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Posted 22 November 2013
by James Orpin

Key legal points for shooting business videos

Release forms

It is good practice to get consent from everyone you film; failing to do so could result in claims for:

• Damages for breach of contract for providing valuable service without compensation.
• Misrepresentation for not explaining what was going to be filmed.
• Breach of confidence for disclosing information without consent.

Release forms can be a simple one page agreement. Send them to participants in advance and make it clear they will be expected to sign if they wish to participate in the film. If your film includes children or young people under the age of 18, then parents must sign on their behalf.

You do not need consent from passers-by unless they become involved in filming.

Location agreements
Consent is needed from owners and/or tenants before filming on location, including public spaces like shopping centres. The location agreement should provide for access to set up and take down the shoot plus the right to use services such as electricity, water etc.

Advertising standards
The UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (CAP Code) applies to video. Failure to obtain written consent from participants is a breach of the provisions. The CAP Code provides that marketers should not unfairly portray or refer to people in an adverse or offensive way. Therefore you should obtain written permission before:

• Referring to or portraying members of the public, unless in a public place.
• Referring to people with a public profile. However, accurately reflecting the contents of books, articles or films may be acceptable without the creator’s permission.
• Implying personal approval of an advertised product.

CAP also prevents children being used for anything immoral or potentially dangerous.

Copyright and trademarks
Copyright and trade mark rights in other businesses’ products need to be given consideration when shooting videos. Consent from the owners should be sought before products or logos appear in your video or they may be entitled to compensation. However incidental inclusion is allowable, so fleeting glimpses do not require consent.

The director of a film owns the copyright, subject to contrary agreement, so if using an external director; it may be worth seeking an assignment of such copyright. Film directors also have moral rights, including the right to be credited and to object to derogatory treatment of their work, but these can be waived in the documentation.

Recordings of live music or theatre entitle performers to performance rights, which include remuneration so ask permission beforehand.

if you say something in your film about your product which turns out to be false this might amount to a misrepresentation, which may form the basis of a claim against you.

Data protection
Films that allow an individual to be identified should be processed ‘fairly’ by you as the ‘data controller’. The best way to do so is by consent in a release form.

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About the author

James Orpin

Partner and Solicitor

Partner and solicitor specialising in corporate and commercial matters