National Roofing Legal Resource Center

Contract provision addresses permission and release for roofing contractor to take and use photography of customer's private property

Using photography to document your projects is common practice for many roofing contractors. Advances in drone technology have taken roof photography to a new level, making it easy and affordable to capture birds-eye-view images of roofing work and surrounding property. Photos showcasing a roofing company's work are often a key element of a roofing company's website or marketing materials. However, many roofing contractors may not know the rules governing the capture and use of photography of private property for commercial purposes vary between federal, state and local jurisdictions, and what may be legal in one may be illegal in another.

When it comes to capturing aerial roof photos, only a handful of states currently have laws in place regulating the private use of drones in terms of affording protections to private landowner rights and personal privacy rights—some states include Texas, Florida, California and Arkansas. Several other states have drone use bills pending in state legislatures, and others—such as Illinois and Virginia—have created agencies tasked with creating drone use regulations. Although it may not be required by law where you are located, it is wise for a roofing contractor to ask permission from or give notice to your customer before capturing drone photography over their property.

When it comes to using photos of a customer's private property, roofing contractors should think twice if it contains a customer's trademark, logo or other means of identifying the owner of the property. Publishing photographs without obtaining the customer's permission may constitute a violation of copyright, trademark or other property or privacy laws. If you think you may want to use such photos in your company's advertising materials or website, having your customer sign a release such as the one mentioned may reduce the likelihood of legal issues in the future.

The mentioned provision grants a roofing contractor permission to take photographs and images of a customer's roof and license to use those photographs for the commercial benefit of the roofing contractor. Also, the provision provides notice to the customer and permission to the roofing contractor to use drones or satellites—in addition to traditional photography methods—to capture these images. Additionally, the licensing language included in the mentioned provision may help limit a roofing contractor's potential liability for copyright or trademark infringement if the photographs contain logos or other protected marks owned by the customer.

The following provision can be inserted in your contract, or you can create a separate document titled "Permission and Release for Photography of Property."

Customer grants Roofing Contractor permission to take photographs and video footage of the Property and roofing work performed by Roofing Contractor by means of, but not limited to, drone, satellite, and aerial imaging. For good and valuable consideration, Customer hereby grants to Roofing Contractor a perpetual right and royalty-free license to take and use such images of the roofing work and the Property (including any such images which may contain Customer's identifying information, trademark, logo, signage, business name, designs, copyrights, or other intellectual property or derivative works thereof) in advertising, trade, or for the commercial benefit of Roofing Contractor. By entering into this nonexclusive license, Customer does not convey and Roofing Contractor does not attain any interest in Customer's trademark, logo, copyrights, or other intellectual property.


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