Are you creating business videos that feature people, be it employees, actors, customers, or anyone else? If you are, we’ve got a quick tip: Be sure to get them to sign a video release form before you get things rolling.
Video release forms not only help you avoid legal issues in the future but also protect your business interests, especially in the age of generative artificial intelligence (AI).
You might be asking, “What is a video release form and do I really need to worry about that?” If so, you came to the right place because we’ll answer these questions for you.
At Wistia, we make a lot of videos and we know a thing or two about having non-actors on camera — and how important it is to have them sign video release forms. Read on to find out what a video release form is and how to create one for your business video projects.
A video release form, also called a talent release form or consent and release form, is a legal document used by businesses to get permission from the individuals being featured in their videos to use their likeness and voice for marketing purposes.
A video release form paves the way for a smooth and legally compliant video production process by ensuring that everyone involved is on the same page when it comes to recording, marketing, and promoting the content.
By having your talent sign this form, you gain their written consent to use footage featuring them. This helps prevent any potential disputes or lawsuits if they later change their mind.
The form also gives your talent a clear understanding of how their voice and likeness will be used, which in turns protects their identity and reputation.
Without this consent form, you could face legal hurdles that might prevent you from using the footage featuring these individuals.
Anyone appearing in your videos, whether they’re hired talent like actors and extras, employees, customers, or even podcast speakers, should sign a consent form. This way, you’ve got everyone covered and they’re all okay with being in your project.
Ideally, you should ask every participant to sign the form before the camera starts rolling. Bundle it up with other paperwork like contracts and non-disclosure agreements they’d typically sign during pre-production.
While there isn’t a universally accepted format for video release forms (and the legal requirements can vary by organization), here are the common elements usually found in one:
- Project description
- Types of media
- Editing and modification rights
- Commercial and non-commercial usage
- Third-party rights
- Future usage
- Time limit
- Grant of rights
- Release of liability
Let’s take a closer look at each one.
List the names and relevant details of your business and the talent.
Include a clear description of the project, including its purpose, title, and any other relevant information.
Outline all the different forms of media (still images, video footage, audio clips, quotes, etc.) you might use in the project.
Include a clause that lets you edit any recorded footage at your discretion. It’ll give you the freedom to cut out, merge, or loop parts of a video without worrying about legal consequences.
Add a clause that gives you the right to use the talent’s likeness or voice for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. It’s a good practice, even if you don’t have immediate plans to monetize your content, as it keeps your options open for the future.
Include a clause that allows you to transfer rights to the footage (and all associated media assets) to a third party. It’ll be helpful when you want to sell the content or let your sponsors use it for promoting their brands.
Mention whether your business retains the rights to the video for future projects or purposes other than the ones mentioned explicitly in the release form.
Specify the agreed-upon compensation for the talent to participate in your video, including royalties, payment, non-monetary perks, or any other form of compensation.
Specify how long you have the right to use the talent’s likeness and voice or include a clause that lets you use the footage indefinitely (provided you can get them to agree).
Explicitly state that the talent grants your business the right to use their name, likeness, voice, and performance captured in the footage.
Include a clause where the talent agrees to release your business from any claims, demands, or liabilities arising from the use of their likeness or participation in the video.
We’re not lawyers; we’re video marketers, after all! So it’s a wise move to work with your legal counsel to create a video consent and release form that suits your business needs. We’ve provided the elements above to help you draft one. Feel free to tailor it to the unique needs and scope of your project!
If you can’t lean on internal legal resources, you can still find some solid video release form templates online from legal service providers.
Whether you’re working with professional actors or others, getting talent release forms signed before the camera starts rolling is a great way to protect both parties and ensure a smooth video production workflow.
Once you’ve got all the signatures you need, it’s time to get rolling. And we have all the resources you need to kick off your video production!