Authorization and Release
Authorization and Release
The folks that join us for worship come from many walks of life and have a wide variety of life experiences. Many individuals who participate in the life of the church see the church as a safe, sacred place. While it is advantageous for a faith community to broaden its reach digitally, a few considerations must be noted before clicking the stream button and raising the faders.
Right of Publicity
Law dictates that every person has the right to control the commercial use of their identity. This includes a person's name, image, and likeness. This is called Personality Rights, or the right of publicity. Legally, most jurisdictions consider a church service to be a public space for the purposes of photography and recording, meaning that participants do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy. However, know that jurisdictions generally allow people to object to the use of their image or voice for the purpose of promotion.
Even if a faith community faces no possibility of legal liability, many communities of faith will morally respect the privacy of those who wish to remain off camera. This is especially true of foster children or those who are victims of domestic abuse.
Two Forms of Release
There are two types of authorization or release -- active and passive. Active release includes the distribution of "Authorization and Release" forms to all whose likeness will be recorded, photographed or livestreamed. If the person is a minor, then the consent is given by a parent or legal guardian signing on behalf of their children.
Passive consent (also called a crowd release) isn’t as legally concrete as signed permission but gives notice of your intent and gives options to those who wish to remain off-camera. While it does not require distributing waivers to each and every person who enters the building, it includes posting the following message at each entrance of nave of the church or entrance to your event. Passive release should be sufficient during a concert or worship service.
Portions of this worship service or event are made available digitally for those who cannot attend in person and footage from this worship service or event may be used in marketing materials for our community. If you do not wish to have your likeness recorded, streamed, or photographed please inform an usher who can seat you appropriately.
It is also recommended that the same message is displayed prominently in your worship guides. If worship guides are not used, then the message can be projected.
Whether you use passive or active consent -- or a combination of the two -- a section should be set aside for attendees who wish to remain off camera.
Children and Livestreaming
It is highly recommended that the likeness of children should not be livestreamed. This is especially true of foster children. If children are seated in the congregation, be sure that your production staff keeps camera angles tight so as not to show the children on camera. If children have leadership roles or are part of an ensemble, then their parents should be notified of the church's intent, and they should give active consent by signing an authorization and release.