Video Production for Marketers Take 3 Part 1: Legal Stuff / Media Releases

Part 1 of the third instalment in a series of posts aimed at demystifying the video production process for the uninitiated marketer.

If you’re email looks anything like mine, your inbox chuck full of matters requiring our attention. We do the best we can to balance our own needs with ongoing requests. Prioritisation is one of the most powerful skills we can possess. Sometimes the only way to get through everything is to take a shortcut here and there. However, there is one area that should never be ignored…ever. The legal stuff!

Borrowing an image or a sentence, claims about your competition without proper evidence, or using that video you took of your friends at the bar for a campaign might seem harmless at the time but they actually represent:

  • Copyright violations.
  • Defamation of character.
  • Privacy issues / Unauthorised use of information that requires consent.

Paying attention to the legalities associated with content creation and usage is very important but often overlooked or ignored. There are plenty of excuses like short deadlines or inadequate training. Surprisingly, even large companies have been known to take these kinds of risks.

If you are a small, local business, you might get away with something borrowed here or there. However, you are risking bad press, legal action and penalties in some cases.

Release Forms

A release form is required whenever you use the image (photo or video) or voice recording representing an individual and/or a company for marketing purposes. This could be for a website, a brochure, a podcast, a commercial, etc. Even if someone has given a verbal OK, it’s in everyone’s best interest to complete a release form. Memories can fade…PDFs do not!

Some companies include this kind of release in the documents that every employee signs when they are hired. This makes it easier if you want to put photos of the company picnic or some other event on the company social channels or website. However, if an employee’s photo/video/voice is used for a specific marketing purpose–e.g. as the host of a training webinar–many companies will err on the side of caution and get an additional release signed, specific to the event. This should give you an idea of how serious the repercussions can be for not having proof of consent.

There are lots of free release and waiver templates available on the web. Some are very short, some are extremely detailed. I’ve created a hybrid template for my own use that covers everything I’ve needed so far. You can download it here. Please let me know if it’s helpful!

The next installment is now available. Take 3 – Part 2: Legal Stuff / Stock Imagery

NOTE: This post is meant to be a guide for the type of release required for recordings featuring individuals and/or companies for marketing purposes. Please check with a legal professional in your area to ensure all legal considerations are covered for your precise situation, in your jurisdiction.

© 2021 Tracey Copeland, Rolling Sands Consulting.

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