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    Jul 2016
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Feeley View Post
    Perhaps the odds are you won't get sued. But if I learned that someone had filmed my dad while he was visiting a senior center, I'd probably have a lawyer send the filmmaker a nastygram. Also: did you get a location release? And when it comes time to get E&O insurance, not having releases in order to the satisfaction of the E&O insurer could make it hard to get your film shown.

    Does your lawyer deal with documentary filmmakers & rights clearances? It's a pretty narrow and arcane field. But such a lawyer will be familiar with, say, any precedent set by Titicut Follies (I don't know offhand if anything from that case still applies) affects what sorts of releases you need. You might be able to track down such a person, and get a low-cost or even free consultation form your local Lawyers for the Arts group or a University-affiliated legal clinic. For example:

    California Lawyers for the Arts (one of several in this state, btw):

    A list of a bunch of such groups around the US that may have useful links:

    University of California, Irvine Intellectual Property, Arts, and Technology Clinic

    Following someone with a mental disorder as they work to make their way in the world could make for a great film. But it seems, as Mitch suggests, to present even more legal issues than other documentaries. Hope it all works out!
    I'm actually being hired by another business to film for this documentary so I don't think I would need the E&O Insurance but my business would.

    Why would someone else have a lawyer send a nasty letter when that other person signed off on it? If sad person was competent to sign for themselves a letter from someone else in the family would not do any justice because other person was capable of signing a release. Also, Other people took photos and plastered them all over facebook and none of them got releases. I'm the only one that did.

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    Senior Member El Gato Negro's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Rule of thumb. Have everyone sign regardless.
    Indie Film Producer
    Film Funding Blog

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    Senior Member BrianMurphy's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa
    Everyone has a right to privacy and especially if they are ill and unable to act on their own behalf. If I were to see someone close to me in a doc that I or they were not aware or had not agreed to appear in....there would be hell to pay. And the first hell would be a call to the film maker and the second to a lawyer. Compassion, sensitivity and respect are all very much a part of a good doc. IMHO.
    Brian Murphy
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    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    May 2009
    Lowestoft - UK
    What if your product shows them, the centre or the staff in a possible bad light? The old folk, or their legal guardian/representative could sue you I'd have thought. It's common here in the UK to blur out faces of anyone who has not signed the release, or anyone who they suspect is not capable of giving permission. I cannot see how you can release a commercial product that will generate income without morally paying a fee to the participants. You are using them as a commodity, and when you described them as not being 'talent', that shows a lack of understanding . Would the test be to see if you exploited them? Probably not - but who's call is that?

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