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Minor release for documentary: mom signed, then dad said no

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Thomas Haffey
Minor release for documentary: mom signed, then dad said no
on Aug 20, 2014 at 10:37:39 pm

Please forgive me if this is not the correct forum for this issue.

I just finished filming a documentary about a motorcycle rally, including concerts. One band was three teenage sisters (who were awesome BTW). I got performance footage, autograph signing, and on-camera interview with them. Mom signed a release for them. I wish I'd stopped there. I then interviewed dad about the band, but when it came to the release he wanted to further review. Got an email saying he couldn't sign because they need to be "unencumbered" for potential TV deal in the works.

Where do I go from here legally? Mom as parent and legal guardian gave the ok, so can I use the girls' footage? I obviously can't use dad's footage, but does his refusal force me to cut all the girls? Am I asking for trouble for my project, or potentially harming their deal if I move forward? Can I use the performance footage as "public fair use" but not their personal interview?

I am in Mississippi, United States, by the way. Thanks for any help. I hate legal gray areas. lol.


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Rob Manning
Re: Minor release for documentary: mom signed, then dad said no
on Aug 22, 2014 at 7:02:28 am
Last Edited By Rob Manning on Aug 22, 2014 at 7:07:08 am

Hard decision, contact this guy :

He does a legal show on air in SoCal.

I'd bet, the Dad 'thinks' they have a deal somewhere and this moment in the sun may well be over before it's on tap for tour dates etc.

Does he think that Vine , Snap and YT will not (do not?) have purloined (unattributed, unlicensed) takes of his kids before he makes it to the parking lot?

He may be right, after all he's a stage dad but as mentioned, I'd bet that your doc has more legs than his trio.

Drop their set then, and use other acts.

Just 'sayin.


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: Minor release for documentary: mom signed, then dad said no
on Aug 22, 2014 at 4:30:45 pm

So to clarify: mom signed the release for the girls and herself, but dad didn't sign?

First off: never start shooting until ALL releases are signed. If someone refuses to sign, ask them to leave the set so they don't accidentally wind up on camera - explain that they must sign if they want to remain on set or in the area (post signs explaining there are cameras and they will be on camera, too). Also, I sincerely doubt it would prevent them from making other deals: the dad doesn't know what he's talking about or he's trying to get money out of the deal (unless your release is asking for all rights to the girls' likenesses from now until the end of time for any possible, conceivable use, including unrelated productions).

I don't even turn the cameras on or take them out of their cases until everything is signed. I send copies of the forms to everyone beforehand so they can get them to their lawyers. I also use a modified version of the Getty stock release (it grants all rights to the shooter, includes a third-party witness, specifies consideration to be paid (money or a trade of , and holds up for international work, too).

Also, if the dad doesn't want to sign, just cut him. Unless he's revoked the girls' permissions, you can still use them.

Finally, talk to a lawyer. The time you spend here asking non-lawyers is just spinning your wheels. Lawyers aren't that expensive compared to a lawsuit or lost income due to legal matters. I consider attorneys a necessary part of my business and a budgeted expense.

Save early. Save often.

Jonathan Ziegler

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