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Grady KnightRelease???
by on Oct 2, 2007 at 4:59:25 pm

I will be shooting at a local mill, the mill is the client. I will be focusing on a particular job at the mill and so focusing on a particular person. This video will be shown within the mill and to a few others (less than 10).

What kind of release do I need?
Should the client just get a release from their employee?
Does being employed by the company eliminate the need for a release on a company video?

Thanks for any input on this...

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Mark SuszkoRe: Release???
by on Oct 4, 2007 at 2:36:12 pm

A simple models' talent release would be enough for this case, IMO. You can find templates for them on the web.

You should get the company HR person to handle the releases, getting the signatures and keeping the records. That's their area.

Some companies have a policy in the employment contract that says employees automatically grant a release for any such situation, but this is not a standardized practice AFAIK and may have too many exeptions to count on it. Employees may bring up non-work reasons not to be in the video, such as, domestic violence problems with a former spouse that may see the video at some point, etc. It could be almost anything, so always make participation optional and voluntary, not mandatory, and make it clear that there really is NO prejudice against someone who won't participate, to avoid future legal hassles regarding coercion.

Best to ask employees to voluntarily sign a release. IANAL, but I'd suggest the release have a line in it that says the release of the recording of the image, likeness, and speech of the signer remains valid even after the term of employment of the signer, to the company and to any future owner or partner of the company, with no further expectation of recompense or pay for additional useage, in perpetuity.

Otherwise, you will spend a lot of free time constantly erasing people from programs after they leave the company, or after the company has a merger, or worse, trashing a perfectly good piece of work just because one key person in it has left, even though everything that was said at the time was and remains valid program material. Ask me how I know:-)

I get a lot of turnover of bigshots in my line of work, and long ago we got into a pattern of making sure that if such folks were to be included in a video, they be kept in seperate "bubble" segments like simple intros and conclusion segments, so that they could be pulled and replaced easily in the still-valid program when management changed. If they were integrated too deeply into the fabric of the show, it would wind up with a very short shelf life. This is somewhat easier to fix now with NLE's than in my linear editing days, but I'd still tend to compartmentalize those segments where possible, to save time and money on reshoots and re-edits.

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Todd at Fantastic PlasticRe: Release???
by on Oct 5, 2007 at 6:02:22 pm

All well and good advice.

The basic question though seems to be, "Do I have to worry about releases for these people." Short answer, "No."

The client is the producer/owner of this project and they are providing the talent. Concurring with what Mark said, it's their issue.

We almost always provide/cast all the talent in our projects, and release them properly. However we are about to do some big productions where the client is providing the talent... our contract with them simply has a line that states "CLIENT maintains responsibility for securing rights-usages agreements with owners of any physical property photographed, and talent-rights agreements (releases) with any talent whose images or voices are captured during production."

Really, you have no more responsibility or obligation than that. However, if you wanted to be one of those "goes the extra mile" guys, you might provide the client with some proper blank releases so they an take care of it and are covered if an employee (or future disgruntled or ex-employee) decides to make it an issue later.

It might be a nice thing to do, espcially if this is a long-time client or one that you are courting for additional jobs.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Release???
by on Oct 5, 2007 at 6:52:46 pm

Go the extra eighth-mile and as you begin taping each "actor", ask them to identify themselves, say the date, and to tell you, on tape, that they understand how this will be used and that they are releasing their rights to the footage.

Not enough without a paper release form, but better than nothing and may discourage any monkeyshines if you can produce it when someone starts making noises like they want to contest the rights.

(not a lawyer/ can't afford a Holiday Inn)

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Grady KnightRe: Release???
by on Oct 6, 2007 at 3:59:18 am

Thanks to both of you, your input has lead me to go ahead with my own release form for any employees in the video. I am hoping that since I will hold the releases then the client will be more inclined to return to me when they need modifications.

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