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Old November 24th, 2008, 09:28 PM   #1
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Signing Release Forms

Who on a film crew has the authority to sign a release form? In the case of product placement, for example, does it have to be one of the producers or can it be the product placement supervisor?
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Old November 24th, 2008, 09:55 PM   #2
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I'm not quite sure what you mean by a release form in this context. If you mean a release of liability TO a third-party, i.e. the production company won't hold the third-party liable, it can be anyone who is either (1) an officer of the company, (2) a designee of an officer who has been expressly authorized to sign, or (3) from the standpoint of the third-party, anyone with ostensible agency, i.e. anyone who reasonably appears to have been authorized to act for the production company, and is working within the apparent scope of their authority. The legal test is one of agency, i.e. one acting on behalf of the principal.

That said, I'd suggest being careful about who is designated to sign releases waiving liability. Producers, as employers, have a range of legally-defined responsibilities to their employees (crew, actors, and others), as well as responsibility to third-parties, e.g. passersby, owners of property in the vicinity of the shoot, etc. The PA who, under the perceived pressure of a tight production schedule, signs a liability waiver without considering the legal consequences can not only wind up bankrupting the production company, but the individuals who own and work for it.

Finally, note that insurance policies may impose limitations on the ability to waive liability or designate authority to execute waivers. You do have insurance, don't you? :)
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Old November 25th, 2008, 05:34 AM   #3
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Yes we will have insurance. To clarify my question, I'm trying to determine who has the authority to sign on the behalf of the company when it comes to legal documents. If I understand what you're saying it's anyone who is... "(1) an officer of the company, (2) a designee of an officer who has been expressly authorized to sign, or (3) from the standpoint of the third-party, anyone with ostensible agency, i.e. anyone who reasonably appears to have been authorized to act for the production company, and is working within the apparent scope of their authority. The legal test is one of agency, i.e. one acting on behalf of the principal." Does that make sense? So, the product placement coordinator can sign the product placement release form on the behalf of the production company because they are an officer of the company.
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