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April 26, 2010 at 3:45 AM #47128success999Participant
Issue: My production company produced a video for a client. The client provided talent for the video production. The main talent (one individual) has decided to not be in the final edited production. This one person (talent) did sign a talent release form giving their permission that the footage would be used in the final edited production. Update: The talent notified me via phone and email that they did not want to be in the final edited production.
Question: What is my legal duty to honor his wishes to not be in the final edited video? Can I be sued as a production company if I knowingly still keep him in the final production even though he wrote to me and made it clear that he does not want to be in the final edited production? Do the laws vary from state to state or are they federal laws, etc? Note: The said talent did sign and date a talent release form. I have read that the talent release is not always written in stone and that the talent can always ask to be edited out at anytime – perhaps if I refuse to honor his wishes he can sue me and the client?
Thank you ahead of time for anyone who can help me with this very important questions.
April 26, 2010 at 6:51 AM #193969EarlCMember
First: You really need to acquire the advice of licensed legal counsel. You’ll get opinions here, unless of course one of us is a licensed legal attorney – could be, but then he/she wouldn’t likely be willing to give you FREE advice beyond a short “consultation”.
Second: The way things have been for a long, long time just about anybody can sue anybody for anything. It might get thrown out as frivolous or otherwise “go away” but the act of litigation itself is going to cost SOMEBODY money, and both parties some of their precious time.
That being said: It is MY personal experience regarding this (and it has happened to me a time or two) that unless the talent is a MUST INCLUDE part of a production, a deal-breaker as far as completing the project, then after consulting with the primary client (the one who’s signature is on the contract/agreement) to get their take (and suggestions from their legal advisors) my approach is to let the rabbit go – don’t want or need the potential future problems.
If the talent’s inclusion is CRUCIAL to the production, and he/she has been properly treated and compensated according to the release and/or any written or witnessed agreement between talent and your client, then that can be a problem both ways but you probably are covered and the “talent” is held by the short hairs. I say this because if all is proper between talent my CLIENT has acquired an agreement with, and if the talent has requested release from his/her signed release to either of us in writing, backed by an attorney and injunction or other papers filed in court – all things considered the signed release is probably binding.
Talent can, however, make a LOT of claims in a suit, frivolous or otherwise, that can slam the production doors shut until all questions are decided upon between counsel or in a court of law – potentially years, my friend.
YOU, however, might have an agreement/contract such that if any of this unpleasantry arises either your client, or the talent, will be in breach of contract. That, also, sad to say, usually winds up being decided in a court o law.
So, we’re back to square one – is inclusion of the “talent” critical to the production? If not, shake ’em loose. If they are critical to the production then, notification by e-mail, phone or in writing aside, it will likely still become an expensive, time-consuming matter taking years and requiring a court decision or legal compromise between counsel and parties involved.
I am NOT a licensed legal attorney, and the above is STRICTLY opinion based on personal experiences. The above does not in any way mean to confirm or imply the comments are legally accurate or true or binding. Any action taken as a result of the above opinion is solely at your own risk, and I am NOT liable for loss or damages of any nature, real or perceived by anyone reading or using this information.
April 26, 2010 at 2:53 PM #193970D0nParticipant
That is why you have a release, and a contract, to cover your butt.
reply and cc the client about the issue, informing them you intend to deliver as per the contract and agreements and give a quote on the costs to re-edit, re-shoot or otherwise re-do the project and inform them you expect to be paid for whatever changes they want at this point and suggest they work it out between themselves as far as who is responsible to pay you for what.
The prospect of a legal fight or having to pay costs may be enough to deter them from pursuing the matter further.
I’m assuming the talent is pertinent to the production, as I personally NEVER have anybody or anything in the picture on a commercial project, that isn’t pertinent, in the first place.
like Earl said:
“I am NOT a licensed legal attorney, and the above is STRICTLY opinion based on personal experiences. The above does not in any way mean to confirm or imply the comments are legally accurate or true or binding. Any action taken as a result of the above opinion is solely at your own risk, and I am NOT liable for loss or damages of any nature, real or perceived by anyone reading or using this information.”
I’m not alwyer and don’t even play one on tv.
My opinion is the talent may be trying to squeeze people for more money. Not your problem. Getting sued is not the same thing as losing a lawsuit.
April 26, 2010 at 6:29 PM #193971Grinner HesterParticipant
He signed the release. It’s the client’s property. If they wanna use it, do what they want.
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