Social Media Release Forms: Do You Need One? Your Ultimate Guide with Answers, Checklist, and Template Included

Pooja Batra
Last Updated:

18 Sep 2023

Published On:

25 Aug 2023

min read

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Are you collaborating with an Influencer or a Content Creator to promote your product? Yes, then you need to get the Template for Social Media Release Form signed each time you use another individual’s photograph, video footage, name on your social media channel.  


If you are taking a photograph or recording a video of any individual including a public figure, you need to obtain consent of such individual before you can use it for commercial purposes. 


Don’t let the legal jargon scare you! This is a simple template that grants the right to you to use the name, photograph, video of an individual in any website, brochure, newsletter, website and social media. Download DocPro's ready to use template for Media Release Form.


1. What is a Social Media Release Form?


A Social Media Release Form grants you permission to use the photo and/or video footage of another person on your social media without consideration/payment. Hence, you can:


  • edit, enhance, crop, alter, modify, amend, copy, or otherwise make use of the photo and/or video in any manner as desired by the publisher, without any consideration or other payment.
  • Publish the Media without any prior approval 

In certain countries like the USA, the right of publicity is recognised as a crucial part of intellectual property law that protects unauthorized use of an individual’s name, likeness or other distinctive attributes like nicknames, pseudonyms, voices, signatures, likenesses, or photographs for commercial purposes. To delve further into this concept, refer to the International Trademark Association's comprehensive discussion on the right of publicity. 


In the UK, there is no specific right to publicity under English law, but a patchwork of legal rights can be used to protect a person's image and personality.

2. Is a Social Media Release Form Template Necessary for You? 


Use the checklist below to understand whether you need a Social Media Release Form template:

  • Are you an Influencer or Content Creator who features other individuals' photographs on your social media?
  • Are you recording video or taking pictures of individuals and publishing them? 
  • Do you incorporate video footage in your content that includes recognizable faces or distinct attributes of individuals?
  • Are you using names, likenesses, or any identifying features of others in your content?

If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, you must download the Media Release because you need the permission before publishing a video or photo of the participant.


I write blogs to explain complex legal concepts to entrepreneurs as part of my profession. In these blogs, if I decide to include a photograph of my friend that I captured myself, and I intend to use it in a blog post, I would need explicit permission – usually in the form of a signature on a Media Release Form – before I proceed to publish it on my blog to ensure legal compliance 


Ready to Safeguard Your Content in 2023? Start Using Social Media Release Forms Today!


3. What is the purpose of Social Media Release Forms?


Social media release forms, as outlined by Paula Richardson, the Founder of GDPR - Advisor, serve the purpose of safeguarding both parties involved from potential legal complications that could emerge when utilizing media content on social media platforms. Richardson clarifies that by affixing their signature to a social media release form, the individual granting permission (releasor) relinquishes their right to initiate legal action or seek compensation from the recipient of said permission (releasee) for any potential harm or losses arising from the utilization of the media content.


4. What information do you need to provide in the Social Media Release Form?


This a simple form requiring you to provide:

  • Participant name and address
  • Releasee / Media Publisher’s name
  • Releasee / Media Publisher’s email address
  • Signature of the Participant


5. Who is the Releasor and the Releasee in the Social Media Release Form?


  • Releasor: This is the person who gives the permission to use their images, vide, name etc for promotion marketing and information sharing purposes. 


  • Releasee: This person is authorized to use those images, media or name for the agreed purpose.


6. What are the benefits of Social Media Release Form?


Natalia Morozova, Managing Partner at Cohen, Tucker & Ades, P.C. explains the importance of social media releases when partnering with influencers to enhance the growth of your brand. It ensures that guidelines and conditions, such as which products to post and not to post, are expressly listed for the influencer to follow to prevent any future disputes.


Here’s what you get once you have the Media Release Form signed:


(a) “I grant the right to edit, enhance, crop, alter, modify, amend, copy, or otherwise make use of the Media for any purpose as desired by the Releasee, without any consideration or other payment.


Example: You have a bunch of photographs of an individual which you would like to use for a testimonial, in marketing material. This grants you the right to:

  1. Edit, crop, enhance the media in any manner you deem fit; plus
  2.  use the image, video or any other media for any purpose in your absolute discretion. This implies, you  can use the image for a customer testimonial, marketing material or any other purpose.


(b) I waive any rights to inspect or approve the finished product before distribution.


Once you have this simple form signed from the participant, you need not require any further consent/ approval on the edited Media.


(c) I waive the right to any compensation, including but not limited to any royalties, arising from the use of any or all of the Media.


This implies that the participant is giving up the right to receive any payment for the use of his/her photo, video and/or other media as agreed.


If you are in a business where you often collaborate with Influencers to create content promoting your products then this clause enables you to focus your budget on collaboration costs rather than allocating a portion for image usage fees. This approach benefits your brand by providing the flexibility to utilize the influencer’s content across your various social media accounts, website, and even in-store displays without needing to negotiate separate fees for each usage.


(d) I understand and agree that all Media is the property of the Releasee / Media Publisher and will not be returned to me.


As a business owner if you are using photograph or videos of other talents (e.g. model, actors etc), this will greatly benefit your business:

  • No ambiguity about who owns the content. This can prevent future disputes or misunderstandings about rights and usage.
  • No obligation to return the Media to the participant. 
  • You have the right to use the media for any purpose in the future
  • You have control over how the content is used, edited, and presented.

(e) I hereby agree to hold harmless, release, and discharge the Releasee, its heirs, representatives, executors, administrators, or any other persons acting on behalf of the Releasee from all claims, demands, and causes of action which I, my heirs, representatives, or any other persons acting on my behalf, may have by reason of this authorization.


This protects you from any potential claims, demands, or legal actions that the participant might make. Hence, you can utilize the media without worrying about legal consequences arising from the authorization. 


7. What are the important tips for a comprehensive Social Media Release Form:


  • Enlist all all types of Media forms you plan to use in future such as video, still images, audio for any future materials created.
  • Ensure you have the permission for current and future usage indefinitely.
  • Ensure you have the right to use the Media for commercial as well as non-commercial purposes.


8. Do you need a signature for a Social Media release form?


Yes,  the Media Release Form template should ideally be signed before you use the video, photo, name of the participant in your content to ensure compliance


9. Is a Social Media Release Form legally binding?


Yes, this Media Release Form is legally binding on both parties. If you use the DocPro’s template for Media Release Form, it will continue to be binding until the consent is withdrawn in writing by the participant by sending an email to the Media Publisher.


10. Does obtaining verbal authorisation to use a photo in my content suffice for legal compliance?


Verbal authorisation can serve as a form of consent, but for comprehensive legal compliance and better protection, it is advisable to obtain written documentation such as a signed Media Release Form. 


This written consent  explicitly outlines that:

  • no payment or consideration is involved, 
  • specify the ways the photo will be used, and
  • include a release of claims clause. 


Having such documented consent minimizes misunderstandings, offers evidence of permission, and offers a reliable means to uphold both the rights of individuals and your legal security. 


11. Do I need consent  if I plan to use the photo for non-commercial purposes?


No, you don’t need consent if the images are used for non-commercial purposes such as for  informational, educational purposes only. If the use of the photo falls within the scope of fair use, you need not require to obtain consent. Refer to the DocPro’s Fair Use Checklist template to ascertain to determine whether the fair use exception applies in light of the four factors.


12. Can I write the Social Media Release Form on my own?


Sure, you can write it on your own or just download the template from DocPro website!


In conclusion, Social Media Release Forms are not just legal documents; they are your safeguard against potential complications, ensuring the smooth and worry-free sharing of media content. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. Legal Protection: It offers you legal protection when using another person's name, image, or likeness for commercial purposes. 

  2. Flexibility: You gain the flexibility to edit, enhance, and use media as you see fit without the need for further approvals or payments.

  3. Ownership and Control: These forms clarify the ownership of media content, preventing ambiguity and giving you control over how it's used, edited, and presented.

  4. Minimized Risk: You significantly minimize the risk of potential claims, demands, or legal actions from participants.

  5. Compliance: This is not just a best practice but often a legal requirement, especially when you are featuring individuals in your content, whether you're an influencer, content creator, or business owner.

Remember, taking a few minutes now to obtain and use a media release form will save you hours of effort later on and save the reputation of your company. It's a proactive move towards protecting your media content, making sure you are in compliance with the law, and encouraging productive cooperation in the fast-paced media industry. Use Media Release Forms right away to harness the potential of worry - free content sharing and safeguard your creative endeavours. Don't wait until it's too late.


Now that you're equipped with the knowledge of how media release forms can protect your business and ensure smooth collaborations, why wait? Take the proactive step towards securing your media content and avoiding potential legal tangles.


Click the link below to access our ready-to-use Media Release Form template and start your journey towards media protection today!


Take Control of Your Content in 2023 – Download Your Social Media Release Form Template Now


Remember, a few minutes invested now can save you hours of hassle down the line. Start using media release forms and embrace the power of worry-free content sharing!


I've drawn upon my years of experience as a legal professional to provide you with accurate and reliable information. If you have any questions or need clarification on any topic covered here, please don't hesitate to reach out. Your feedback and engagement are invaluable to me.


Lastly, it's crucial to remember that while this blog offers valuable insights, it's not a substitute for personalized legal advice. Always consult with a qualified legal professional for advice tailored to your specific situation.

Pooja Batra

Pooja has more than 8 years of in-house legal experience in large MNC’s. She has advised on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters including drafting, reviewing and negotiating a variety of commercial contracts and other agreements across various business lines. If you would like to become a contributor to DocPro, please click the link below:



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