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Roy Schneiderreleases
by on May 19, 2010 at 1:27:16 pm

Hi All:
Quick question about legal obligations when it comes to releases. I am shooting a series of web videos at a local gym. The talent is the personal trainers at the gym. They will all have to sign releases. Being a crowded place people will end up in the background of shots. Do I need a release for everyone that walks into the gym? Will a sign about the taping be sufficient?

Thanks for your thoughts.
Roy Schneider


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: releases for filming in gym
by on May 19, 2010 at 2:29:40 pm

Hey Roy,

That depends on your gyms relationship with the individual member? And whether they have sign up saying CCTV in operation and/or how they put a notice up. Also depends on whether the area is seen as private property to the user?

However, bottom line is that you would be best off getting written acceptance from everybody in shot. + the gym might not loose a member as a result of your courtesy.

Also consider the very wacky potential of you becoming a third party in a case between someone that you've filmed that should not have been present in a gym. i.e. a person on a disability insurance claim or of work for being ill etc. If you are found to infringe their rights as a result as your filming, even if you are in the OK to do so, the cost of defending that kind of cases is expensive. So having a signed release form makes it easier for your production insurance to deal with it.

The possibilities are endless :-)



All the Best
Mads
London, UK

Here used to be a big video - now you can watch another one here:
http://www.macmillion.com/showreel.htm

Mac Million Ltd. - HD Production & Editing
Blog: http://macmillionltd.blogspot.com


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Juris EkstsRe: releases for filming in gym
by on May 20, 2010 at 5:44:25 pm

[Mads Nybo Jørgensen] "Also consider the very wacky potential of you becoming a third party in a case between someone that you've filmed that should not have been present in a gym. i.e. a person on a disability insurance claim or of work for being ill etc. If you are found to infringe their rights as a result as your filming, even if you are in the OK to do so, the cost of defending that kind of cases is expensive."

Have there actually been any cases in any part of the world where someone has been doing something criminal or fraudulent, and sued and won damages for being found out?


Juris


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Mads Nybo JørgensenRe: releases for filming in gym
by on May 21, 2010 at 12:41:23 am

Hey Juris,

[Juris Eksts] "Have there actually been any cases in any part of the world where someone has been doing something criminal or fraudulent, and sued and won damages for being found out?"

I don't know - in all likely hood not. However, my main point is that as much as it would be a frivolous case, a small production company could be destroyed by the legal fees before an judgement was even to be passed. As a result, I think you'll find that most of these kind of kind of cases get settled before they even make it to court.

Is that a fair practice? Certainly not, but to ignore the potential threat would not be a sensible thing to do, when a signed release-form will cover all of those headaches...


All the Best
Mads
London, UK

Here used to be a big video - now you can watch another one here:
http://www.macmillion.com/showreel.htm

Mac Million Ltd. - HD Production & Editing
Blog: http://macmillionltd.blogspot.com


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grinner hesterRe: releases
by on May 22, 2010 at 2:14:50 am

Yes. Consider it a consideration. It's not required as attending public events is a release in itself.



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Nick GriffinRe: releases
by on May 22, 2010 at 9:20:55 pm

Not sure of the legality of it, but I've seen signage used on very large-scale / wide shot feature film productions which reads in effect:

"We are filming here today and by being here you agree that we may capture your image and that you hereby grant your permission for us to use what we may capture. If you do not agree with this please come back tomorrow when our filming will be completed."

Like I said, not sure if it's legal, or even effective, but perhaps better than nothing.

Grinner - if someone is at a private health club on private property they may very well be NOT considered to be in a public place.


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Roy SchneiderRe: releases
by on May 22, 2010 at 9:46:36 pm

Thanks For all you responses. I really appreciate your help. I think the sign will actually be the best approach for this instance.
Thanks again
Roy

Roy Schneider
Long Live Da Cow!


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Greg BallRe: releases
by on May 23, 2010 at 6:31:38 pm

Nick, I would think that posting a sign like that would lead to more issues. I'm not sure legally, but posting a sign like that and using a person's image without their consent would still open you up to
lawsuits. A person seeing that sign may intentionally try to be seen on camera, so they can use it against the video production company later in court. It's a strange world we live in.


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Nick GriffinRe: releases
by on May 23, 2010 at 7:23:32 pm

Greg-
I agree with you, hence the caveat-laden nature of my post. Fact of the matter is, and as we've discussed here before, release forms are all about giving laymen the idea that they've granted a right which they can't take back -- because they've SIGNED something, or in the case of a posted notice, agreed to something, that basically says so.

As I understand it (and sing along with me because you all know the words by now) "I'm not a lawyer, but my understanding is..." (OK, stop singing) ... that permission can be revoked at any time. Not to say doing so wouldn't produce a protracted legal tussle, but I believe that it can permission can be withdrawn, even with a signed release.

At best a sign would establish your intent to warn people and seek their tacit approval. Of course at worst it would empower a jerk or two trying to find the camera and get into its sight lines. On the feature where I saw this being done they had done a very good job of concealing the camera(s), probably for this very reason.


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Randy WheelerRe: releases
by on May 23, 2010 at 8:48:41 pm

This was the release sign that was put out next to the camera for the motion picture "The Chameleon" (starring Ellen Barkin and Famke Janssen) being filmed on location at the 2009 Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Randy








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Todd TerryRe: releases
by on May 24, 2010 at 1:52:27 am

Nick is right... permission granted by the signing of a release is revocable at any time. UNLESS there is "consideration"... i.e., unless you paid that talent some amount (even just a dollar). Then it becomes a binding contract. I'm assuming in this case you aren't planning to pay any average Joe who happens to wander into deep background of your shot.

You often see those signs like Randy posted at public places. Just about every big theme park has them as a permanent fixture, because filming (often for their own promotion) so frequently happens there. They wouldn't hold up in court actually in a public place such as a street or park (rather than a private facility like a theme park), but they do show a good-faith effort to inform people that their likenesses may be used.

Someone who was photographed and their likeness used without permission could take you to court (you can sue anybody for anything these days), but they would not have much of a case. They would, of course, if you were using their specific likeness to, say, promote a product or make some specific political statement. But if they have merely an incidental presence they would not be able to show any defamation or damages. They would lose their case... but still eat up a bit of your valuable time and possibly some lawyer's fees (although it would be highly likely that a judgment against the plaintiff would include a counter-award of defendant's attorney's fees, so although it might not end up costing you any money the whole thing would still be a magnificent waste of your time).

In a completely private, interior and enclosed space as your gym, I think such a posted notice would have a bit more teeth and documentation of such notice would show a genuine good-faith effort to notify the patrons (and make sure your behind-the-scenes location still photos include a shot of the posted sign, for such documentation purposes). Since this is all apparently being done with the permission and cooperation of the gym owners, I don't think you would have a problem. But it all hinges on the face that it is private individual or corporate-owned property.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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