Consent to Photograph or Record Electronically 

(Derived from U-M Global Communications)

When filming, videotaping, audio recording, or photographing in a public space where people don't have a reasonable expectation of privacy, for example in the stadium, there is no need to seek permission to capture images for news or archival purposes. As a courtesy, when filming, videotaping, audio recording or photographing for a commercial movie, marketing materials, or photographs for sale in a public space, we recommend you let people know that they may be caught on film so they can choose to avoid the shot. This can be done with a sign or leaflet handed out.

When filming, videotaping, audio recording, or photographing individuals for marketing purposes, a documentary-style production, an interview, or a performance capture, we always should use a consent form. The consent form protects both the subject of the image/recording and the university, by spelling out the terms under which the image/recording is being taken. Signing the release ensures that the subject or “model” understands there is no monetary or other compensation coming from the university, and also that the subject or model can expect the university to use the media only in an appropriate manner.

As a rule, we don’t seek permission from faculty to film or videotape interviews, unless we are capturing a proprietary performance or patent-pending equipment. It is assumed by virtue of their employment that we can capture comments about their work. We do seek permission from students when they are interviewed.

We generally don’t need a consent form for images shot for news purposes, unless minor children who are visiting the university or participating in one of its programs are involved. In those cases, most programs (or the schools from which the children come) may already have secured permission from the parents, but we should check this in advance.

While you are free to use your own consent form, the UM-Flint Consent Form (PDF) has been approved by the General Counsel’s office and is highly recommended. PLEASE NOTE: minors need to have a parent or guardian sign the release. A photo/video release form in business card size for department use is available in pdf format here.

The Office of the General Counsel recommends completed Consent to Photograph or Film Electronically forms be maintained for whatever time period an office wishes to retain the ability to use the relevant photos in any manner. This may be done by storing the original paper copies of the forms or by scanning the original forms to store the information electronically.