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Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?

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Thomas HughesDo I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 1, 2011 at 10:18:52 pm

I just finished producing a training and safety film for a large company that processes and packages almonds. It shows all the stages of the production process/assembly line with a VO explaining the process.

Do I need to get releases signed by the employees on the production line even though this will only be used in-house for training new employees? tx

Thomas H

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Noah KadnerRe: Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 2, 2011 at 5:37:01 am

If you want to cross the t's and dot the i's- yes.



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Jeff CadgeRe: Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 2, 2011 at 12:05:30 pm

Have your client check with HR many companies have polices in place that allow them to use employees in printed and video pieces. This is something that should be worked our before the shoot. The problem arises when employees leave the company, when enough do they likely update the video (more work for you) but again discuss this upfront with your client so it doesn’t come back as your fault.
Being it’s an in-house video and not a promotional piece there really wouldn’t be a lawsuit but maybe just a call from an employee asking to be removed from the video.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 2, 2011 at 3:53:44 pm

The more proactive and forward-thinking corporate HR departments often insert blanket release agreements into the employee contracts, so if you work for them, you are giving permission to be photographed for anything like company newsletters, training, etc. How they treat that permission after the person is separated varies with the company. Some places don't care, othes get very much into a Stalinesque mode and erase the person from all photographic existence in any image media they own, as far as corporate identity is concerned. Most likely to happen with upper management types, or an employee that left under duress with some kind of beef or conflict. They become an "un-person", never referenced again.

My policy for any shooting that may later be questioned as to permissions is, we have those folks sign a release form on site, and as I always have them spell out their names and addresses and titles on tape before we do the actual session, I just ask them on tape to confirm that they are giving us their permission to use this recording any way we want. The theory behind this is, that even if the release forms are lost or never signed, visual proof of the person giving consent, sent to their lawyer, will tend to stop any moves to prevent usage.

In situations where there are too many people to stop each one and get a release, you can sometimes get away with posting a sign that identifies the area where you will shoot, that says if you are in this area you are giving consent. Legally not very strong insurance at all. But likely to keep out the people who would be most likely to object in the first place.

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grinner hesterRe: Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 3, 2011 at 3:14:37 pm


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Chris TompkinsRe: Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 3, 2011 at 10:34:21 pm

It's up to the employer.
You could mention it to them.

Chris Tompkins
Video Atlanta LLC

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Bill DavisRe: Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 4, 2011 at 6:34:42 pm

Flip the question around.

Is there EVER a situation where having a signed release on file from a performer in any situation might be considered harmful?


The only question that usually remains is if you might be stepping on another involved parties toes by inserting your release into their project in a "work for hire" situation. If so, ask them if they want to use yours or theirs, and leave it up to them.

Outside that, the habit of getting releases on everyone and anyone involved is a great habit to cultivate.

Simple as that.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor

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Martin CurtisRe: Do I Need to Have Releases Signed?
by on Sep 13, 2011 at 12:39:26 pm

[Thomas Hughes] "even though this will only be used in-house for training new employees?"
... until the years pass and someone else in the company is looking for "stock footage" of company activities they can use on the company's new website.

In theory: no. In practice: can't hurt even though it's a PITA to chase everyone down to sign them.

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