Your Guide to a Media Release Form in Singapore

Last updated on July 24, 2020

hand signing form

What is a Media Release Form? Who is to Sign It?

In Singapore, a media release form is a document that permits an organisation to create, use, distribute or display

  • An individual’s personal data (such as his photographs, images, video recordings; or
  • A company’s data (its trademarks, logos or other relevant identifying information),

in promotional and informational publications, brochures, websites or in press releases.

A media release form is, therefore, to be signed by individuals/companies whose consent is required under the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) to authorise the organisation to use such data for its own marketing and publicity purposes. 

If a company needs to sign the media release form, an authorised individual can do so on the company’s behalf. Some examples of authorised persons for a company would include a director and the secretary of the company.

Can a minor sign a media release form?

As a rule of thumb, a minor can effectively provide consent on his own behalf (and therefore sign a media release form) if he has sufficient understanding of the nature and consequences of giving consent to the organisation using his personal data.

Typically, minors who are 13 years old and above are taken to have such an understanding, though the organisation should take practical steps to ensure that the minor can give consent on his own behalf. This may include interacting with the minor in question in order to determine whether he has the intelligence and understanding to enable him to fully understand what is proposed.

If the organisation is satisfied that the minor is able to display sufficient understanding as to the use of his/her personal data, they can have him/her sign the media release form.

Alternatively, the organisation can ask an individual who is authorised to provide consent on the minor’s behalf, such as the minor’s parents or guardian, to consent to the collection and use of the minor’s personal data, and to sign the media release form instead.

When Should the Media Release Form be Signed?

Under Singapore’s current privacy laws, an organisation is required to inform the individual/company of the purpose(s) of collecting their personal data, and obtaining their consent before the organisation can use such data for its own activities.

Hence, a media release form should be signed before the organisation proceeds to collect or use the individual/company’s personal data.

If the individual/company refuses to consent to the collection and/or use of their personal data, and so refuses to sign the media release form, then their personal data cannot be collected or used for the purposes mentioned in the media release form. This may involve sitting out of any events or activities that involve the collection and/or use of their personal data, such as interviews.

Do You Need to Give the Other Party a Copy of the Signed Media Release Form?

There is currently no legal requirement that the organisation needs to provide the other party a copy of the signed media release form to prove that it has obtained their consent to use their personal data.

However, as a matter of good practice and prudence, the organisation may want to do so for the other party’s own records. It may also be advisable for the organisation to, with the consent of the other party, archive all the signed media release forms for future reference.

What Terms Should a Media Release Form Contain? 

A media release form should contain the following essential terms:

    • The identities of all relevant parties to the media release form, such as the name of the organisation which plans to use the personal data, and the name of the individual/company whose data is being used;
    • How the organisation plans to gather the party’s personal data
      • The parties’ personal data which is to be gathered can potentially refer to an individual or company’s name, his likeness, his photographs or other personal details of the party not available in public domain.
      • This may include the organisation recording, videotaping, taking pictures of, interviewing or obtaining a testimonial from the individual in question and acquiring the use rights of such data being obtained.
      • If the party whose personal data is to be collected is a company, the organisation may plan to obtain trademarks, service logos or other identifying information of the company as part of its data collection.
      • Parties should be given the choice of opting out of activities in which they do not want their personal data to be used. For example, an individual may consent to giving a written testimonial to support an organisation, but not wish to have his face used to promote the organisation’s cause. Accordingly, the media release form should state that the individual only consented for his testimonial to be published but not for his identity to be disclosed.
    • The specific purpose(s) that the organisation plans to use the data collected for
      • If an organisation intends to use such personal data for a different purpose from what was initially stated in the media release form, it would then be required to assess whether it needs to obtain fresh consent from the individual or company in question on using the personal data for the new purpose.
      • This can be done by determining whether the new purpose falls within the scope of purposes for which the individual concerned was originally informed of. For example, where the data collected from an individual is only to be used for promotional material for a one-off event, the organisation should obtain fresh consent from the entity to indeed verify whether it will be able to use the individual’s personal data as promotional material for future events.  
    • How long the organisation plans to utilise the personal data collected for its marketing or publicity purposes
      • Whether the individual/company consents to giving a perpetual right for the organisation to use their data indefinitely, or whether the data can only be used for a limited time for the organisation’s publicity efforts;
    • Whether there are any royalties that the organisation would have to pay in order to use the individual or entity’s personal data
    • A release-of-claims clause which immunises both the organisation and the individual/company (or their agents) concerned from any claims relating to the use of material that the individual/company provided to the organisation, so long as the material used is in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the media release form.
      • For example, a release of claims clause can immunise the organisation from claims between an individual and a third-party (such as the individual’s guardian) that could arise from the publication of the individual’s personal data. This could be for instance, if the third-party views the organisation’s publication of the individual’s personal data as inappropriate or defamatory.

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