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Found out location required permit after shooting... what to do?

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Chuck James
Found out location required permit after shooting... what to do?
on May 12, 2014 at 6:18:48 pm

The subject pretty much sums up the question -- we shot some footage in a park last week, and found out today that the park actually requires a filming permit as of 1.1.14. We were not asked to leave by security (who spoke to us briefly while we were filming), and we'd like to use a couple of the shots we got for our video.

It's an online-only teaser for an upcoming project, no film/TV distribution.

We don't have the cash to call up the office and pay for a permit (the whole reason we shot there was because we were under the impression we did not need one), but I'm kind of scared to use the shot and then have someone randomly see it and report us! Sorry, I'm probably more paranoid than I need to be.

Any advice for using footage after you've already shot, but would have required a permit?

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Rob Neidig
Re: Found out location required permit after shooting... what to do?
on May 13, 2014 at 3:04:18 pm


You already know the answer. You either pay for the permit, or you don't use the footage. Otherwise you are being illegal and you don't want that. Asking for our opinion on whether or not to disobey the law does not change the law.

Good luck!


Rob Neidig
R&R Media Productions
Eugene, Oregon

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Al Bergstein
Re: Found out location required permit after shooting... what to do?
on May 13, 2014 at 3:07:26 pm

Well, it's pretty simple, I would venture.

1. You can use the footage without paying for a permit, and if you get sued, pull down the footage, remove it from all festivals you have paid to enter it in, etc.
2. You can go back to the city and explain you were not clear about the permitting issue, you were informed when you got there, you are a young student that is just learning about these issues (if in fact you are), and that you had a crew ready to go. You'd expect you will be needing to film in the future in the city, want to stay legal with them, and ask them if you can retroactively file for permission this one time.
3. Hire a lawyer to intermediate for you.
4. If you are a student, check to see if there are some kind of student waivers for these things. If a film is for student use, you may be able to sign some waiver, but still get covered for the issues that the Parks dept. faces.

As an example of why this is important, our small town allowed a small indie company to film along the beach bluffs under peoples homes. What the town didn't ask, or tell them was how late they could film. Turns out they started setting off fireworks at 1AM right under some of the wealthier people's bedroom windows. Technically they were legal, but the town now has gotten hard core on allowing any more commercial filming at a great location after dark.

Either way, you have shown why budgeting and pre-production planning is important. In our modern world, you can never assume you have the rights to shoot in any metropolitan area, except with the broadest of public areas.


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