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Getty Images unveils Enhanced Model Release form for biometric data permissions


Visual content creator and marketplace Getty Images has introduced what it describes as an industry-first Enhanced Model Release form that can be used for permissions to build biometric datasets.

The document is designed to recognize advancements in data privacy and security and the increasing importance of biometric data for the training of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) applications.

The form was developed in collaboration with the Digital Media Licensing Association (DMLA) and contains a detailed account of how data can be tracked and handled to protect the personal and biometric data captured by Getty’s content creators.

“As AI and ML technologies evolve the visual content landscape, Getty Images remains committed to protecting the intellectual property rights of the content creator community as well as respecting the privacy and property rights of third parties,” explains Paul Reinitz, director of advocacy and legal operations counsel at Getty Images.

“Although the potential applications of AI and ML are limitless, it is important to recognize that new tools and applications require us to rethink the interaction between technology and creative processes.”

The legal expert also mentions how legislation around the world has changed the way individuals and companies manage data, and how processes as an industry need to follow up on this change.

“We must recognize that the increased use of biometric data contained in imagery to train AI/ML applications requires the need to ensure that we have obtained the model’s permission to use their image and data in this manner, and Getty Images is at the forefront of addressing these very real concerns,” Reinitz adds.

At the same time, Getty Images said the company has tried to maintain a similar approach to forms, enabling photographers or videographers to submit a single completed form to multiple agencies.

“The importance of developing our model release form to reflect the changes in law and the use of data and imagery was essential to protect the rights of featured models and the livelihoods of our contributors,” explains Paul Banwell, senior director of contributor relations at Getty Images.

“Our aim is not to further complicate processes for our contributors, but to ensure that their interests are protected and future-proofed in the ever-evolving world of data use and protection.”

From a regulatory standpoint, the move could potentially have wider implications in relation to the creation of legally and ethically sourced datasets in the future, which would be composed only of photos of individuals who have directly agreed for their face biometrics information to be shared with the public.

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