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Old May 19th, 2008, 11:10 AM   #1
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Special release needed for controversial documentary interviews?

I will soon be conducting interviews for a documentary about a controversial subject. The interviewees will be informed beforehand that the questions put to them will challenge their most deeply held beliefs. I would like to protect myself from anyone becoming offended or having second thoughts during or after the interview.

Is there a special clause that needs to be included in my release form to prevent people from withdrawing their consent in a controversial situation like this?

Thanks,
Mike
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Old May 19th, 2008, 02:04 PM   #2
 
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As long as you state--in writing--up front that the questions may be considered "controversial" by some, you should be covered. Don't try to hide anything. Remove any and all doubt as best you can. Then they sign the release with a full knowledge. Even then, not knowing in advance what the questions are, some still may find it offensive.

That won't stop them from filing a lawsuit (if they decide to), but at least you'll have the signed "contract" in hand, which goes a long way in such cases.
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Old May 19th, 2008, 02:37 PM   #3
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Why would they answer a question that they didn't want to?

IF you plan to 'trick' the people or if you plan to broadside them with some off topic question... likely as not they will simply not answer it. Get up and leave. If you misrepresent the nature of the interview - you could open yourself up to other actions.

On the other hand, if you say "This is an interview on your views regarding the death sentance" or "How you feel about abortion" or some such topic, you'll be letting them know.

For myself, I would refuse to sign a release until an interview is conducted. That way I have final say over whether or not it can be used.
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Old May 20th, 2008, 07:21 AM   #4
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Great advice guys! Thanks. You have helped me a lot!
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