Rights & Releases

Rights & Releases


Rights & releases are crucial in marketing efforts as they ensure legal compliance, protect individuals’ privacy and safeguard the University brand reputation, allowing for the ethical and successful use of images and content in marketing materials.

Marketing & Brand Management and the Office of the General Counsel are your partners to guide you through securing the proper rights and agreements for your marketing and communications assets. If you have any questions regarding these topics email brand@arizona.edu to set up a consultation.

Model Releases

A signed model release form is required for photography or videography for any people who are visibly recognizable in the image frame. These rules govern photos and videos intended for use in any university publication of marketing or a public relations nature, such as printed and electronic newsletters, web pages, social media, commercials, videos, brochures, viewbooks, reports, promotional items or other marketing material.

Departments must obtain appropriate releases for all photos and videos that are used in any medium other than news and editorial. Releases must remain on file as long as the photos and videos remain in use. An effective way to store the releases is to digitize them and store them with the original photo and video files.

Release Forms and Notices

The release forms linked below were written and approved by the University of Arizona Office of the General Counsel (OGC).

Model releases are to remain on file as long as the images remain in use. An effective way to store the model releases is to digitize them and store them with the original photo and video files.

Download model release forms (for individuals or groups); English version and Spanish version

FERPA, or the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, is a federal law in the United States that protects the privacy of student education records. 

If you are taking photos or video of students in a classroom or involved in activities at the university, we recommend that you use the version of the model release form that includes the FERPA release. Any photos or videos that fall under this category should be sent to brand@arizona.edu along with the copy of the FERPA release for our records.

FERPA Model Release

The Notice of Photographic Recording is a courtesy alert to those attending an event or area where photos and video are being recorded. The notice provides little legal protection but is there to inform the public and important to include as part of your event and production plan.

Please be aware that the presence of this notice does not take the place of a model release form for individuals who are identifiable in a photo or video to be used in a marketing materials.

To borrow a “Notice of Photographic Recording” board for your event, please contact brand@arizona.edu.  You can also download the sign graphic file in English or Spanish and send it to Fast Copy to print a 24” x 36” sign mounted on foam core for display.

The use of a consistent model release language, approved by the Office of General Counsel, provides protection against any current or future use of assets by campus partners beyond the original unit. It is the responsibility of any department entering into a custom release agreement to properly manage the use of the resulting photo or video material, and to clearly communicate restrictions to any partner units.

Marketing & Brand Management and the Office of General Counsel will work with you to ensure custom agreement language covers use by the University and limitations are clearly written.  Email brand@arizona.edu for a consultation before completing these types of agreements.


Please inform the provider of the testimonial (in writing) that the testimonial may be published or used in current and future print and online media (and/or other media as needed) - as well as specifically how/where the testimonial will be immediately used, if known. Provide notice if the person's name will be used and associated with the testimonial. Note: the University itself cannot endorse a third party.


Freelance and Agency (Third-Party) Creative Work

If you engage an agency or freelance creator (third-party writer, artist, photographer or videographer) to create content for the University, under copyright law the creator owns that content not the University unless specifically noted in a written agreement. Without completing this step the potential use of this content is limited and could result in legal issues. 

In order to best protect the institution and maximize the potential use of visual marketing materials created by third parties, departments should have vendors and freelancers sign the University of Arizona Work Product Agreement prior to beginning work. The WPA transfers copyright of the resulting creative work to the University, enabling the institution and all of its units and departments to use the asset with no limitations.

If you are setting up a purchase order for the vendor’s work, ask your business office to include the Work Product Agreement in the process. If you are setting up an independent contractor (ICON) or working with an agency on a small project that will be billed later, please work with your business office to ensure a WPA is signed and filed as these vendor relationships are established.

View Work Product Agreement

Commissioned or Specialized Artwork

Certain types of commissioned or specialized artwork may require a customized licensing agreement with the artist, rather than copyright transfer to the University. Some examples may include: commissioned murals/artwork, sculptures, very high-end specialized photography, etc. In these scenarios, a full buyout or copyright transfer of these bespoke works may be unavailable. These agreements can be highly customized and complex arrangements and we strongly recommend you secure a written agreement in advance giving ownership to the University. 

If you are managing a custom copyright or licensing arrangement with an artist, it will be your responsibility to know all contractual limitations and not share the work with anyone at the University without providing complete information on the limitations. If the artwork is shared on the Digital Asset Library you must share the contract limitations in the appropriate fields to mitigate risk to the University. 

Please make sure any contracts with agencies or freelancer creators stipulate the Arizona Board of Regents as the licensing party or copyright owner for all work resulting from their efforts. If you need assistance with the agreement language email brand@arizona.edu


Student or Third-Party Work by Employees

The Third-Party Media Release Form should be used to secure any pre-existing work (photo, video, design or other content) created by a non-employee (including students) or employee of the University outside the scope of their employment. The release form will license the asset(s) for use but only for a specific instance and assets should not be uploaded to the Digital Asset Library to be shared widely without the permission of MBM and OGC.  This form may also be used to pre-release work that will be produced but for which the copyright should remain with the creator (ex. student photo contests.) This form should be signed using Adobe Sign, or with ink in person.  Use the Work Product Agreement for any situation in which the university should fully own the copyright of the produced asset (ex. agency/freelance work, commissioned design work, etc.) Please reach out to brand@arizona.edu for further guidance.

If you are unsure what type of agreement you need, please reach out to brand@arizona.edu and we’ll work together with the Office of the General Counsel to help you.

View Media Release Form

Licensing University of Arizona Work

If you receive a request from a third-party entity to use creative work (photo, video or design) owned by the University of Arizona, please contact brand@arizona.edu. The MBM Team will provide guidance on the best approach for licensing our assets.

Please note that any creative work generated by any University of Arizona department is ultimately owned by the institution and needs to be licensed.



Digital Asset Library & Image Sharing

When using photography and videography offered on the University’s Digital Asset Library (DAL), always check the appropriate metadata field to ensure the asset is cleared for your intended use case:

  • Usage Guidelines: This section will describe any specific concerns or issues with the asset, or whether the asset is fully cleared. Always check this section.
  • Allowed Usage:
    • Editorial: photos are only cleared for editorial, noncommercial use, as model releases were not obtained or copyright is not fully owned by the institution.
    • Marketing: photos are owned or licensed by the institution and models are released (or N/A), so assets are cleared for use in marketing materials. Please consider outreach to any models in pre-existing assets before using them in high profile materials.
    • Commercial: photos have appropriate clearances to be used in commercial and retail contexts. Please contact Marketing & Communications before proceeding.
  • Model Release on File:
    • Yes: standard model releases have been signed, or are N/A (no models).
    • No: no model releases were collected.
    • Public Filming Notice: a notice of recording was posted at the event. Note: these boards are informational, but photos without individual releases are not cleared for marketing purposes.


Example of Digital Asset Library filtering fields













You can filter search results in the DAL by Allowed Usage and Model Release for easier findability.

If you are contributing photos or videos to the Digital Asset Library for campus use, please refer to the Uploading Assets quick guide for more information about adding metadata (including rights release and copyright information) to photos and videos uploaded to the DAM.


Music Rights

For information and assistance with the music rights mentioned below, please email brand@arizona.edu.

Negotiating Music Rights for an Existing Recording

Use of existing songs and recordings in videos must be licensed by the University prior to use. Music licensing agreements are extremely complex negotiations requiring comprehensive knowledge of the various licenses covering performers, musicians and composers.

Music Performance Rights

The University has a standard performing license for events and performances with the organizations listed below. These licenses cover events where you may want to use a playlist from a music streaming service, which is allowable as long as you are on a University campus. It’s important to be aware that the master performing license does not cover any publication, broadcast, streaming or upload of a recording of an event or performance.

You can search the database of the organizations below for specific song coverage information: