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Old February 7th, 2008, 10:49 AM   #1
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Do I need releases on travel docu.

I am off to South Africa in one month. The question I have is, Who do I need to get releaes from? Of course I will be filming lots of different people in different settings. Examples are: Dancers at cutural villages. People on the street.Tour guides. There are so many I cant aven list them. Any info would help
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Old February 15th, 2008, 02:39 PM   #2
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I asked the same question about two years ago before leaving for trips to Mozambique, Honduras and Cuba.

The technical answer I got is according to US law at least, you should have releases.

The practical answer I got was 'how likely is it that any of the people you shoot, will ever see your work or consider suing if they do?'

I had an advantage that on my trips, each documentary was to promote awareness and fund-raising for the churches, schools and orphanages that we visited. So all of the people interviewed understood that the video was to their benefit. If your shooting tourist type activities, in tourist areas, your situation may be more complicated.

These were documentaries of mission teams, so we did get releases from all the individuals on each team.

Hope that helps and best of luck on your trip.
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Old February 15th, 2008, 04:17 PM   #3
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The ultimate destination of the video also determines from a practical standpoint how stringent you'll need to be. A program for broadcast or a documentary for festival entry my have requirements for releases put on it by the potential customer's legal department or festival entry rules. If the network says you have to have releases, they ain't gonna buy it unless you provide them regardless of whether they're required according to the strict letter of the law. David, I assume your program was intended to be shown 'in-house' to a narrow audience such as the contributors to the sponsoring churches etc where they didn't need to care about strict legalities and it was all under the radar - if you had offered it for sale to The Travel Network, National Geographic, or PBS, for instance, or offered it for entry at Sundance, you might well have found you would have been asked for more releases before they would consider it.

I feel very uncomfortable with the message implied by the idea that one would need to get releases from the mission teams being photographed but not from the people who are the recipients of the mission services and who appear in the same film or photos. Why would you need a release from the mission doctor you photograph examining a pregnant woman but not from the woman being examined?
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Old February 16th, 2008, 09:04 PM   #4
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It was a small focused audience. But I do want to make it clear that in situations such as you described with a pregnant woman, verbal permission, through one of the doctors or nurses, was obtained from the individual. In other situations such as the orphanage, permission was obtained from the facility director. Where that wasn't possible, I found a different shot.

Interestingly, when I asked the pastor of a church in Cuba if it was okay to tape during the service, he laughed and said 'of course, we do it all the time'.

True, that would not hold up for the Discovery channel, but that was never going to be my audience. Still, I always made an effort to respect their rights and situations.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 05:19 PM   #5
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i dont know much about international laws, or film rules, but if you are in public domain (city sidewalks, parks, or structures) there isnt much that can be done from the standpoint of the person being shot, right? at least this is the news rule. I would assume the rules would be somewhat similar over seas, but like I said, I dont know much about that.
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Old February 17th, 2008, 07:04 PM   #6
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Before you get too far into worrying about releases you should perhaps check with an SA atty re videotaping in public . . . in other words get an answer to the question "what rights, if any, can I assert to a policeman if stopped while video taping in public."

SA has made great strides toward liberal democracy, but who knows what kind of rules are on the books (or if anyone takes rules seriously in the first place). Foreign jails are full of Americans who thought abroad would be just like home.
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