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The Yau Law Firm
Focused on Protecting Businesses and Representing the Injured

Talent Release Forms and Entertainment Law

If I shoot a video with someone in it, do I need to get a talent release form? When it comes to Entertainment Law, this is a question commonly asked at the Yau Law Firm. The answer to this question depends on what the video is for.

For one, it is important to know that Florida has a statute that prohibits the use of someone’s image or likeness without consent. But, this law is specific only to commercial use of that person’s image or likeness. This is true whether the person in your video or photograph is famous or not. There are, of course, exceptions to this statute. For example, authorization is not needed if the photograph, video, or literary work, which contains someone’s image or likeness, has a legitimate public interest AND it is not used for a commercial purpose. In this regard, think of news articles.

But, the issue really boils down to whether the image or likeness is used for a commercial purpose. This question alone has courts all over the United States tangled up.

In Lane v. MRA, the United States District Court in Orlando, Florida had to decide whether the Defendants (comprised of two individuals and two companies) commercially exploited Lane’s image in a Girls Gone Wild video. In this case, two of the Defendants requested Lane and her friend to expose themselves on camera. Believing that the video was for the Defendants’ personal use, Lane and her friend revealed private parts on-camera. Nonetheless, when Lane saw herself on Girls Gone Wild and other videos, Lane sued and argued that her permission to use her image was not for commercial exploitation. But, the Court found that Lane’s image was actually not used to directly promote a product or service. The Court held that the Girls Gone Wild video was an expressive work created solely for entertainment purposes.

Entertainment law can be tricky, particularly when it requires you to decide whether the law applies to you. Call us today to find out how we can protect your work and business!

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