A model release, known in similar contexts as a liability waiver, is a legal release typically signed by the subject of a photograph granting permission to publish the photograph in one form or another. The legal rights of the signatories in reference to the material is thereafter subject to the allowances and restrictions stated in the release, and also possibly in exchange for compensation paid to the photographed.Publishing an identifiable photo of a person without a model release signed by that person can result in civil liability for whoever publishes the photograph.
Note that the photographer is typically not the publisher of the photograph, but sells the photograph to someone else to publish. Liability rests solely with the publisher, except under special conditions. It is typical for the photographer to obtain the model release because he is merely present at the time and can get it, but also because it gives him more opportunity to sell the photograph later to a party who wishes to publish it. Unless a photo is actually published, the need (or use) of a model release is undefined. And, since some forms of publication do not require a model release (e.g., news articles), the existence (or non-existence) of a release is irrelevant.
However for my current project, a model release will be needed, as the images would be likely to be published in a magazine, or used for a client on a website, or in a magazine etc i hope.
The legal issues surrounding model releases are complex and vary by jurisdiction. Although the risk to photographers is virtually nil (so long as proper disclosures of the existence of a release, and its content is made to whoever licenses the photo for publication), the business need for having releases rises substantially if the main source of income from the photographer’s work lies within industries that would require them (such as advertising). In short, photo journalists never need to obtain model releases for images they shoot for (or sell to) news or qualified editorial publications.
However after researching this topic, some of this information is irrelevant. As far as my work is considered, it is commercial work, which would be made for a client, or for a brand, i am not currently selling them, and as it stands they will not be published. However this may change in the future, so to cover me and the possible future publisher, a model release form will be signed to legally cover both me and the publisher.