July 16, 2008
Why Borat Release Agreement is Niiice!
We've mentioned the "Borat" release on these pages before. Kent Raygor and Bardia Bakhtari have a fairly detailed discussion of the terms of the release in today's NYLJ in an article titled "Great Success! 'Borat's' Release Agreement Averts Liability." They write that other filmmakers would be wise to model their own release agreements on Borat's. Here's an excerpt from the article:
The Release Agreement contains a clause acknowledging that the participant agrees to be filmed for a "documentary-style film." This creates defenses that filmmakers can later use to defend against a claim for invasion of privacy by appropriation. By using the phrase "documentary-style film" or something similar, filmmakers can help preempt an allegation that the participant was unaware he or she was being filmed for a comedic mockumentary as opposed to a documentary, and avoids committing the filmmaker to a specific genre of film. In drafting such a clause, a filmmaker should also include language where the participant acknowledges that his or her participation will be part of a larger work, which could be edited in such a way that the participant appears in contexts or places different than those he or she might presently contemplate. Doing so will further prevent the participant from later claiming he or she was unfairly surprised by the final product.
Read the article for more analysis on such topics as why choice of New York law was wise, and why contract length matters.
[Meredith R. Miller]
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