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Old March 5th, 2007, 12:46 AM   #1
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Filming famous people in public and using it in a movie....

If I film someone in a public place, can I use that footage in a documentary even though they may not have signed off on a release?
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Old March 5th, 2007, 01:11 AM   #2
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I don't know for sure, but if you film me, then no. If you film Paris Hilton, then maybe - at least in the context of news or a documentary.

My wife recently told me that's one reason that some celebrities are adamant and 100% consistent about not speaking of their families to the media. That supposedly makes the family "not newsworthy" (like me), so their images can't be used freely by the news media.

But I also believe that if you want to use that video or photo of Paris Hilton in your entertainment piece ("Hey Joe! Look! There goes my ex-wife, Paris! Ha, ha!") then you need a release.

But hey, if you shoot some footage of Paris and it's racy, sell it to The Enquirer and fund your next film (including SAG actors) with the profits!
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Old March 5th, 2007, 10:32 AM   #3
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thanks Jon - I'll look forward to getting some saleable footage...!
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Old March 5th, 2007, 02:06 PM   #4
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I'm not a lawyer, but I do know that any time a celebrity goes out in public, they're a target for paparazzi who can/do sell their footage to E!/Extra, etc. to report on as "news" without any signed consent. As far as I know, a documentary would fall under that protection since it is considered news reporting, like Extra. Whereas, if you made a narrative film, that is a completely different animal and you would need clearance.

But if you get some juicy stuff, you should probably consult a lawyer...
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Old March 5th, 2007, 03:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Brian Mills View Post
.... As far as I know, a documentary would fall under that protection since it is considered news reporting, like Extra. .....

Not necessarily - the definition of 'news' includes an element of currency, ie, how close in time to the event the film is exhibited.
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Old March 30th, 2007, 02:54 AM   #6
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Rent the movie Bowfinger starring Steve Martin...The whole movie is about this and it's hilarious.
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