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PRM-021: Commercial Filming in University Facilities or on University Property

Date: 09/25/2020 Status: Final
Last Revised:
Policy Type: University
Contact Office: University Communications
Oversight Executive: President of the University
Applies To:

Academic Division and the College at Wise.

Reason for Policy:

The University has established requirements for filming in University facilities or on University property (owned or leased) in order to: (1) focus on its mission; (2) provide a safe environment; (3) preserve the aesthetics of the Grounds; and (4) maintain the privacy of its faculty, staff, and students.1

1This policy does not apply to the Medical Center. See “NOTE” under Policy Statement and Medical Center/Heath System policies in Related Information.

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Affiliated Persons:(1) Students who are registered or enrolled for credit-bearing coursework and who are seeking a degree and (2) University employees, consisting of all full-time and part-time faculty, University staff, Medical Center employees, classified staff, wage employees (including temps), professional research staff, and post-doctoral fellows.
  • Commercial Filming:Filming by Unaffiliated Persons, for use as, or as part of, any work intended to be disseminated to an external audience for the purpose of recognition or pecuniary gain. Examples include motion pictures; documentaries; commercial video productions such as television shows; and commercial, fine art, or stock and still photography. Commercial Filming excludes filming in connection with authorized weddings, memorial services, meetings, and special events at the University Chapel.
  • Filming:Capturing still or motion imagery with or without audio whether for live broadcast or for use at a future time.
  • Location Agreement:A contract between a filmmaker and a property owner permitting use of the property in a specified work. Location agreements allow the filmmaker to enter University property for the purpose of filming and address the filmmaker’s right to use the recording, insurance and liability requirements, and restrictions on use of the University’s trademarks.
  • Noncommercial Filming:Filming for non-commercial, scholarly or academic use, personal use, or use to promote a recognized University unit, group or organization (including a University-Associated Organization) or its activities and programs.
  • Student Groups or Organizations (Student Groups/Organizations):Student groups or organizations that have an active Contracted Independent Organization Agreement, Fraternal Organization Agreement, or Special Status Organization Agreement with the University.
  • Unaffiliated Persons:Any person or party who is not an affiliated person (e.g., businesses, non-profit organizations, independent contractors).
  • University Facility:Any defined space of the University, including a room, lab, series of labs, building, or controlled outdoor area.
  • University Grounds:The areas where administrative functions, teaching, and research facilities, as well as athletic and recreational facilities of the University that are used by members of the University community are located.
  • University Housing:Residential living areas managed by the University’s Housing & Residence Life.
  • University Property:Land or buildings that the University owns or leases and that is under the control of the Board of Visitors. University property also includes premises the University uses for activities of its offices, departments, personnel, or students.
  • Vendor:Any entity that supplies goods or services.
Policy Statement:

Commercial filming in University facilities or on University property is restricted and requires advance approval from the Office of University Communications (University Communications). The University reserves the right to refuse or revoke permission to film in a University facility or on University property for any reason.

[NOTE: This policy does not apply to the Medical Center or Athletics. Filming which occurs at the Medical Center and in patient care areas adjacent to, or co-located with, academic/research areas must be conducted in accordance with Medical Center Policy 0030: The Use of Cameras and other Electronic Devices and Media; see also Health System Policy INM-002: Requests by News Organizations (“the Media”) for Patient Information and Access for Photograph, Electronic Recording, or Interview. For filming that involves Athletics, please contact Todd Goodale ([email protected]).]

The following provisions apply.

  1. Prohibitions:
    The following are prohibited:

    1. Commercial filming on University property without prior written consent from University Communications in compliance with this Policy.

    2. Filming that implies endorsement by the University or anyone on its behalf of a business or organization (including nonprofits). Generally, the University does not approve requests to film commercials or advertisements on University property.

    3. Commercial filming in the following locations:
      • Interiors of University housing; and
      • Interiors of University classrooms while a class is in session.
    4. Filming that interferes with the University’s scholarly or academic activity or official business.

    5. During filming:
      1. Possessing a firearm or other weapon. [Refer to policy SEC-030: Regulation of Weapons, Fireworks, Explosives, and Other Prohibited Items.]

      2. Smoking or vaping inside University facilities or within 25 feet of the entries, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows of all University facilities. [Refer to policy SEC-028: No Smoking or Vaping.]

      3. Using open flames. [Refer to policy SEC-032: Open Burn and Open Flame Operations at the University of Virginia.]

      4. Using unmanned aerial vehicles/drones or similar aerial filming methods. [Refer to policy SEC-040: Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS” or “Drones”).]

    6. Altering or destroying University property, including:
      1. Affixing anything to buildings, walls, or other architectural features of the University Grounds.

      2. Cutting, tying back, or altering trees, shrubs, plantings, and other horticultural elements in any way.

  2. News Organizations:
    Filming unscheduled or unplanned events outside University facilities as they happen (“active” or “breaking” news) by a news organization does not require prior approval from University Communications. Other filming for news features, profiles, or within University facilities by such news organizations is commercial filming. Members of the media are subject to the same policies and procedures as are members of the public with respect to access to and use of University facilities, the University Grounds, and University property.

  3. Noncommercial Filming and Filming by Student Groups/Organizations:
    Advance approval from University Communications is not required for noncommercial filming and Student Groups/Organizations filming, provided the filming does not interfere with the University’s academic activities and official business and further provided that:

    1. If, after noncommercial filming, the filmmaker or a third party wishes to make commercial use of the film, the filmmaker or third party must first obtain prior written consent from University Communications.

    2. Noncommercial filming on University property for scholarly or academic purposes is limited to affiliated persons who are current University of Virginia faculty, staff, or students, as well as to University-sponsored programs and other programs that occur on University Grounds for which filming is part of the program.

    [Note: This applies to vendors acting within the scope of their contractual relationship with the University.]

  4. Commercial Productions:
    Prior to any commercial filming, the filmmaker must submit the online Filming and Production Request form at least ten business days in advance of the desired filming date. The Form will be reviewed by the Office of University Communications and University Counsel and may be approved or denied at the University’s discretion.

    1. Script Approval:
      Commercial productions must provide a final script or storyboard for the scene or scenes in which the University will be featured at least ten business days before the desired production date. Any changes made to the script or storyboard following submission must be brought to the attention of the University in writing at least three days before the desired production date. The University reserves the right to deny or revoke filming requests in situations where it deems the project’s content to be in conflict with the mission of the University or any University policy.

    2. Filming Location Approval:
      In general, the University permits filming only in exterior public spaces of the University. Commercial production requests to film in interior University facilities will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and may require the production company to secure appropriate permissions and reserve space in advance directly with a separate University school, department, or unit.

    3. Location Agreement:
      Approved productions will be required to complete the University’s Location Agreement and submit it to University Communications for execution by the University at least five business days prior to the scheduled date of filming. The terms of the Location Agreement are binding as to both the filming activities and the use of the resultant film thereafter.

    4. University Institutional Identification:
      The University encourages the producer to use the University’s name for appropriate attribution in the film credits, and permits the producer to depict the University’s name, signs, and trademarks as such are visible in and about the University property for inclusion in the film. However, except for these limited rights granted, the producer will not have the right to use the University’s name, signs, and trademarks in any capacity without the prior written consent of the University. [Refer to policy GOV-004: Use and Licensing of the University's Trademarks.]

    5. Insurance:
      Proof of insurance is required prior to entering onto University property for filming. The insurance must provide general liability coverage of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence to include coverage for premises/operations, contractual, and personal injury, must name the University as an additional insured, and the proper name is the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Rector and Visitors of the Virginia and their officers, employees, and agents.

    6. Parking & Fees:
      Parking for production vehicles is not guaranteed and requests for parking will be reviewed by University Communications on a case-by-case basis. Parking fees may apply under certain circumstances.

      The University reserves the right to charge a daily location fee to be determined by the University based upon the scale and impact of the production. All fees will be levied on a case-by-case basis and the proceeds donated to a University fund or University-Associated Organization relevant to the subject or location of the film shoot.

  5. Rights Clearance:
    The University reserves the right to prohibit filming in locations containing works of art not owned by the University, particularly if the producer intends to make more than incidental use of such works. Where filming is permitted, it is the producer’s obligation to clear any and all third-party rights in such works.

  6. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies. Additionally:

    Affiliated Persons and contracted vendors failing to comply with this policy may have their permission to film revoked; jeopardize future filming privileges; be held liable for damage and/or clean-up costs if any are incurred; issued a No Trespass Order; and/or other appropriated civil or criminal action.

    Student Groups or Organizations failing to comply with this policy may have their permission to film revoked; jeopardize future filming privileges; be held liable for damage and/or clean-up costs if any are incurred; jeopardize funding or other privileges afforded to them; and/or face charges before the University Judiciary Committee.

    Unaffiliated Persons failing to comply with this policy may have the Location Agreement immediately terminated, permission to film revoked, and be required to vacate the property immediately; issued a No Trespass Order; and/or other appropriated civil or criminal action.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the Office of University Communications.

Major Category:
Physical Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review:
Approved By, Date:
Policy Review Committee, 09/25/2020
Supersedes (previous policy):

University Filming Policy