Release Form: What Is It? What's Their Purpose? (2023)

What is a Release Form?

A release form, or general release form, is a legal document that serves as consent in writing to release the legal liability of a releasee by a releasor. The document is a formal acknowledgment that, once signed, is a legal release of all a releasee obligations within an agreement.

What is a Release Form Used For?

Release forms are most used in the film, photography, documentary, music, and radio industries to ensure that any content captured by an entity is owned by them and not by the subjects that work with them on the project.

Release forms are important because they help avoid legal roadblocks that can make it possible for subjects to withdraw their consent to use footage, photos, or audio after the product is finished.

Without a release form, for example, an actor in a film could later request that film production staff remove certain parts of a movie that reflects actors in a bad light or no longer serves their purposes. Photographers could be obligated to remove photographs from their portfolios or websites. Radio and music producers might be forced to delete any audio that contains the voice of a party who withdraws their consent to use the product.

Workers in these industries work hard to achieve their finished products. If a subject decides to later rescind their consent for the entities to use publicly, it could be detrimental. Films could be missing entire scenes that are crucial to the storyline, or songs could have to delete entire verses that are crucial to the completeness of the songs.

When a release form is signed, these finished products are protected against the agreement changing in the future. It is one of the many reasons why we can enjoy unedited cuts of movies, and extended cuts of songs, as well.

From a legal standpoint, it's essential for creators to enforce release forms any time they work with a third party to complete the project. This is because if someone requests that their likeness, footage, or voice be removed from a project, and the creator declines, it can spell trouble for them unless a release form was signed.

Release forms tell judges that any content captured was consensual and that subjects understood that when they took on the project, they would be signing their rights away to the finished product. This way, if any legal disputes come up later, creators are protected from needing to alter their work at the request of a disgruntled client.

Release forms are also helpful in ensuring that if a creator wishes to obtain a copyright on a piece, that there are no legal roadblocks in their way to do so. These release forms provide a clear chain of title if the content needs to be used in later advertising, broadcasts, or any other channels.

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Check out this article to learn more about what release forms are used for.

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Types of Release Forms

Release forms are vital to releasing the rights to a product by a releasor. There are many specific types of release forms that are appropriate for each industry in which they are used.

Here are a few examples of commonly used release forms used today:

Photography Release Forms

Photography release forms are used by individuals and photography businesses to protect their rights to use any photographs captured while working with a client. They ensure that the business can use any photographs captured for certain purposes.

For example, there might be a contract clause in a photography release contract that entails that if photography is used for commercial purposes, the model must be credited. On the other hand, some release forms might indicate that no credit is needed, regardless of how the photo is intended to be used.

The terms of photography release forms are agreed upon before any photos are used for any non-personal purpose. Both parties must sign the document before any moves can be made to use images this way.

Learn more about photography contracts .

Model Release Forms

Model release forms exist between a photographer and a model. They are typically used to outline the rights of a photographer to sell the image to third parties, such as to be used in a magazine or for an advertisement or book cover. In this case, the model release form would indicate that the photographer has the right to sell their work to a third party for personal financial gain.

These types of release forms also include details about whether crediting the model is required when licensing the photo to third parties.

Property Release Forms

Property release forms deal with using images or videos of another person’s personal property. You might be surprised to know that if a filmmaker takes a video of your dog or house, you must sign a release form for the filmmaker to use the footage for commercial services. This applies to any type of personal property and is vital to avoid legal complaints against the filmmaker or any other entity.

Here is an article about the types of release forms.

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How Do You Write a Release Form?

The best way to construct a release form is to get the help of a lawyer. Since these forms are important legal documents, it’s never a bad idea to consult a professional to help you through the process.

If you’d prefer to DIY the project, it’s not an impossible feat. You can do a quick internet search online to find pre-loaded release form templates for just about anything you’ll need them for. This is the easiest way to get a release form document without consulting a lawyer.

In the next section, we’ll talk about which terms you should make sure are included in your release form.

To learn more about how to write a release form, check out this article .

Most Important Terms in a Release Form

If you want a successful release form in your business, you need to make sure it includes vital terms that will make it legally enforceable in court if a legal battle arises. Luckily, the terms of most release forms are very simple and don’t have a laundry list of information that needs to be included.

Here is the complete guide to the most important terms in a release form that you should know:

  • Names of releasor and releasee
  • Details about the project being produced
  • Information about what permissions are granted
  • Special considerations, such as crediting requirements or payment obligations
  • Spaces for signatures of all parties

Learn more about the most important terms in any release form by checking out this article .

Who Needs a Release Form?

Anyone creator that works with people to capture images, video, audio, or likenesses needs a release form for every project they do. These forms are vital to protect against legal repercussions and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Since customer relationships are vital to a business’s image, being transparent goes a long way when it comes to reputation.

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If you need help with release forms, lawyers can help. Recruiting the assistance of a trained professional ensures that you don’t miss any major release form components and is a great practice to protecting your business from legal disputes.

Post a project on ContractsCounsel today to connect with lawyers for musicians, filmmakers, photographers, radio producers, and many other industry professionals today.


What is the purpose of a release document? ›

A release form, or general release form, is a legal document that serves as consent in writing to release the legal liability of a releasee by a releasor. The document is a formal acknowledgment that, once signed, is a legal release of all a releasee obligations within an agreement.

What is the purpose of the site release form? ›

A location release form (also known as a location release agreement) is a document giving you written permission to film at a location from the location's owner.

What is a letter of release? ›

A release letter is typically given by a lender to a borrower after repayment of the borrower's outstanding loans to the lender under a secured loan agreement. This Standard Document has integrated notes with important explanations and drafting and negotiating tips.

What is a client release form? ›

A Client Release Form for Hair Services is a document that is provided to the client which releases the salon or the hairstylist for any liabilities in regards to the result of the service. This document is important because it will protect the salon company and the hairstylist for legal matters if needed.

What information is included on the release form? ›

A description of the information that will be used/disclosed. The purpose for which the information will be disclosed. The name of the person or entity to whom the information will be disclosed. An expiration date or expiration event when consent to use/disclose the information is withdrawn.

What does it mean to request a release? ›

Release Request means a written request, substantially in the form of Exhibit M to the Agreement, to obtain a release of Collateral from the Collateral Pool pursuant to Section 3.04(a). Sample 1Sample 2Sample 3. Based on 20 documents. 20. Release Request has the meaning set forth in the Custodial Agreement.

Is a release form a contract? ›

A release is essentially a contract that attempts to excuse a business, for injuries to a person that arise out of the foreseeable and unenforceable risks in an activity. In order to make sure your business is legally protected, you'll need a well-drafted document.

What is a public release form? ›

Updated July 11, 2022. A Media Release Form or a Media Consent Release, is a legally binding document that grants authorization for a party to produce, reproduce (or reuse), edit videos, take pictures, print, and record sound of an individual.

What is the purpose of agreements release and consent forms? ›

Consent forms, sometimes called release forms, are legal documents that serve as written permission to send or receive information among participating parties. They often inform them of associated use risks and release the provider from associated claims.

What is a personal release form? ›

A Personal Release form is a document that gives you, the filmmaker, the rights to film another person for your project and then to use that footage in your film.

What is a release legal document? ›

A legal release is a legal instrument that acts to terminate any legal liability between the releasor and the releasee(s), signed by the releasor. A release may also be made orally in some circumstances.

Is release letter necessary? ›

A relieving letter is important because it releases the employee from their responsibility to the company and acknowledges their intent to leave. Having written documentation of a company's acceptance of an employee's resignation can be important if either party needs to reference the paperwork later.

What is a release agreement? ›

A release is an agreement not to sue; it waives your right to sue and company and "releases" your employer from legal liability for claims you may have against it. A release may be as broad or as narrow as the parties agree to make it.

What is a personal release agreement? ›

A personal release form is a binding contract between the production company and the subject(s) of the photograph. By signing the release, the subject of the photograph forgoes the right to sue for specific types of claims.

What is the difference between a release form and a consent form? ›

To put it simply, an interview consent form states the interviewee understands their words will be used in publications, while a video release form seeks permission from the subject to use their image, audio, and dialogue in publications.

How do release of information work? ›

The ROI form gives the healthcare organization — like a hospital — the authority to release a specific portion of your medical record. When the healthcare organization receives the ROI request, the ROI department immediately records it. They also check whether or not the authorization is valid.

What makes a release of information valid? ›

The core elements of a valid authorization include: A meaningful description of the information to be disclosed. The name of the individual or the name of the person authorized to make the requested disclosure. The name or other identification of the recipient of the information.

Who benefits from a release clause? ›

Who does release clause benefit? The purpose of a release clause is to limit risk assumptions on behalf of contract parties. However, these protections generally extend to one party and not the other.

Who pays a release clause? ›

A release clause is a set fee that a buying club can pay a selling club in order to contractually oblige them to offload a player or a coach. The fee is set while the contract is signed which can be revised at a later date upon the consent of both club and player/coach.

When should a client release form be signed? ›

The form must be signed before any injury occurs to be enforceable.

Is a release form the same as a waiver? ›

The main difference between releases and waivers is the transferring of ownership. When rights are released, they are transferred to another party. When rights are waived, they are gone altogether.

Can a release be signed by one party? ›

Basically, by signing a release one party agrees to give up or waive the right to pursue a claim against the second party in exchange for some benefit provided by the second party – usually (not always) the payment of money.

What is a release form for a settlement? ›

A Release of Liability is an agreement in which one party waives their right to make a legal claim against another party in the event of a dispute.

What does a release mean in law? ›

release. 1) v. to give up a right as releasing one from his/her obligation to perform under a contract, or to relinquish a right to an interest in real property. 2) v. to give freedom, as letting out of prison.

What is required for a release to be enforceable? ›

For a release clause to be enforceable, the customer must be fully aware of the waived rights. This means that the release clause must be expressed to the customer, and the customer must know what they are signing off on.

What documents do I need to collect after resignation? ›

Ask for atleast the following documents:
  • Relieving Letter - This document proves that you have been relieved from all responsibilities and dont owe the company anything.
  • Experiece Letter -
  • Salary Slips - Atleast for the last 3-6 months. This serves as the proof of salary.

How do I request a full and final settlement? ›

If your employer does not arrange for a full and final settlement of your salary, you should request this by writing to the HR of the company through an Email or by postal letter.

What happens if you don't serve notice period? ›

If you don't serve the Notice period than your employer have all the rights reserved to deduct your salary. But it doesn't sound practical that your employer will go up to that extend where he will be ready to fight a long court case which is a very time taken & costly way, just to take your 1 months salary.

What is the difference between release and termination? ›

Terminating is when one party declares the contract is at an end. Releasing the contract means both parties agree that it's over.

Should a release be signed by both parties? ›

The party that agrees to waive future claims is known as the releasor. The agreement is usually drawn up by the releasee, and both parties sign and date the document.

Is a release statement a legally binding contract? ›

Yes, Release of Liability forms can be legally enforceable when executed properly. However, release forms are not guaranteed to be valid and enforceable for every situation.

What is a release in property law? ›

A Deed of Release is a legal document which removes a previous claim on an asset. You typically come across one in the conveyancing area when your mortgage lender transfers the title of your property to you once you've fully redeemed your mortgage.

Do you need a location release form? ›

Why do you need a location release form? Because you are legally required to get the owner's permission to film in a location. Doing otherwise could result in a lawsuit.

What is a location release form? ›

Location releases

Having permission to film at a particular location also requires a release form. This goes for everywhere from public areas to private land and buildings. A signed location release shows that you're allowed to be where you are and that the location can be featured in a finished video.

What is a talent release form? ›

A talent release form is a simple legal document that is designed to prevent you from getting sued for the unauthorized use of someone's image or voice. A talent release may be part of a more comprehensive contract, or it may be a separate document.

What is an interview release form? ›

The interview release form is a document that is used for the purpose of obtaining permission from a person or persons who would be interviewed for subjects that would be used for public consumption.

What should a legal release contain? ›

Generally a release is of the form: For good and valuable consideration, the receipt of which is hereby acknowledged, I, the releasor, release the releasee for any and all claims I may have against the releasee up to the date of the signing of this release [relating to or arising from _____________].

Who signs a location release form? ›

Film location release form

If your friend owns the house, you only need their permission to film there. However if they are renting, you should get both your friend's permission, as the occupier, and the permission of the owner as well.

How do I fill out a location release form? ›

There are five main points every location release form must have:
  1. The time of the shoot.
  2. The specific location of the shoot.
  3. Compensation for the property owner.
  4. Restrictions set by the owner.
  5. Signatures from the producer and the property owner agreeing to those terms.

What is a release in a legal document? ›

A contract release is an agreement in which one party agrees it has no claims against the party that's named in the release. A release is commonly known as a release of liability or any of the following: Release agreement. Release form. Liability waiver.

What is a release in civil law? ›

'” That is, a release is essentially equivalent to an individual waiving their right to sue for potential injury. The justification for release is that one party received consideration in exchange for their relinquishment of their right.

What is a release in HR? ›

If you are fired or laid off, your employer may ask you to sign a release: a contract in which you agree to waive (give up) your right to sue the company in exchange for some benefit, typically severance pay.

Do you need a release form for interviews? ›

It's wise to obtain a signed release if the interview is lengthy, will be reprinted verbatim (for example, in a question and answer format), or if the subject matter of the interview is controversial.

What is a full release statement? ›

Full Release means a general waiver and release of claims against the Company (which shall except out rights of indemnification, rights to directors and officers liability insurance coverage, and any amounts that may be due under this Agreement).


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