people asked about the specific jurisdiction, I will specify that the shooting will take place in Germany (Bavaria to be precise). The contract is to be written in English, because of its "international understandability"... And because the pictures will most probably land on Planet Internet.

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    Peripheral - does not address the question but may be relevant : I've had it emphasised that one should be careful re placing yourself in situation where, no matter how properly you may behave you expose yourself to the risk of claims re incorrect behaviour. That applies wrt people of all ages but probably more so with non-adults. One possibility is the use of a video recording of all activity and speech so you have a record of all events. Widest angle is probably useful. Optical quality not overly important. – Russell McMahon Jul 4 '16 at 16:04

Standard disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not giving any legal advice, other than to consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

In most states in the US, minors do not have the capacity to contract. Contracts entered to with a minor are voidable at the discretion of the minor. If you wish the terms of the contract to be enforceable on all sides (i.e., to provide you any protections, or give you the ability to enforce the contract), the contract would need to be signed by a guarantor for the minor (usually, the minor's parent).

If you enter into contract with a minor in the US, you have basically no contractual protections or rights to enforce the contract terms. The minor, on the other hand, can force you to follow the contract terms, or choose to void the contract, entirely of their own choice. It is analogous to entering into a contract with a mentally incapable person; they are not expected to understand the ramifications and responsibility of the contract, and quite possibly you could be at risk for exploiting their incapacity to contract, exposing yourself to all sorts of potential tort action. Furthermore, if the parents weren't involved with the original contract, and decided that they didn't like your terms, or that you potentially exploited their child's interests, they could probably come after you.

As always, it's wise to consult an attorney in your jurisdiction rather than rely on legal advice from strangers on the internet.

  • I second scottbb comment: "consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction". In Canada for example, each province has their own civil code that governs contracts. It's rarely one size fits all. – Gmck Jul 4 '16 at 13:53
  • From what you say, it seems that basically I don't need to have any personal info of the models. Their signature should also not be needed... – Noldor130884 Jul 4 '16 at 15:47
  • Maybe I didn't explain myself correctly: The parents are definitely involved, and mine is just a curiosity. YES, I will contact a lawyer anyway, but I just wondered if it made any sense to make the minor sign too and to gather his/her info. – Noldor130884 Jul 5 '16 at 5:56
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    @Noldor130884 - I would gather their signature if they're old enough to understand what that signature means as a matter of courtesy. – James Snell Jul 6 '16 at 9:43

Standard disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not giving any legal advice, other than to consult a lawyer in your jurisdiction.

A basic way to go would be to gather the minors personal informations on the model releases to help identify them, and get both of their parents to sign them (again, along with their personal informations to identify them clearly). Yet, as say before, if you feel uncomfortable, you should consult a lawyer in your region to check whether there are other things you get to do also.

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