In the age of digitisation and social media, personal content often gets picked up by others and shared widely on the internet. In such scenarios, it is important to protect one’s content and rights.
A Media Release form is a legal document that authorises people or organisations to use content belonging to someone else.
Through the media release form, one can give permission to individuals and organisations to use their content and in the process, often surrendering the rights to the content as well.
And the signee takes over the rights of the content, often for financial gains.
Free Sample Media Release Forms
If you are using someone else’s content, it is essential that you get a media release document signed by them. This not only protects their rights but also protects you from any legal hassles that might arise due to usage of the content.
These media release templates are very comprehensive and should cover most of your needs. They are completely free to download and are in a printable format as well.
1. General Media Release template
For beginners, or for those looking for a sample media release form, this is an excellent format. The PDF document comes in a downloadable format and contains an authorization clause. This mentions that the owner of the content authorizes a 3rd party to either photograph them or to use their content for pre-defined purposes.
If you are planning on drafting your own media release policies, then you can use this format as a building block similar to a punch list template pdf. Since this is a very basic form it is advisable that you use this content and make a comprehensive one for your needs.
2. Student Media Release template
A student media release form is used primarily by educational institutes that use their student’s content in their institutes’ literature. In such cases, they are required to take permission from all students whose content will need to be featured.
If the student is an adult, then their consent is enough. However, if the student is a minor, then the institute is required to take the parent’s consent as well. It has become a very common practice for schools and colleges to get such releases signed because they want to avoid any lawsuits from parents threatening to sue! Probably why they use these background check authorization form doc as well.
3. Social Media Release Form
More and more people are getting online and the popularity of social media platforms is off the charts! To reach a wider audience, people and brands often build a presence online. In such cases, you need to sign a Social media release form to protect your rights.
Celebrities, brands, and online personalities often get such releases signed by PR firms that handle their accounts or by brands that use their content for brand promotions.
4. Media Release form for Minors
Educational institutes, sporting associations, and advertising companies often use content that features children. Often such children are minors. In such cases, parental approval is mandatory for any minor related content to be used.
You can use this release form specifically designed to get approvals from the parents of minor children.
5. Detailed Media Release form for Students
This template is similar to template number 2 mentioned above but differs in the sense that it is more detailed than the previous one attached. In this media release template, there are two sections. One for Events and another one that is media specific.
If you need a more comprehensive release template for minors or students, then I would highly recommend this one as it captures more details.
6. Media Release Form with Waiver
A waiver is usually a document you sign giving away certain rights that belong to you. As a brand or as an individual, if you are taking part in certain events where you will get photographed or feature in videos, then you can sign a media waiver form.
It is very similar to the media release form and contains similar terms and conditions. You can use this simple waiver format as your media release form or can use this content to make one for yourself.
7. Photo Release Form
Photo release forms are usually signed when people are photographed and the photographers need to publish this content, either online or offline. However, there is a difference between a normal media release form and a photography release form.
In this release form, you are highlighting the usage of audio, video, or photography mediums to capture your content and it is limited only to these mediums.
8. Media Release form with Liability Clause
For more protection from legal hassles and lawsuits, your media release forms need to be ironclad! In such forms, mentioning your liabilities or the lack of them is very essential.
Mentioning a liabilities clause clearly indicates what responsibilities you are willing to shoulder and what issues don’t come under the purview of your content.
9. Media Release form for Companies
If you are letting a company create or use content that belongs to you then it is good to use this format as its defined to be used for organizations. The format is very simple and mentions that you are authorizing a certain company to use the content for a very specific purpose.
The best part of this document is that since it is designed with Microsoft Word, it can be edited as well! The content can be modified and you will be able to change the wordings as per your requirements. However, if you are preparing a media release form yourself, do get it vetted by legal counsel.
10. Media Release form for Non-Profit Organizations
And the last media release template in this list is a form that can be used by not for profit organizations. Nonprofit organizations often do not have the budget to purchase media rights or to risk facing lawsuits.
To protect their organizations, it is essential for such institutes to get media releases signed whenever they use someone else content.
Frequently Asked Questions
Have questions regarding Media releases? Here are some common ones with their answers.
1. What are the elements of a media release form?
Designing media releases is not a very difficult task if you know the legalities behind it. But the following are essential in making up a functional media release form.
- Contact information of all parties
- Name of the party waiving their rights
- Name of the party receiving the rights
- Details of the media, creation, distribution information, and anything other information regarding the usage
- Liability and claims information
Once you put in all this information, get the release vetted by legal counsel and it should be ready to use.
2. Why do we need to use a Media Release Form?
So why do we really need to use a media release form? Here are some of the common reasons.
- To protect your content. As a content creator, you can assign the rights of your content to specific individuals or brands for circulation. This ensures that only these entities can use your content legally and it also discourages others from misusing your content.
- To avoid lawsuits. Brands and individuals who distribute content or create content that wholly or partially belongs to others need to take permissions before using this content. If they don’t, they increase the chances of getting sued! Getting a media release form signed is one way of avoiding these issues.
- For publicity. If you have a media release form from a big celebrity or content creator, then you can leverage that to get more endorsements!
3. What happens if I don’t have such a release?
There can be serious consequences. Here is what can happen
- Reputation Loss – If you use someone’s content without their permission, then this will obviously lead to bad publicity and results in loss of reputation.
- Penalties – Unauthorized usage of other people’s content can result in big lawsuits or fines. In the absence of such a document, anyone can file cases against you.
- Cancellation of licenses – if you are a journalist and are distributing content that belongs to someone else, then your licenses can be canceled due to such malpractice!
4. When do I need to use a media release form?
Whenever you plan to create or distribute content that features or belongs to someone else, then this form needs to be used. You could be a photographer publishing people’s pictures or an educational institute using their student’s photos in their brochures. In any case, you will need a media release form to be signed.
Media release forms are simple documents that hold immense power. Everything in our physical and online world revolves around content. And this content is often sourced from others. Nowadays, a lot of us get photographed or appear in videos, whether intentionally on unintentionally.
In many cases, people don’t want to be seen in such content and they initiate legal proceedings against the creator or distributor of the content. If you want to avoid landing in legal issues, it is always advisable to get such a release signed by the parties involved in the content. Also, before you go, you might want to check out these background check authorization form template.