Why You Always Need Video Participants to Sign Release Forms

March 3, 2020

Video participant release forms are essential any time someone is being visually recorded. Video release forms apply to sources including, but not limited to, social media, music videos, documentaries, and more. Any time a person is photographed, filmed, or recorded in any sense, it is essential that they sign a release form that permits its use.

Release forms provide written documentation allowing another party to use a recording for specific purposes. Video release forms come with their own set of stipulations, which may dictate who retains ownership of the property once it has been released. Signing a release form for video outlines the parameters involved in how a video or recording will be used as well as who has the rights to the footage. This is particularly important in the event that one party has concerns about using the footage in the future. 

Release Forms and Rights

Legal experts advise that the “right of publicity” prevents unauthorized commercial use of any recognizable aspect of someone's likeness, photo, or name. This means that individuals who appear in visually recorded footage (i.e., videos) are protected as far as their unique identifying characteristics are concerned. This includes looks, voice, and other defining factors. The right of publicity also protects participants in video footage from the recording being used in commercial projects beyond their consent.  

Release forms act as waivers over a specific source of creative work and provide the right to publicity. A release form should always be signed by subjects and is considered a legally binding document, regardless of the relationship one party has with another. For example, even if the individual in question is a friend, the release form that is signed is still a legal document that may hold up on court. While it may not be comfortable to request friends or family members to sign release forms for what might seem like simple and fun recording projects, it is important to do so in order to protect not only your own but also your participants’ rights.  

Getting video waivers and video release forms signed for projects like documentaries, social media, and other reality-based initiatives is even more important. This is because the goal of a documentary is to remain as close to the truth as possible, as opposed to portraying a fictional character as in an entertainment film or music video.

What Happens If You Didn't Get the Release Form Signed? 

Video producers who fail to to secure signed release forms but publish their content anyway could face major financial and legal consequences. In addition to the final product not being allowed to be distributed, actors and participants may also have grounds for legal action.  Furthermore, the individual(s) who appears in the video could become problematic in the form of demanding compensation beyond what was agreed upon and prevent the producer from utilizing the footage until they receive their pay.

The main takeaway to remember is that it is crucial to have all participants in a film, video, photo, or other media shoot sign waiver release forms before production begins. All details of involvement must be clearly outlined so everyone understands how the content will be used and what is expected of them. 

Simplify Signing Waivers with WaiverFile

Make the process of having actors and participants in your video signing waivers easy with WaiverFile. Contact us to get digitalized waiver forms for the release of your video today. 

Disclaimer: The content on this site is not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is established. To ensure your online consent form is legally binding based on your location, industry, and specific circumstances, consult a legal professional in your area.

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