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#1 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 02:03 PM

Can someone who knows put in simple terms the guidelines for capturing footage of people in the public and buildings viewable to the public.

Working in the past in news far as I understood I could film anything from public property without consent.

So if I am filming for non news such as a feature,commercial, or to sell as stock footage what situations do I have to get consent to film?
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#2 Mike Lary

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 05:37 PM

So if I am filming for non news such as a feature,commercial, or to sell as stock footage what situations do I have to get consent to film?

You need signed consent forms from anyone whose face is seen in the film.
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#3 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 October 2005 - 05:48 PM

Typically if it's a wide crowd shot with many people in frame at the same time it's not an issue, even if individual faces can be made out. You see shots of streets crowded with people in movies all the time, especially those set in New York. I find it impossible to believe that the producers stop every person and ask them to sign a release, obviously they don't.

Tight shots of individuals are a different story, if it's non news then a release will be required.

As for buildings...this topic has been beaten to death on this forum. Some members insist that you need a property release for a building exterior shot from a public place, others do not.

I belong to the group that says you do NOT need a release for a building exterior if the building is shot from a public place. The court decision used by the stock footage industry as a guideline on this issue is:

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame v Charles Gentile.

http://biotech.law.l...ck_and_roll.htm

In this case even though the building was "famous and unique" the court ruled AGAINST the property owners. I've shot hundreds of buildings without a release and never had an issue, but then again, I've never used the footage to defame or slander the building owners in any way. Also, consider aerial establishing shots...do producers get a release from every building owner whose building is seen in the shot? No. You can't copyright a skyline, although I'm sure some slime ball lawyers are planning on trying.

R,
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#4 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 11:57 AM

The guideline that has been used in commercials is that if you think their mother would recognise them on screen "get a release" I know this is some what vague but the point is that if someone sees their image and can prove that it is them by that image they may have a legal right to be asked for payment or be taken out of the film. I have never heard of a case where someone brought suit but clients are very sensitive to anything that might serve as an embarrassment. When in doubt ask your client or ad agency how they feel, in the end they own the film and they will be liable for any missuse. In features and television it may be another matter. In news and docs you can shoot almost anything.
Also another matter to consider in this regard is company logos.
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 02:24 PM

"Also another matter to consider in this regard is company logos."

These things get in shots all the time and are un-avoidable in a place like Times Square NY where there are hundreds of them. If they are seen in wide shots there is no issue, you can't mask them all, nor can you get a release from every company. If they are just the background, it's no big deal at all.

But if it's a doc about the fast food industry and you show the exteriors of fast food joints along with their logos, and the V/O says, "these burger joints sell greasy un-healthy food." There is nothing the corporation can do to you, it falls in the free speech zone. Ever watch 60 Minutes? Look what they get away with, they point the finger at big business all the time and they can't be sued.

The end use is the real issue. If you want to use a tight shot of a corporate logo to cause "brand confusion" you might have an issue.

I find that low budget filmmakers worry about this issue far too much. If you think some fortune 500 company cares about your $1.98 DV production, you'd be wrong.

R,
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#6 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 07:27 PM

I guess my main concern is we are looking to shoot stock footage and sell pre-existing footage some with signed release most not. Obviously we can't go back and find all the subjects and get signed releases.

Yes 60 minutes can use most any footage they capture because they are news from what I understand. I also have seen on Corbis.com stock footage section they have different categories some are royality free some not some clips can be used for broadcast some not or it costs different prices according to the use.

Could we sell some of our clips with people that didn't sign a release but only for non commercial use? Is there a book or some clear written in stone guidelines I can find?

I work for a production company who has alot of footage that could be useful to other producers some of it is commercial stuff where we have signed release forms but alot of it is tasteful generic shots with people without signed release forms. And we also plan on shooting some original concepts.

Going on the idea of stock footage that will be sold to other producers what guidelines should I take?
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 11:10 PM

"I also have seen on Corbis.com stock footage section they have different categories some are royality free some not some clips can be used for broadcast some not or it costs different prices according to the use."

This has nothing to do with releases on file or not. If you use some ones face and you don't have a release then it doesn't matter if it's non-broadcast corporate video, you are still using their image without permission. The designation of clips as royalty free or rights managed is based upon many factors. If it's a very rare shot then the seller may designate it as rights managed to milk more money out of the shot because they can. Some cinematographers that supply footage simply don't want their shots in the royalty free arena, others like their stuff in the royalty free arena because it's easier to sell that way.

It sounds like you are talking about "back ending footage" i.e. selling shots from a production as stock footage, this is done all the time of course. If the owner of the footage has no issues with the shots being re-sold, and if the talent has signed a universal release giving the producer the rights to use their image for any thing, then in most cases the shots could be sold as stock footage.

The main problem with producers that want to back end footage is that they don't realize that most of what they think is valuable stock footage, actually has zero value to the stock footage industry. The most successful stock footage is footage that is filmed specifically for use as stock footage.

Sony tries to sell shots from their shows as stock footage, but most of it is junk and of no use as stock footage.

The other issues are the source of the material, if you have a 35mm neg backing up the shot or not. And, if you make a commercial for a client they may not want footage from their spot appearing some place else.

R,
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#8 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 19 October 2005 - 11:49 PM

So the consensus is that say if I have a shot of times square with hundreds of people walking up and down the street with company logos everywhere I could sell that footage because no one is singled out? But if I had a closeup of a hot dog vendor I would have to have his written consent? That makes the line very vague.

So I guess to cover my butt I need to just setup closeups with payed actors who sign releases? But I can film wideshots of whatever as long as people don't get close enough to the camera to be recognized?

I guess the law is different for different people, take this clips from artbeats java script:openMovie('../prod/clip.php?vw=movie&id=3205&fr=product&pg=1','movie3205')

java script:openMovie('../prod/clip.php?vw=movie&id=3211&fr=product&pg=2','movie3211')

did they get releases from the people close enough to the camera to make out who they are?

I know for the setups like this they got written permission java script:openMovie('../prod/clip.php?vw=movie&id=6159&fr=product&pg=1','movie6159')

This is all just very vague to me.
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#9 Robert Glenn

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 09:31 AM

So the consensus is that say if I have a shot of times square with hundreds of people walking up and down the street with company logos everywhere I could sell that footage because no one is singled out? But if I had a closeup of a hot dog vendor I would have to have his written consent? That makes the line very vague.

So I guess to cover my butt I need to just setup closeups with payed actors who sign releases? But I can film wideshots of whatever as long as people don't get close enough to the camera to be recognized?

I guess the law is different for different people, take this clips from artbeats java script:openMovie('../prod/clip.php?vw=movie&id=3205&fr=product&pg=1','movie3205')

java script:openMovie('../prod/clip.php?vw=movie&id=3211&fr=product&pg=2','movie3211')

did they get releases from the people close enough to the camera to make out who they are?

I know for the setups like this they got written permission java script:openMovie('../prod/clip.php?vw=movie&id=6159&fr=product&pg=1','movie6159')

This is all just very vague to me.


If you're showing any company logos then you better get clearance for each and every one of them just to be safe. That's what I'm going to do anyway. For bystanders I guess you'll just need a couple spotters, or do like they did for 28 days later by having a couple attractive women hold people up while you do your shooting....

So what about automobiles? Do they require clearance, even if you don't see the manufacturer logo or model name on it?
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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 10:13 AM

I can't access your Artbeats links to see your examples. But as for this...

"So the consensus is that say if I have a shot of times square with hundreds of people walking up and down the street with company logos everywhere I could sell that footage because no one is singled out? But if I had a closeup of a hot dog vendor I would have to have his written consent? That makes the line very vague."

What is "vague" about how you understand this, you understand it perfectly. Wide shots are ok, tights are not, what is vague about that. You can't see a difference?

As for this comment....

"If you're showing any company logos then you better get clearance for each and every one of them just to be safe. That's what I'm going to do anyway."

Do as you please but, there is no need to go this far. Besides there is no way on this planet that a corporation will give you written clearance for their logo to appear in your film. If you have 10 logos in the shot, ie Times Square, you honestly think all 10 companies would give you clearance to have their logo in the shot? Come on that's nuts! It would take months and months just to get replies. Have you actually tried doing this? My guess is you haven't and you're under the misguided impression it will be quite easy. Good luck!

R,
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#11 Robert Glenn

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 05:29 PM

I can't access your Artbeats links to see your examples. But as for this...

"So the consensus is that say if I have a shot of times square with hundreds of people walking up and down the street with company logos everywhere I could sell that footage because no one is singled out? But if I had a closeup of a hot dog vendor I would have to have his written consent? That makes the line very vague."

What is "vague" about how you understand this, you understand it perfectly. Wide shots are ok, tights are not, what is vague about that. You can't see a difference?

As for this comment....

"If you're showing any company logos then you better get clearance for each and every one of them just to be safe. That's what I'm going to do anyway."

Do as you please but, there is no need to go this far. Besides there is no way on this planet that a corporation will give you written clearance for their logo to appear in your film. If you have 10 logos in the shot, ie Times Square, you honestly think all 10 companies would give you clearance to have their logo in the shot? Come on that's nuts! It would take months and months just to get replies. Have you actually tried doing this? My guess is you haven't and you're under the misguided impression it will be quite easy. Good luck!

R,


You're crazy.
If DPs could shoot trademarked buildings without risk of lawsuits, then every movie shot would have scenes with a costco or hollister in the background. Obviously you're impervious to those matters however, because you've shot hundreds of buildings for your short movies without a problem.
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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 20 October 2005 - 07:12 PM

RobertNC,

Do you ever watch movies? How about movies that feature scenes from Times Square NY, of which there are many. You think they got clearance for every corporate logo that appears in frame?

Why don't you read a legal decision on the issue before you shoot your mouth off....

http://biotech.law.l...ck_and_roll.htm

I PUBLICALLY challenge you to find me one successful lawsuit to support your position. Just one, I can refer you to at least one other that supports mine.

I haven't shot any buildings for my "short movies" I've shot them as stock footage. And last year sales of my stock footage passed the $300,000.00 mark. So I think I know what I'm talking about. Total number of lawsuits in my 10 years of shooting stock footage, zero.

But if you want to get clearance for every corporate logo that appears in one of your shots, go ahead. But you won't get it I can tell you that.

R,
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#13 Jonathan Bryant

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 12:03 AM

Have you ever sold any shots which highlight say a McDonalds? What is the closest shot you have ever gotten of someone without them signing a waiver?

Do you mind showing us some examples of shots you would get waivers and shots that would be ok without?

Thanks for your time Richard I believe what you say is to be true, any more details to cover my butt would be greatly appreciated.
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#14 Richard Boddington

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 12:19 PM

Sorry, haven't been on for a while.

I have a shot of the Vegas strip where the McDonald's neon sign is visible. But so are 40 other casinos and buildings etc. So McDonald's can't say boo about that shot, it's not about their precious logo, it's a generic wide shot of the entire strip. I also have tight shots of a few casinos like NY NY, but I take the position that this falls under the protection of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame case. Besides can you trademark the front of an entire building? The Empire State Building owners seem to be trying but the case law is clearly against them. They can sue and people may give in, then again there are those who will fight back and cause them headaches.

A famous case with regard to shooting corporate logos in a movie without permission of the copyright holder is Caterpillar V Disney. Disney used Caterpillar bulldozers in their film, "George Of The Jungle." The bulldozers are used to wreck a jungle habitat and the "Caterpillar" logo is clearly seen. Caterpillar filed suit against Disney claiming that the scene portrayed their company as "evil." To make a long story short Caterpillar LOST. The judge found that there where no tight shots of just the Caterpillar logo seen in the film, and that the evil work was being done by the bulldozer drivers, not the machines themselves. Disney did not have to pay Caterpillar a penny.

To me this case shows that a corporate logo owner has a tough uphill battle to sue any one that uses their logo in a film. I'm not saying it's impossible, but you would have to have a tight shot of just the logo and then infringe on the trademark some how or try to cause brand confusion. Wide shots of Times Square just don't cut it.

As to the other issue.....

I also have a time lapse shot of a beach where you can see people, but the shot is way too wide to see any faces, they are just blobs. No releases.

Then I have a huge collection of "people shots", where I have paid models and actors appearing in close ups. For each of those I have a release on file and those people where paid for their work.

R,
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