Part of Lesson Plan: Copyright, Fair Use, and Digital Ethics
Activity Overview / Details
Have students read the Stay out of trouble: Know when to use a Video Release Form (below and link at bottom) and then create their own release for their projects based on what they have learned and the sample.
Assignment: have students either during class or out side of class practice getting releases from individuals before they film the person. Students will need to carry a video (or still camera) with them along with enough releases to get 5-10 individuals to sign the release. Students must:
- Explain the project to the person.
- Explain the release form and ask permission to film the person.
- Have the person read and sign the form.
- Shoot at least 30 seconds of the person in an interview style.
Stay out of trouble: Know when to use a Video Release Form
Here are the guidelines covering when you'll need to get a video release form signed before you can show someone on your videos. Following these guidelines can keep you out of trouble.
Video Appearance Release Forms
A video release form is also known as an Appearance Release form. It is a simple contract that gives you legal permission to use the image of the person who has signed the form for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
Having a signed release form can give you protection in the event an individual appearing in your video should later decide to sue you for using the image (e.g., for invasion of privacy or unfair use of their image).
When do you need to use a release form?
Laws covering the use of images of individuals frequently differ based on jurisdiction - from country to country and state to state. While there is no absolute rule of law you must follow, there is one absolute rule of thumb:
If you plan to use a person's image for commercial purposes, you need to get a signed video release form from that individual.
There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you shoot a crowd scene of people in a public area, you generally do not need a video release form from every person in the crowd. By being in a public area, we all give up our 'reasonable expectation of privacy.'
However, this does not mean you can go out and shoot images of identifiable people in public, and then sell those images for commercial use (e.g., in a clip art library). If you do, this could be considered an invasion of privacy (in some states), and you could be opening yourself up to an expensive lawsuit.
Let's say you are shooting a news story of individuals in a public area, you generally don't need to get a video release form. If you are shooting video footage for an educational video showing people in a public area, and you use the footage in the context in which it was shot, you probably wouldn't need a video release form from each individual.
You will want to get a release form if you:
Getting a video release form signed by identifiable participants in your video is a good idea not only to protect you, but it also can make it easier to sell the rights to your video later on down the road (e.g., if you're shooting a DVD).
What Do You Need in a Release Form?
A good video release form:
The following is an example of a simple video release form. To reiterate: if you have any questions, it is a good idea to consult your attorney to make sure that the Release Form you use covers all the points that are appropriate to your situation.
For good and valuable consideration, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I hereby consent to the photographing of myself and the recording of my voice and the use of these photographs and/or recordings singularly or in conjunction with other photographs and/or recordings for advertising, publicity, commercial or other business purposes. I understand that the term "photograph" as used herein encompasses both still photographs and motion picture footage.
I further consent to the reproduction and/or authorization by ___________________to reproduce and use said photographs and recordings of my voice, for use in all domestic and foreign markets. Further, I understand that others, with or without the consent of ________________ may use and/or reproduce such photographs and recordings.
I hereby release _____________________, and any of its associated or affiliated companies, their directors, officers, agents, employees and customers, and appointed advertising agencies, their directors, officers, agents and employees from all claims of every kind on account of such use.
If Model is under 18: I, ____________________, am the parent/legal guardian of the individual named above, I have read this release and approve of its terms.
Print Name: ___________________________
If you'd like to learn more about this subject, be sure to visit the web site of professional photographer, Dan Heller, and read his incredibly in-depth article on the subject of model releases.
Materials / Resource
- Stay out of trouble: Know when to use a Video Release Form [ Go to Site ]