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If you intend to carry out filming, whether for promotional or marketing purposes or in the hope of becoming the next Spielberg, you may need permission to do so. Generally, if you are filming home videos at your local park or another public place, you will not need permission from authorities to film on location. However, the perfect locations are not always public. For example, you will need permission to shoot from privately owned premises before you start filming. You can do this via a location permission agreement. This article sets out what terms you should include in your location permission agreement. 

Consent

Firstly, your location permission agreement will need to set out details of what you intend to do, including:

  • the anticipated dates and times of filming;
  • whether you will be bringing in any additional props or equipment or if you intend to use what is already at your shooting location; 
  • how many people will be present during the filming (as this may cause business disruption); and 
  • if you require anything specific from the location provider, such as access to certain areas or individuals.

You will need to define the scope of the consent from the location provider and ensure you stick to what is agreed. As you will be entering and filming on a private property that does not belong to you or your business, you should make sure that you enter your location permission agreement with the correct person or entity. The agreement should clarify that the location provider is the property owner or has the relevant rights to the property and that they have the right to grant you access and the relevant consent for filming. 

You may also need to obtain consent from any identifiable individuals in the film through a separate consent form or waiver. This includes models, actors or interviewees.

Access to the Location for Filming

Your location permission agreement should provide you with unrestricted access to the location at the required times and dates, including for any rehearsals or pre-filming preparations. You should also consider any appropriate health and safety issues and what happens if something goes wrong on location. You may also want to consider taking out adequate insurance coverage. 

Use of the Footage

You will need to ensure that your location permission agreement sets out exactly what you can do with the footage and that this meets your intended purpose. For example, you may need to use the footage for marketing and promotional purposes, educational purposes, or commercial exploitation. 

It may be helpful to consider the following questions:

  • When and where can I use my footage? 
  • What countries or territories can I use my footage in, and on what platforms (social media, television, etc)?
  • Are there any restrictions?
  • Will any further payments be required?

Payment

If payment is required to access and use the location, you should set out relevant payment information. For example, whether you will pay a one-off fixed fee or ongoing royalties based on whenever you use the footage or the number of views it receives. In addition, your payment terms need to cover:

  • whether you will pay a deposit;
  • acceptable payment methods;
  • how regularly the location provider will issue invoices, and;
  • when you must make payment, for example, within 14 days of the last day of filming. 

Alternatively, instead of monetary payment, you could offer the location provider a filming credit such as “Filmed with kind permission of X” as a form of free publicity. 

Intellectual Property

Protecting your intellectual property is of paramount importance. Therefore, you should ensure that your location permission agreement confirms that you own all rights, title and interest in the footage and have the right to edit, reproduce and exploit it without restriction or constraint.

Similarly, you should also consider whether you will be using other parties’ intellectual property during filming. For example, will you incorporate any audio or visual references of third party brands, such as food and beverage logos or sports equipment on your set and in your footage? If so, you need to buy the work or negotiate a license to use the creative work. In addition, if you use copyright material without the owner’s consent, you could be held liable for breaching their intellectual property rights. 

Allow for Variations

You may have to alter your filming schedule or venue as circumstances change and unexpected conditions arise. Therefore, you need to set out a procedure of how you will notify the location provider if you need to reschedule your filming to a different date or time, or in some situations, cancel the filming altogether. Your location permission agreement should also determine whether a party will need to pay any extra costs concerning any variations.

Release and Indemnity 

You should include contractual protections that protect your business. These include:

  • a limitation of liability clause that limits or excludes your liability for any fault or failure from the location provider;
  • a release from the location provider for your use of the location for filming, for example, against any loss of profit or opportunity that they allege may occur as a result of your filming; and
  • an indemnity from the location provider for any personal injury or infringement of a third party’s rights.

Further Agreements

There are many factors involved with creating a film. Your filming will likely be only one aspect of a larger arrangement with multiple parties. Consider whether you will also require other agreements, such as:

  • contributor release forms;
  • contractor agreements;
  • confidentiality agreements; and
  • service agreements.

Key Takeaways 

Having a professionally drafted location permission agreement could save you time, money and a headache in the long run. It can address the risks involved in filming at privately owned premises. Your location permission agreement can ensure your business interests are well-protected, and you can use your footage as required.

If you would like assistance preparing a location permission agreement or legal advice, contact LegalVision’s contract lawyers on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I film on private property during film production?

Your location permission agreement will need to set out details of what you intend to do. This is so you can gain the property owner’s consent.

What other agreements will I need when filming?

Consider whether you will also require contributor release forms, contractor agreements, confidentiality agreements and service agreements.

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