Greetings! I am a videographer and have a large number of potential clients who are interested in purchasing video footage of a tour of several city street locations. The footage moves through the city and by its very nature captures THOUSANDS of people in public. They are of course incidentally in the shots of the city, but is this going to create a legal issue since there is no way of getting each person to sign a model release form? They are not the subject of the video, but what can I do to ensure someone not suing me for having them appear in the crowd somewhere? I can offer to blur out the face if someone requests it, but have no way to do that on thousands of people ahead of time. Any ideas on how to cover myself, or is my concern not warranted?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Generally speaking, the legal system in the Unites States is such that anyone can sue for any reason. Therefore you cannot prevent someone from suing you. However you may have a defense in the event someone does sue you. The laws on misappropriating a likeness or violating a right of publicity vary from state to state. Generally, if a person is not readily identifiable in the crowd then you may have a good defense to such claims.
If this is a commercial endeavor I do recommend that you retain an attorney to chaperone you through it.
Feel free to contact my office at your earliest convenience.
Roman R. Fichman, Esq.
www.TheLegalist.com │ @TheLegalist
email: Info (@) TheLegalist (dot) com
t e l : 2 1 2 -- 3 3 7 -- 9 8 3 7
Disclaimer: This post has been written for educational purposes only and was not meant to be legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice or be relied upon. No intention exists to create an attorney-client relationship or any other special relationship or privilege through this post. The post may contain errors, inaccuracies and/or omissions. You should always consult an attorney admitted to practice in your jurisdiction for specific advice. This post may be deemed as Attorney Advertising.