University Web Developers

University Web Developers

Getting Permission to Use People in Photos/Videos

In the past few months, there has been a push at my institution to post more video on YouTube and related sites. I'm afraid we might have legal issues if we put handheld cameras in the hands of our students and just let them take shots of people around campus (or worse, people in other situations that may not be associated with the university). I know there are bound to be people who wouldn't want to likenesses of themselves to be used in public ways (the witness protection program is the extreme example that comes to mind).

I know that "model releases" are common when taking pictures of people for promotional materials. Do any of you have policies in place to deal with photo and video "releases?" Can anyone explain what the laws are governing these situations?

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We went through this about a year ago. At our institution students are covered when they sign the student handbook, but we do have a form for visiting artists/performers. We break it down into clinic, classroom, and performances (we're a music school). Most people don't mind being in the video if they can see it first.
The laws will vary depending on your local area. We have 'talent release' forms for paid and unpaid work, whether they are staff members or not.

The points listed in the talent release form include permission for the image to be used in a variety of media (online, print, videos, cinema ads, bill boards, general advertising etc) for a certain period of time.

It's still best to consult with your university lawyers or with external one with expertise in the entertainment industry. Ultimately, this is marketing and advertising.

If we do take photos without talent releases, it's usually of a crowd where the students are in the background and facial features are indistinguishable.

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