If I’m making a commercial video in a bar, do I need to obtain written consent from the patrons?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If I’m making a commercial video in a bar, do I need to obtain written consent from the patrons?

I’m a videographer making a music video for a local artist. He is not attached to a label but I am getting paid. We’re shooting in a bar, and the owner is very on board with the idea of free advertisement. The thing is We don’t want to go through the mess and the owner doesn’t want to go through the potential stifling of business of getting every person in the bar to sign a release form.

My question is this Is there a way around this? The bar is a private space and we would be in a room separated from the entrance.

I’ve seen instances of people hanging signs that say ‘By entering these premises you agree to be filmed for so and so production which is to be distributed on so and so platform.’ Does that hold any legal ground?

Asked on January 26, 2017 under Business Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the type of signage you discuss would be effective, since by entering after notice of the filming, people would be deemed to have given their consent to be filmed. The act of entering after being told of the consequences of doing so signals consent. The signage should be *very* prominent and should be placed in several locations; take photos of the signage, so you can prove its existence, location, how noticeable, etc. it was later, if you need to; if in a multi-lingual area, put out signs in all languages used with any frequency there (e.g. Spanish would be good idea in many urban areas).

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