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Video Liabilities

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Emma KayVideo Liabilities
by on Jul 13, 2012 at 6:34:00 pm


I'm a video production student who is fairly new to the field. I'm starting a project that will be for me personally and that I will also enter into a production company's contest. After I submit the video to the contest, the production company may publish my work on their website/social media/youtube. The video will be done in a location such as a city, neighborhood, etc. and potentially have an interview or two with people familiar with the area. I'm concerned I may be in trouble if I do not get the right clearances/documents for my locations/potential interviews. I don't know much about what is legal versus illegal when shooting on-location without a permit (particularly if the permit costs $$ or if a permit is needed for all locations).

I'll be filming in the Virginia/DC area. I've researched the film offices to find out more information but I am confused about the regulations considering I am not using the video for profit, I'm a student [but this is not for school], and I'm a small crew [it's myself and a friend or two].

Any advice about what is legal and what isn't legal for my situation is greatly appreciated!


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Mark SuszkoRe: Video Liabilities
by on Jul 13, 2012 at 8:01:51 pm

Your profit or lack thereof is not germane to the issue of rights. Easy enough to ask the people you shoot to say on camera that they give you permission to use their image and words in your project. It would be nice to have them sign a slip that says they agree to allow you to use their image and words for the contest video project. It becomes more binding, if you give them a dollar in exchange for the signature. The slip then says "in CONSIDERATION of the sum of 1 dollar, I hereby give permission...."

As far as locations, shoot in a public space or a private space where you have permission.
Recognizable art or sculpture in the shot requires artist's clearance.

Logos in public are not automatically forbidden, that's a common misunderstanding. But whether you show it and in what context, might bring on eventual inquiries from the logo owners. You have to be ready to defend your decisions. Read this comic book styled textbook

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Emma KayRe: Video Liabilities
by on Jul 15, 2012 at 3:17:16 am

Thanks for your response. I read the comic book; that was very helpful and a great way to explain such an intricate topic.

Regarding public space, is there ever a time when you do not need permission to film somewhere?

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Nick GriffinRe: Video Liabilities
by on Jul 15, 2012 at 5:08:16 pm

Wow! Great sourcing, Mark!
But it is hard to imagine the last time a comic book made my head hurt.

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