How do you protect yourself when recording events?

When I saw her title, “Sued in Six Seconds: Avoiding the Entanglements of Twitter’s Vine,it certainly got my attention.  I reached out to columnist and new media attorney Kerry Gorgone, to ask her a few additional questions since I was planning to have our upcoming event “Make Your Blog Blossom: Tips on Research and Audience-Building at @EdgarDC recorded on video.

I asked her the following questions:

* I will be video-recording my tweet-up events. What measures should I take to protect myself when covering my own events?

Kerry Gorgone:  Inform attendees that you’ll be recording, and that if they stay, they are consenting to have their likeness, image, and voice recorded, edited, and used by you during and after the event.  Ideally, you’d post signage to that effect, and hand printouts with this same information to each attendee as they enter.  It’s easier than getting a signed release from everyone, and it would be difficult for them to argue later that they weren’t aware of the recording and would not have consented.  Once they know you’ll be recording, they can choose to stay and consent or leave the premises (and watch the recording later instead). 🙂

* When interviewing and featuring guests at an event, do you need a signed agreement for them to appear on your video?

Kerry:  Yes, whenever you record a speaker or an interviewee, you should have him or her sign a written release, consent to being recorded and giving you broad rights to edit and use the footage.  Having the agreement written will protect both parties:  everyone will be clear on what’s being captured and how it could be used.  For your part, word the release as broadly as possible, and don’t limit yourself to just your own blog, in case something you post should get picked up by other sites.

* What about Google chats, do you need signed consent?

Kerry:  Inform attendees that the chat will be recorded, and be sure to repeat this throughout in case people join in who haven’t seen it. It would be helpful if a welcome message included this information, along with two options: proceed to chat or close the window if you don’t want to be recorded. If the chat is actually an interview that you plan to use later, get a written, signed release before the chat, or at least before using the recorded material.

The tricky part is that you could be sued whether or not you’re using the recorded material for profit.  Depending on the state you’re in, recording without consent could violate privacy or publicity rights, so take measures to ensure that everyone involved has consented!

What other questions would you like to ask Kerry?   Please feel free to leave your question comment section below.

Loading Facebook Comments ...

8 Replies to “How do you protect yourself when recording events?

  1. Great Blog Post!

    I never thought about this, I recently bought a camera and have thought about recording events for some time.

    Ann, are you suggesting that we get releases from everyone in attendance including the venue?


  2. Good reminders Ann.

    I photographed & videoed nearly 100 people one year for website content. Each person signed an agreement giving us permission to use the content “in any place and way that would benefit the organization.” I paid each person a Sacagawea golden dollar. No one ever argued about our purpose or use. They were more interested in the coin.

    1. Hi Misty,

      Next week is the big #SMWWDC event in Washington, DC. Looking forward to meeting new friends and catching up with our regular supporters. Hope to see you in DC soon!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *