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Waivers for demo video

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Sebastian AlvarezWaivers for demo video
by on Mar 30, 2010 at 1:49:38 am

I'm starting my own video business and one of the services I want to provide is wedding videos. I made the wedding video for a friend of mine and gave it to her for free as my wedding gift. I asked her if I could use it as a demo for my services and she agreed happily, but I was told by people in the business that I need her to sign a waiver. My question is, is it enough for her to sign the waiver, or does her husband have to sign it too, and also, what about the other people at the wedding that show up at one point or another? Would all of them have to sign waivers? Of course that wouldn't be possible, I just couldn't use it if that is required.

Thanks,

Sebastian


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Denis DanatzkoRe: Waivers for demo video
by on Mar 30, 2010 at 2:52:26 pm

Hi, Sebastian,

Basically, it's arguable that your question(s) touch on legal issues, and require a response from someone with the legal knowledge and authority to issue a response, i.e. an attorney. You should consult an attorney for a definitive answer. Because only attorneys can provide valid legal advice, following what may seem like "legal advice" from anyone else will not protect you in the event of a law suit.
With that disclaimer out of the way, you may find it helpful to know the practices of other videographers. It is wise to obtain signed releases from anyone and everyone who appears in the video and is recognizable, even if they're "only in the background". If they happen to be minors, then the respective parents and/or guardians can sign for them. Also, a picky point but perhaps important in the seemingly arcane language of "legalese", a "release" may provide different protections than a "waiver". Again, you should consult an attorney.

On a broader note, yours' is a rather basic question. Not to be offensive, insulting, or sarcastic, but, for your own protection, you should understand well the intent, purpose, and protections offered through signed releases well before you press that record button. You might want to do a bit more research before selling your services for money. Using footage in which people - and even places or things - can be recognized can, under bad circumstances, lead to a videographers nightmare.

Good luck with your business.


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Sebastian AlvarezRe: Waivers for demo video
by on Mar 31, 2010 at 12:40:41 am

[Denis Danatzko] "With that disclaimer out of the way, you may find it helpful to know the practices of other videographers. It is wise to obtain signed releases from anyone and everyone who appears in the video and is recognizable, even if they're "only in the background". If they happen to be minors, then the respective parents and/or guardians can sign for them. Also, a picky point but perhaps important in the seemingly arcane language of "legalese", a "release" may provide different protections than a "waiver". Again, you should consult an attorney."

OK, but weddings can have anywhere from 40 to 200 or more people. Are you telling me that wedding videographers have to get all those people, at least the ones that appear in the video, releases? That seems very difficult to me, and extremely time consuming. Same thing for a demo of a wedding video that the bride and the groom agreed to let you use as promotional material. In the wedding video I did, there's about 50 people. I can ask my friend and her husband to sign the release, but if I give her 50 release forms and ask her to contact all the people that appear in the video, she would probably laugh at me.

It doesn't seem likely to me that this is the case. The photographer at the wedding, who is a professional from many years, didn't have 50 release forms with her asking everybody to sign them, and I would assume she would need those as well.


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Chip ThomeRe: Waivers for demo video
by on Mar 31, 2010 at 7:51:27 am

I would say Denis has done a good job of describing an all encompassing way to CYA, as far as having sufficient rights to the use of everyone's image/voice in your promotion.

As you elude to, it is fairly unrealistic to expect the average videographer to have all that paperwork gathered together, before production and posting.

The end result is if you don't have complete CYA, you are going to assume some liability should you offer it for public display for your promotion.

You have to decide how much of a liability you wish to assume.

IMO, anyone could demand you remove their image from any online video, or DVD, if they one day get a bug up their butt and decide they don't like it. Seriously, at that point, a legal fight isn't worth it. Because those images were captured in a public place during an event that was held in public, they may not have any legal grounds to stand on. The attorney costs to defend yourself though, could easily outweigh any gains from the promotional value.

These are the hazards of being in business.

An insurance policy that includes Errors and Omissions may cover the expense to defend yourself if such a case would come forward.

What you have done, gotten permission from the bride, and probably also the groom to use their video for promotion, is probably what most everyone else does. Those videographers also then will be assuming any potential liability, as you may, should they/you not get every last single release of everyone shown.

If one day you think you might wish to commercially sell footage from this wedding to others for their use, all bets are off and you MUST have every single release signed.


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grinner hesterRe: Waivers for demo video
by on Apr 12, 2010 at 1:53:01 am

No need. She took is a compliment and you'll find all of your clients will when you like their product so much you ask them if you can include it on your reel. It's an opportinity much more than a legal issue. Don't scare em away with paperwork.



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