Professional Speaker Demo Videos Copyright and Permission Use

file0001646331361Any video recording–including professional speaker demo videos–must maintain integrity on all video footage, music and other prerecorded media that is used to create the demo to avoid copyright infringement. This now includes audience faces as well as music, pictures and video footage.

For the record, I am not a lawyer and my motto when producing demo videos is “when in doubt, leave it out.” In the following post I will share my experience with copyright permissions and video production integrity.

When Primeau Productions produces a demo or promo video, most people know you cannot use a copyrighted song or picture downloaded from the Internet. I know from experience not to take chances using anything that you do not have permission to use and that is not licensed in your demo or promo video.

The above facts and observations are now trumped with another copyright issue that was not an issue until recently: the faces of your audience members.

For years we always used client approved audience shots in our professional speaker demo videos.  Today however, we are more careful than ever before because we have become a litigious society.

I was recently contacted by National Speakers Association member Jolene Brown, CSP for my opinion on video recording a live event and including her client audience in the product videos. Her video supplier in Iowa, Andy Small, had reservations and did not want to film the audience faces. Great job, Andy– professionals must always use caution when recording people without their permission. Audience shots have been a huge dilemma over the years and here is what resulted from our conversations.

I started by sharing with Jolene what Primeau Productions does when filming rock concerts.  We obviously cannot get individual releases from everyone in the audience (sometimes 30,000 people), so we post signs in the lobby and halls:

“This program is being video recorded”

Our clients’ corporate attorneys have told us this posting of signs is good enough to avoid lawsuits from people in the audience being video recorded when the venue is large. I thought this would be a good idea for Jolene.

Some other options I recommended include:

  • Including a statement with the registration material that says….”(Presenter’s Name) session will be videorecorded. A free DVD copy will be sent to the first (25) individuals that register!” (number of free DVDs can be smaller or larger, depending on the expected number of registrants).
  • Posting of signs (“This program is being video recorded”)
  • One near registration, one by each entrance to the room where the presentation is being held and one in the room. Each camera will also “record” the sign as part of the footage.
  • Setting aside an area of the room in case individuals do not want to be recorded, and making sure the videographer is aware.
  • Be sure any “too personal” stories that might be shared during interaction are edited out.
  • Offer the videographer a “be held harmless” clause in your contract or agreement to video record.

I am interested to hear from you about how you address your audience images in your video recordings.  Face it, having audience shots in speaker demo videos is a nice compliment to your live speaking footage. 

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