Property releases

Find out about the permissions you need to depict property in your stock assets. 

What’s a property release, and when do you need one? 

When your images depict recognizable places, buildings, artwork, cars, pets, or other property owned by someone else, you often need their permission before you submit the images to Adobe Stock. Property owners give you their permission by signing a property release.

A property release is a legal agreement between you and the property owner — or a corporate representative if the property is owned by a company. By signing a property release, that person gives you permission to use the image for commercial purposes.

Here are a few examples of submissions that need property releases: 

  • Famous landmarks, historic locations, and modern architecture 
  • Copyrighted works like art, books, maps, and fictional characters 
  • Identifiable exteriors or interiors of private homes and buildings 
  • Distinctive product shapes like toys, bottles, luxury furniture, vehicles, and airplanes 
  • Unique animals, such as race horses, famous pets, and certain zoo animals 
  • Properties with photography policies, which may include stadiums, museums, concert venues, and amusement parks 

See the examples section below for more details and visual examples, and learn more about subjects with intellectual property, privacy, and other photography restrictions. 

Get a property release form and checklist. 

You can get a property release template from Adobe Stock, but we also accept release forms from other sources as long as they’re filled out correctly and include all the information we need. 

You can download the release form directly from this user guide or on the Contributor portal, or you can use Adobe Sign to route it for electronic signature on the portal — no need to download software to make it work. Learn more 

Here’s what you’ll see in the Contributor portal:

Before you upload your release, you’ll need to download our detailed checklist to confirm that you've included all the information we need. 

We accept property releases in many languages, including:

     

Explore examples to see when you need a property release and when you might not. 

Private homes and buildings 

If you’re photographing, filming, or even illustrating a recognizable property, you probably need a property release. On the other hand, you may not need a property release if the property isn’t the main subject of your image or video — like in the case of an urban skyline that shows several buildings.

Examples of properties that require a release: 

 

  • A ticketed location like an amusement park, museum, palace, or estate 
  • Distinctive homes or parts of homes (including interiors) that are easily recognized, either by their design or by their owner, like Gaudi’s Casa Batlló in Barcelona
  • Private property that’s recognized as a landmark or business and that’s central to the photograph, film, or illustration, like the Burj Al Arab in Dubai

Examples of properties that don’t require a release: 

If your content features generic houses or interiors that don’t have any identifiable features, like the photo below, you’re in the clear. 

The same applies to generic street scenes or cityscapes like this one: 

Broad cityscapes that don’t have a single point of focus don’t require property releases. Here’s an example:  

But if you single out a building as the main subject of your image, you need a release.  

Landmarks and monuments

You may need property releases for images or videos of famous buildings and landmarks that are less than 120 years old. So you wouldn’t need a release for the following image: 

Here’s where things can get tricky: If the structure has been modified in any way, you need to get a property release from the new architect. For example, the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889, but the light installation was added in 1985. A photograph of the tower in daylight doesn’t require a release, but a nighttime photo featuring the light installation needs a release.

Public transit and unique places 

You need permission from public transit systems to photograph or film on location. Also, like other products and services, most metro lines have trademarks and copyright protections on signage, maps, logos, route indicators, buildings, and more.

Whether your images and videos include public transit systems or other unique places, you must remove all trademarks and copyright-protected content before you submit them to Adobe Stock. Here’s a scrubbed photo that would not need a property release:

Generic storefronts and signs that have been scrubbed for recognizable names are also fine to submit without a release, like this one: 

 

As a rule of thumb, any identifiable business or private property requires a property release. Sometimes you get thrown a curve ball, though, like the case with the New York Stock Exchange. Only the front of the building is trademarked, so the following shot would not need a property release:

An image shot from the side of the New York State Stock Exchange does not need a release

Intellectual property

Objects 

If your content includes a logo or trademark, you need to remove it. But in general, you may not need a release if objects aren’t identifiable and they’re just part of the overall scene.

Products and identifiable packaging can’t be the main subject of an image, and some can’t appear in your content at all. See known image restrictions

Here’s an image of a generic mobile device that doesn’t need a property release:

Art and artifacts

For works of art and artifacts like those you’d find in a museum, you need permission from the artist or the estate. If you take photos or videos in a museum or gallery, you need to follow their rules about usage restrictions.

Modern artwork, including murals and sculptures located in public spaces, needs to be accompanied by a property release. And if you’re submitting an image of your own artwork, you still need to include a signed property release.

You don’t need a property release if the art in your content isn’t recognizable, like in this photo:

The art is unrecognizable, so no property release is necessary for the art

Graffiti and street art

Graffiti and street art is often subject to copyright. The only cases where you might not need a release are when:

  • The graffiti is truly incidental to the image or far away in the background.
  • The image uses shallow depth of field that makes the art unrecognizable.
  • The image is shot at extreme close-up and only a small portion of the artwork is visible, like as a backdrop for a model.

 For the photo below, you’d only need a model release: 

Tattoos 

Tattoos are considered works of art, so you need to consider how prominently the tattoo is displayed as well as the content of the tattoo itself. You don’t need a release if the tattoo isn’t the main focus of the photo, but you do need a release in these cases:

  • The tattoo is close up and the primary focus.
  • The tattoo depicts one or more celebrities.
  • The tattoo’s subject is trademarked or copyrighted, like a logo or character.

A person is identifiable by their tattoos, so any photo of a person with tattoos requires a model release — even if the person’s face isn’t in the image. If the tattoo artist can be identified from the context of their art, you may also need a model release from them. In this case, you’ll need a property release and a model releases from both the artist and the person with the tattoo. 

Protected product designs 

Product designs are protected by various intellectual property laws. They may include trademarks like logos, words and symbols, as well as design elements like shapes, colors, and other identifiable characteristics.

In most cases, you don’t need a property release for products if you first remove any recognizable elements, like logos on shirts and shoes. However, some products are universally recognizable even without logos, so we can’t accept them. Here are some examples of these types of products, and you can find more on our list of known image restrictions:

  • Rubik’s Cubes
  • Red Cross
  • Christian Louboutin red-bottomed shoes
  • Hershey’s Kisses
  • Apple devices
  • Lego and Duplo building sets and figures
  • Crayola products
  • Louis Vuitton products
  • Academy Award or “Oscar” statuette
  • UPS uniform (because even without logos, it’s still recognizable by its brown color)

Currency

Every country has its own rules around depicting currency. If more than 75% of the banknotes are visible in the image, Adobe Stock policy is to reject the image. Here’s an example we would accept:

Animals 

Images of animals and pets don’t typically need property releases, but you’d need a property release for a famous animal like Grumpy Cat, Tyson the skateboarding bulldog, or Boo the Pomeranian. You also need property releases for zoo animals.

You wouldn’t need a property release for this adorable yet unidentifiable puppy:

Adobe Artists: Bmak | 328914617, Alexi Tauzin | 102451470, Powerstock | 280666751, Dmitry Rukhlenko | 72718779, Den-belitsky | 152437197, Eric | 159662169, Deberarr | 288593322, Rymden | 387764078, Seventyfour | 312494049, Adam Hester - Blend Images | 112235990, Andy Dean | 47323044, Svetlana | 276144854

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