Making Interviewees Sign an Agreement before videotaping?

by mobility 12 replies
I'm creating a video product (by interviewing an expert), and I'd like to make sure the expert is okay with the fact that I'll be selling the interview as a product. Is it standard practice to make the expert sign a "Work for Hire" agreement? Do you think the agreement below would work?


[Interviewee Name] agrees to allow INFO PRODUCT CREATOR to videotape [Interviewee Name] on [date]. INFO PRODUCT CREATOR owns the copyright, and he is free to use the video as he sees fit, including as training material, as a free gift, or for sale as part of a product package. As a consideration for [Interviewee’s Name] time, INFO PRODUCT CREATOR has paid [interviewee] ____________.

Sign & Date.


Is this sufficient -- or do I need a 4 page long "Work for Hire" agreement? I'm afraid that if I whip out a massive 4-page long legal agreement, I might scare the expert away. What's recommended?
#main internet marketing discussion forum #agreement #interviewees #making #sign #videotaping
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  • Profile picture of the author CSwrite
    You may want to go a little further with that, just to protect yourself. I've capped where you can just plug in your information. Edited to add: This is about 1 page when it's printed, depending on the font.


    Here's a sample:

    For good and valuable consideration, receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I the undersigned, do hereby grant to NAME OF COMPANY (“Producer”) the irrevocable right and license to use my name and biographical material concerning me, and all rights in and to any DVD, digital video, video tape, motion picture and/or still photographs made by Producer/and or Self of my likeness, poses, acts and appearances, and any sound recordings made by Producer/and or Self in any such DVD, digital video, video tape and/or motion picture (as well as any quotes I may give) ADD COMPENSATION HERE, in any manner or medium, whether now known or hereafter developed, throughout the universe in perpetuity.

    I, the undersigned, further release Producer, its partners, officers, directors, employees, agents, successors, assigns and licensees from any and all claims that I have or might have or that others have or might have by virtue of or arising out of the production, exhibition, distribution, promotion and/or advertising of “NAME OF PROJECT” (the "Video"), including without limitation, any claim for defamation, slander or invasion of privacy or infringement of rights of publicity.


    The results and proceeds of such tapings, films, photography, and/or recording shall be deemed a “work made for hire,” as such term is defined under the copyright laws of the United States, with Producer as the author and exclusive owner thereof.

    The foregoing permission and release is given for Producer’s benefit and for the benefit of each of its successors, licensees and assigns and any persons, films, or corporations which, through Producer, shall have the right to promote, distribute and/or exhibit such taping, filming, photography and/or recording, as set forth herein.

    Dated: _____________________
    Signature: _____________________
    Name: _____________________
    Address: _____________________
    Telephone: _____________________
    Fax: _____________________
    Email: _____________________

    If the foregoing is a minor, I, the undersigned parent or legal guardian of said minor, hereby consent to the above
    in all respects.

    Dated: _____________________
    Signature: _____________________
    Name: _____________________
    Address: _____________________
    Telephone: _____________________
    Fax: _____________________
    Email: _____________________
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    • Profile picture of the author mobility
      This is fantastic. Thank you CSWrite! Just what I was looking for.

      Anything tips on smoothing the signing process along? I was thinking of saying, "Before we get started, here's a video release form that we both sign." How's that?
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      • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
        If someone wanted to interview me and they sent me that I would pass. You want to make it easy for the interviewee who is giving you their time and expertize. Making them sign a legal looking document will put their guard up.

        I don't know if it's common or not to have them sign agreements but I have done several audio interviews and I just explain how their interview will be used.
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        • Profile picture of the author CSwrite
          Mobility, I would just say that it is a standard release (it is) that is used by film companies, video makers, documentary makers, etc... whenever they are filming someone.

          Alan, audio is a bit different (I would still get a release personally for the reasons below), but when you're filming someone there are HUGE gray areas that can come back and bite you.

          Let's say that the expert that Mobility interviews says something that is defamatory to someone else, untrue or simply just bad advice. Without this release, Mobility would be liable for those claims.

          It's definitely slanted towards the filmmaker, but it's absolutely necessary anymore to protect yourself.

          Cary
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        • Profile picture of the author Heather Vale
          Explaining is fine... rolling camera (or tape) while you do so is even better. Then you have the raw footage of them agreeing to it.

          But it also depends on the niche. For instance, authors, IMers, actors, politicians and so forth (anyone who's media savvy, including internet savvy) are well versed in the rules. They understand that you, the product creator, own the copyright -- just like a TV station owns the footage if they shoot a streeters interview with you on the street, or you show up as a guest in their studio.

          Some media outlets will have you sign a release, but for the most part it's understood that it is an IMPLIED release when you willingly go on camera (or on tape, or on the air on radio) and participate in the interview.

          You can't just use random footage of people sleeping on park benches without their permission, however, unless it's part of a hard news piece. Fiction-based productions, also (i.e. movies or dramatic TV shows) need permission from anybody who winds up on camera.

          Question is... are you really paying them? I've done thousands of interviews and never paid anybody. Their payment is usually the promotion they'll receive from the product (you will, after all, mention their websites if it's a paid content interview and/or promote one of their products through your affiliate link if it's a free interview, right?)

          If you're paying them -- i.e. "hiring" them -- then yes, you may want to go ahead with an agreement stating that their payment is for services rendered, and that's where it ends ("in all media, in perpetuity").

          Cary, as for liability... the interviewer, if conducting the interview properly and asking the right questions (i.e. "Really? Are you saying this absolutely, 100% will work for everybody? I find that hard to believe!") is unlikely to end up with an interview where the guest is talking in hard and fast rules that work for everyone. And if so, a disclaimer on the product of "the views expressed are solely those of the featured experts, and not the producers or interviewers" will cover that.

          Or... don't use the interview if the guest seems like a crazed lunatic making outrageous and false claims!

          cheers
          Heather
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          Heather Vale Goss, "The Unwrapper"
          Top Online Interviewer-For-Hire (for Qualifying Clients)
          Conduct Profitable Content-Rich Interviews with Interviewing Unwrapped
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          • Profile picture of the author mobility
            Thanks again, Cary.

            Saying it's a "standard video release" is perfect.
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            • Profile picture of the author CSwrite
              Heather, those are great points!

              I just come from the school of CYA (and from a very long line of lawyers) and personally, I prefer to have it all cut and dried, spelled out and no room for wiggling.

              Just as long as the video maker does something to protect their interests - without making the interviewee feel uncomfortable.

              At the end of the day however, I'd rather take the safe route and have all my little ducks in a nice little row by going with the standard release. To each their own, just as long as everyone is protected.

              Mobility - no problem. It's the same release used by the Independent Film Channel and countless other filmmakers, but modified a bit to include digital means of delivery.
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              • Profile picture of the author Frank Bruno
                Originally Posted by CSwrite View Post

                I just come from the school of CYA
                California youth Authority? LOL

                Frank Bruno
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    Originally Posted by mobility View Post

    Is this sufficient -- or do I need a 4 page long "Work for Hire" agreement? I'm afraid that if I whip out a massive 4-page long legal agreement, I might scare the expert away. What's recommended?
    Use a small font. Then, you can fit it on one, 2-sided sheet. ;-)
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    Dan also writes content for hire, but you can't afford him anyway.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alan Petersen
      There you have it from a leading expert! Heather has done tons of video and audio interviews with gurus and other A-list folks. Heather, I love your unwrapped interviews!
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      • Profile picture of the author Heather Vale
        Originally Posted by Alan Petersen View Post

        There you have it from a leading expert! Heather has done tons of video and audio interviews with gurus and other A-list folks. Heather, I love your unwrapped interviews!
        Hey, thanks, Alan!

        And Cary, you're right, there's nothing wrong with spelling it all out and getting your ducks in a row first. I've just found that, as Alan originally mentioned, a release that's too formal can really turn an interviewee off.

        I used to get them for certain TV productions, and got it down to just a quick, "Hey, I just need you sign this, it's a standard release saying I can use the footage and you don't get paid for it..." and it was very rarely a problem (and only a 1/2 page release). But I was dealing with celebrities who knew the game, and I did lose out on a few who said no to signing.

        Even last summer when we were shooting The Next Internet Millionaire, we had people sign releases during one segment... and so many people who were fine with being on camera said, "No, don't use my footage!" when presented with a paper to sign. Big waste of production time, resources, and frustrating as heck for the editors! ;-) (In that case we had more than enough footage anyhow, but in other instances it can be a big roadblock).

        So... I avoid releases if at all necessary (BTW a back-and-forth email string, explaining what you're doing and how it will be used, serves the same purpose informally; it just doesn't work if you're doing walk-up, off-the-cuff interviews at an event).

        cheers
        Heather
        Signature
        Heather Vale Goss, "The Unwrapper"
        Top Online Interviewer-For-Hire (for Qualifying Clients)
        Conduct Profitable Content-Rich Interviews with Interviewing Unwrapped
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        • Profile picture of the author mobility
          Heather - Thanks for sharing your advice and experience!
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