Before starting a video project, it’s a smart practice to consider all aspects of the production, but it’s essential to review the legal considerations of each detail to avoid any legal battles, fines or penalties.
Accuracy of Statement/Claims
Review of all claims regarding product and service to ensure there are no false, inaccurate or misleading statements. Is your industry, service regulated by any agency or organization that may need to review and approve your material prior to it? If so, it’s best to explore the guidelines before production so that reshooting costs can be avoided.
Logos & Trademarks
Usage of another company’s logos and trademarks, even in b-roll footage, may be subject to infringement. While it may seem like any business, large or small would be happy to have publicity from their logo being shown in your video, their association with your product or service may be inconsistent with their guidelines for use. It’s best to avoid these occurrences entirely or go through the channels to obtain proper legal permission, once again, to avoid costly reshooting, editing or even worse, legal battles later.
Photo & Video Licensing
Photo and video licensing agreements can vary substantially depending on the time limit of use, number of viewers, geographic region, and medium used. Royalty-free licenses differ from rights-managed licenses. Be sure to understand the differences and exactly how, and if, you are licensed to use photos and videos.
Simply put, it is illegal to use someone else’s music in your promotional video without proper licensing to do so – even if the video is only for internal use. Be aware that it is illegal to copy copyrighted material for any purpose. Royalty-free music is available for use from stock music libraries. Otherwise, music must be properly licensed for your project. A video professional can help with this.
Talent/Model Release Forms
Any person appearing on camera should sign a proper release form/waiver whether they are in the background, speaking in part of a group or being interviewed. This applies to professional talent, non-professional talent and employees of your company. If individuals who work for your company have signed an employment contract, there may be a stipulation regarding their appearance in company promotional material, but this may no longer apply if they no longer work for the company.
Location/Property Release Forms
A location or property release form will have to be signed by a manager or landlord when filming on private and some public property – which would include a building, storefront location, park, beach, etc. In some cases, the property owner may require proof of liability insurance.
Work For Hire/Ownership Rights
If you are hiring someone to work for or with you to shoot and produce your video, ‘work-for-hire’ means that you as the client own all resulting materials including any raw footage and edited masters. Any music, photos or video elements which have been licensed for inclusion in the video should have been licensed to you, the client.