Sign on the dotted line: What you need to know about Release Forms

Covering your business and video production legally is important, especially if your video is going to have a wide release. If you have actors, private property or copyrighted material, you will need Release Forms.

Release Forms will ensure that you won’t run into any legal issues down the track, such as someone appearing in the film attempting to block distribution or any lawsuits when using copyright music. Trying to take shortcuts and NOT having release forms signed could see your hard work become useless or worse still, see you in a courtroom.
There are key people that you will need to get release forms signed by, including:
– Any and all actors hired for your video
– The owners of any private land that you are filming on
– Any members of the public that you may interview
– Any staff members that you may interview in your agency
When filming outside in public spaces, it is generally accepted that you will not need release forms for every person that might appear in the background. This is a pretty tricky legal area, so when in doubt, try to get as much permission as possible. It may take a few more minutes to get permission, but it’s always better to get permission. It will cover you legally and it’s also simple courtesy.
There are few key elements in a release form that are needed to cover your video production:
– Identify what exactly the form is releasing. E.g. Music, Actors etc.
– That you intend to sell the rights of use of the video to a third party
– Neither the content, nor the distribution of the video can be changed or stopped
– Ensure the form is in writing and signed by all necessary people
(Please remember, if you need a release form signed by someone that is under 18 years old, you will need permission from their parent or guardian).

It's absolutely integral to get on top of all the important release form legalities

In order top get the best possible legal coverage for your video productions, whether they be a regular series or a one-off, you should speak to a legal expert. They will not only ensure you are fully covered, but in most cases will write up all the necessary release forms you will need.
If this is not a viable option for you or your video, please take a look at the generic release form below:
I, the undersigned, hereby enter into this Agreement with [Author] (the “Videographer”). I have been informed and understand that Videographer is producing a videotape program and that my name, likeness, image, voice, appearance and/or performance are being recorded and made a part of that video recording (the “Video”).
1. I hereby grant Videographer the irrevocable right to use my name (or any fictitious name), likeness, image, voice, appearance, and performance as embodied in the Video whether recorded on or transferred to videotape, film, slides, photographs, audio tapes, DVDs or other media now known or later developed.  This grant includes without limitation the right to edit, digitally enhance or alter, mix or duplicate and to use or re-use the Video in whole or part, as Videographer may elect.  I hereby waive any right to inspect or approve the finished product, including written copy or any other products that may be created in connection therewith.  Videographer shall have complete ownership of the Video in which I appear, including copyright interests.
2. I grant Videographer the right to broadcast, exhibit, market, sell and distribute the Video, either in whole or in parts, for any purposes that Videographer, in its sole discretion, may determine, including without limitation advertising and promotion.
3. I confirm that I have the right to enter into this Agreement and hereby give all clearances, copyright and otherwise, for use of my name, likeness, image, voice, appearance, and performance embodied in the Video.  I expressly release and indemnify Videographer and its successors, assigns and/or licensees from any and all claims including, without limitation, any and all claims for invasion of privacy, infringement of my right of publicity, defamation (including libel and slander) and any other personal and/or other property rights, arising out of or in any way connected with the above granted uses and representations.  I agree that I shall not now or in the future assert or maintain any such claim against Videographer, its successors, assigns and/or licensees.
AGREED AND ACCEPTED:
Name: _____________________________
Signature: __________________________
Date: ______________________________
If you need a camera crew to help with your next video production, please contact Ryan at cameracrew.net.au