Release Forms

Posted by Robert 
Release Forms
June 25, 2006 04:45PM
Dear Everyone!

Can anyone tell me where to find a good blank release form valid in the USA on the internet?? I need to get it signed by a subject in the US for my documentary.

Thanks so much!
Best regards,

Re: Release Forms
June 26, 2006 08:50AM
If you need a serious contract that will bullet proof you - go to a lawyer. There's simply too much variation in state law. I wouldn't suggest you use this for anything with serious money involved.

However - If you just need a standard wording CYA general - this might do.


Today's Date: ________________________
Participant's Name (print): ________________________

In return for the consideration of $________, I hereby authorize the Producers ( ___________________________________________) of the production________________________ to use the photographs, video tapes and audio recordings taken of me in all media for the purposes of this production including the promotion of the work to the public, and the promotion of the producers work for future projects.

I acknowledge that since my participation in this production is for a set fee, I will receive no further financial compensation. I further agree that my participation in the production of _____________
confers upon me no rights of ownership whatsoever. I release the Producers and their assigns from liability for any claims by me or any third party in connection with my participation.

Signature: ______________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________________
City: ________________ State,: _____ Zip ____________
Phone: ______________________________________________
Email: ______________________________________________
Signature of Parent or Guardian:

Witness: ____________________________
Re: Release Forms
June 26, 2006 10:10AM
I am not a lawyer. However, I just finished a feature film and worked very closely with a couple of great lawyers in NY and DC on the contracts and releases.

Something important to know is there is no bullet proof vest for contract law. People can sue anyone at any time if they want to under the laws of the United States. Contracts and releases are to show intent between parties. These documents are to help determine the nature of the agreement if it goes into a court of law or arbitration. What Ian posted is great for that. It shows intent and consideration. Which is what you need...and in most instances, all you need.

If you want something more in depth (including indemnity clauses, etc.) or you would like to be more specific about the rights you wish to be given or would like the artist to retain, Mark Litwak's book "Contracts for the Film & Television Industry" give pretty good boilerplates.

(I ran this posting by my lawyer boss....she says, "yep"winking smiley
Re: Release Forms
June 27, 2006 12:41PM
Hey Robert,

Please post back to the forum rather than emailing directly.

You wrote:

>This is a no budget production
>where I and the editor worked for free. (I did pay
>the sound editor and color timer a bit.) Is it part
>of a release from agreement in the US/California to
>pay the person you interview???

There are as many different financial arrangements in the industry as there are projects. The background performers on my set, for example, were volunteers and we used a release form that didn't include compensation. I have also volunteered for various recordings, etc. where compensation was $1.00 or something minimal. It is entirely up to you and the people with whom you are working (and whatever unions may be involved).

This is the verbage that I used:

I ____________ hereby grant to ________________ (?Producer?) and to its licensees, assignees, and other successors-in-interest all rights of every kind and character whatsoever in perpetuity in and to my performance, appearance, name and/or voice and the results and proceeds thereof (the ?Performance?) in connection with the motion picture currently entitled ____________ (the ?Picture?), and I hereby authorize Producer to photograph and record (on film, tape, or otherwise), the Performance; to edit same at its discretion and to include it with the performance of others and with sound effects, special effects and music; to incorporate same into Picture or other program or not; to use and to license others to use such recordings and photographs in any manner or media whatsoever, including, without limitation, unrestricted use for purposes of publicity, advertising and sales promotion and to use my name, likeness, voice, biographic or other information concerning me in connection with the Picture, commercial tie-ups, merchandising and for any other purpose. I agree that Producer owns all rights and proceeds of my services rendered in connection herewith as a work-made for hire.


______________________________________ ____________________
(Signature of Extra or Parent/Guardian if Minor) Date

(Printed Name)
Re: Release Forms
June 27, 2006 12:46PM
If it's for one subject, write it yoursel, and tailor make it for the purpose. If you're shooting a documentary all over the place, it's best to carry a generic release form that doesn't involve a compensation clause -- especially if you're doing a no-budget movie. However, you should state that the person appearing in your documentary isn't doing it for the money, but for experience/exposure/etc.
Re: Release Forms
June 27, 2006 12:55PM
As "experience and exposure" are not quantifiable items, it is probably not a great idea to use those particular terms (or any other non-concrete specifiers) in your release, but filmman's absolutely right that you should make your releases suit your purposes.

Re: Release Forms
June 27, 2006 01:25PM
" a work-made for hire." This phrase is important I'm told - particularly in copyright and media law.

A person volunteering has certain rights - a person working for hire -even for $1.00 surrenders those rights.

Re: Release Forms
June 27, 2006 01:33PM
> However, you should state that the person appearing in your documentary
> isn't doing it for the money, but for experience/exposure/etc.

There is absolutely no point in putting "doing it for experience and exposure" into a legal contract. What if the film doesn't sell, and then the subject comes back to you and claims breach of contract because your project gave him/her no experience or exposure?

The "exposure" aspect is always just implied. You can't guarantee it in a written contract. The contract should be laying out concrete rights and responsibilities of each party, for example, "for the sum of one dollar".
Re: Release Forms
June 27, 2006 02:01PM
"Work made for hire" may not be as necessary for interviewees in a documentary setting (although it can't hurt), but it is the phrase that clarifies the assignment of all copyright to the producer and becomes imperative in contracts with designers (as an example).
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