Legal Glossary



Contests and sweepstakes: Online competitions and giveaways are geared toward increasing the followers as well as the interaction on social media channels. Sweepstakes are promotions in which a prize is awarded on the basis of chance rather than skill. Sweepstakes typically involves a random drawing, and the winner is selected by chance. Contests are competitions whereby contestants enter and a prize is awarded on the basis of those contestants displaying some form of skill.

Copyright: Copyright is a stamp of creative ownership. It can pertain to drawings, choreography, film clips or television shows, photographs, posters, sculptures, letters, quotes from books and poems, newspaper articles, magazine and newspaper covers, fashion items, makeup and music. It does not pertain to ideas, facts, titles, short phrases, work in the public domain (generally writings, artwork and photographs created before 1923), unoriginal works and works authored by the U.S. government.

Defamation is the publication of a false statement that seriously harms someone’s reputation. This occurs when someone makes a statement of fact which injures the reputation of a living and identifiable individual. The statement is substantially false, is published with no care for its truth and is not privileged. Statements from government and court documents can’t be libelous.

Releases and licenses: Releases and licenses are signed by all individuals and parties with whom the company engages in any on-air phase of our productions; they grant the company the right to use the likeness, voice, personal identification, experiences, actions, events or works of the individual(s) in question. Releases usually involve no remuneration while licenses often do. Releases and licenses are needed any time an interview or feature an individual on camera, use original music works for on-air productions and/or film in a specific location or a public place.

Appearance release: Grants the right to the agency and the client (under the banner of the producer) to use individuals in productions; it also releases the agency and client from any liability for all possible claims.

Shooting/Audience release:
Used when shooting in locations with large crowds in order to adequately warn and obtain permission via clear visible signage. Signs should state: Cameras are taping in the area, and those who remain in the area consent to being recorded and to their image being aired by [name]; by remaining in the area participants confirm they are 18 or older or that they have parental consent to be there.
Location release: An agreement entered into with the property owner acknowledging the owner’s consent to having people and equipment enter, occupy and use the premises to film, tape, photograph and reproduce identifiable characteristics of the location. It should contain a force majeure provision that can be triggered in the event of bad weather and should also contain a release of liability.

Acquired materials release (music release): Grants the right to the agency and client (under the banner of the producer) to use preexisting musical works in the production. The release should be signed by the person or entity that owns the rights to the music, those being the performing and publishing rights.

Synchronization licenses and master use licenses: If music you wish to use is owned by record labels that make their living off royalties, you cannot have the owners of the works sign an acquired materials release; you will need to explore a license. A synchronization license is obtained from the writer, publisher and or the publisher’s agent and a master-use license is obtained from the record label. The bigger the artist, the more likely you will be required to use these types of licenses.

Right of publicity: An individual’s right to protect the use of his/her identity (name, photograph, likeness, signature) from unauthorized use. A breach of the right of publicity is the use of a person’s identity (name, photograph, likeness, signature) for commercial purposes without his/her consent.

Trademarks use: A trademark (“TM”) is a word, name, symbol, logo, slogan, catch phrase, device or any combination of these used to identify the source of the goods and services. Trademark infringement is the use of someone else’s trademark without permission.

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