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Do I need a release for a commercail building in the background of an interview?

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Stephen PickeringDo I need a release for a commercail building in the background of an interview?
by on Dec 8, 2014 at 11:52:21 pm

Hi There,

I know I've asked a variant of this question before, but I have a specific building and location I'm wondering about. I have a client who would like to film a run-and-gun interview in front of the out of operation manufacturing facility. Then some additional B-roll shots of the exterior of the facility, parking lot, etc. This would all be captured on public property and without obstructing traffic or sidewalks.

I'm happy to pack up and leave if asked to do so while filming. That's not my concern. My concern is that if we don't have permission in writing, could there be legal issues more than just "please cut these from your video?" It is not a negative video, rather a video talking about what the location/building *could* be used for if the city and building owner(s) would seize an opportunity to do something with it. I know that's vague...

I know no one can give actual legal advice, I just want to be confident in what I'm relaying to my client.

Thanks for any thoughts!
-Stephen



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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: Do I need a release for a commercail building in the background of an interview?
by on Dec 9, 2014 at 9:28:01 am

Hey Stephen,

That is a wide question, which would easier to answer if you put in the location of where you are filming? Or at least update your profile with your own location details.

However: In the UK you do not need permission to film a building. However, if the building have logos on it and they a prominently displayed (close up) then you may need to seek permission in order not to violate trademarks etc.

One thing to be careful off is that even if the building in UK law is not protected, the people that owns the land will have rights.

If the video is not a negative exposure to the building, maybe all you need to do: Is to ask the owner/occupier for permission.

There separate rules for news/documentary items - but those depends on who the client is and how they will distribute the video - better ask a lawyer.

All the Best
Mads

@madsvid, London, UK
Check out my other hangouts:
Twitter: @madsvid
http://mads-thinkingoutloud.blogspot.co.uk


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Stephen PickeringRe: Do I need a release for a commercail building in the background of an interview?
by on Dec 26, 2014 at 6:06:52 pm

Thanks Mads,
We're located in Wisconsin. Because it's a "commercial" video (not a documentary or news) we've decided to play it safe and not film it. At this point it's not an important enough location or visual to pay a lawyer.
I appreciate your information.
Thanks,
Stephen



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Mark SuszkoRe: Do I need a release for a commercail building in the background of an interview?
by on Dec 9, 2014 at 3:29:13 pm

Anybody can sue you (and your client) for anything. Doesn't matter if you're in the right, they can drag you thru the process to PROVE it and get a ruling on it. If you have any expectation at all that there is a chance someone will sue you to prevent showing the footage, you must be prepared financially and in terms of time and other resources, to afford a defense and to pay penalties, should you lose.

Probably most of the time, the mere threat of having to go thru a court process to defend yourself is enough to discourage a project. And you'd be reckless to go ahead without planning for that contingency. Like Russian Roulette, five times out of six, you're probably okay. But the payout on six is steep.

Just how likely this scenario would be, for you, I can't tell you. For about fifty bucks and a phone call, a real lawyer probably can.


On your side is the fact that you're shooting from a spot that's not the owner's property, and that is a public view. Try not to show any logos on the building. Don't try to shoot the stand-up interview right up against the shuttered places' front gate, in their driveway. You COULD, however, find another chain link fence or gate, where permission isn't an issue, to shoot very tight close-up stand-ups with, and just not mention that it isn't the same fence we saw from your wide shot. :-)

But if this project is important to you, it's worth a quick phone or email consultation with a legal professional. At least a paralegal.


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Stephen PickeringRe: Do I need a release for a commercail building in the background of an interview?
by on Dec 26, 2014 at 6:10:07 pm

Mark,
That's a great idea about the chain link fence scenario. I've done that (or similar) for other projects. Shoot real close or in a setting that fits your context and the audience will usually go along with you. We MIGHT try that for this project but I think we'll probably just rework it so the location and visuals are not critical.
Thank you for your time, I appreciate it.
-Stephen



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