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One of the benefits of hiring a production company is that they are experienced at all of the legal aspects of making a video. This means you can sit back, relax and focus on other projects whilst they take care of everything.

Here is the Smarter Video guide to the legal aspects that regularly crop up when you a re making a video.

Simpsons - but you can't copyright a drinkCopyright

For a full explanation on copyright check out the blog on the subject but, in basic terms. Whoever made the video owns it. This means if you hired a video production company or freelancer to make your video they own the copyright.

Usually they give you the copyright as part of the initial contract but it is always worth checking.


To film in any private location (an office, a shop, a cafe/restaurant, a museum – anywhere) you need permission. This will need to come from the owner of that location. One thing that you should always remember is that often buildings and spaces are rented so, although a business might have control of their area of the building any public areas may need permission from the landlord.

Blackadder - Permission to shout Release forms

Release forms is the term used to describe the proof of permission to use any footage you have filmed of a location, an actor or anyone that appears on-camera or a work of art.

This is different from permission as there are places and situations where you are allowed to film without permission but, especially for commercial purposes a release needs to be signed.

Release forms often dictate usage i.e. a release might allow to use an actors image to promote the video or in the film for a year but not after. Alternatively you may have a release allowing you to show a work of art in your video but only if that video is used internally.


These are designed to protect the rights of creatives that have made something that you want to use in your video e.g. stock music, footage, images or graphics. Just like release forms licenses are different for varied uses i.e. a license to use music on your video might state that it can only be used online. In this instance you would have to buy a separate license if you wanted to broadcast your video on TV.

Man dancing on ladderPublic liability and risk assessment

Although not necessarily a legal issue many locations that you might film require you to have done a full risk assessment for the filming and to have public liability insurance sufficient to protect both yourself and the location from damage.

Smarter Video

At Smarter Video we consider all the legal aspects of creating video to make sure that you can use your video for the purpose you want it without confusion or any nasty surprises.

For more information about Smarter Video take a look here.

Please get in touch and let me know what you would like to learn or read about.

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