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Stony Brook University Media Relations


Guidelines for Film, Video, and Photographers on Media Use Agreements and Use

Stony Brook University's Media Relations department works cooperatively with organizations to film on all our campuses and Stony Brook University Medicine including for news programs, documentaries and television productions.  For consideration regarding filming feature or short films, please contact Stony Brook's Conferences & Special Events team at conference.events@stonybrook.edu.

Step One: Determine Filming Category

The Offices of University Media Relations and the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration are responsible for evaluating requests for and processing media use agreements. For convenience, the word “filming” as used in these guidelines shall include motion pictures, filming, videotape, still photography and digital imaging. Audio recordings also would be included.

Certain categories of filming do not require a media use agreement. These include:

  • News media coverage of news events
  • Students attending Stony Brook University and working on a project assigned by a faculty member and that is required for a grade
  • Filming by a Stony Brook University school, college or department for internal use such as producing a training film for staff or faculty.

Filming projects involving a media use agreement from the University Offices of Media Relations and the Office of the Vice President for Administration include:

  • Educational videos by external organizations
  • Documentaries that are not news productions
  • Documentaries that are news but wherein permits are required by the network to which a producer has submitted the film.

Step Two: If Media Use Agreement Is Required:

If the Media Relations Office determines a proposed filming project does require a media use agreement, a staff representative will direct the producer to complete the agreement and receive sign-off from the Office of the Vice President for Administration. Producer will be made aware of the university’s policies and procedures on filming, including requirements for insurance, fees and university services such as security, parking and electrical needs that could be involved in the proposed production.
If the producer or location scout wishes to proceed, the production company would be asked to send a written (e-mail is preferred) detailed proposal describing the company, the project, university services needed for the project, timetable, synopsis of production, a copy of the script and a statement as to whether or not the producer proposed to use the name, images, logos and marks of the university.

Step Three: Determining Approval of Project:

The university strives to balance the needs of campus with requests for filming. As such, the  Media Relations Office will evaluate the proposal. In determining approval for a request, the university will consider the producer's relationship to the university, the purpose of the project, the potential disruption(s) to campus, the potential use of university trademarks and images, and the proposed use of the project. 

The Media Relations Office, in conjunction with the Revocable Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, would decide whether or not to move forward with processing a media use agreement and whether or not to allow use of the university’s name, images, etc. in the proposed project. In either case, the applicant would be informed of the decision as promptly as possible.

If the decision is made to move forward, the applicant would be invited to “scout” the campus for appropriate filming locations under direction of the  Media Relations Office. Pictures taken during scouting would be for internal use only and would not be authorized for publication or broadcast.

The applicant also would be asked for more detailed information, especially in the case of major productions that could significantly affect or interfere with the routine operations of the university. When determined to be necessary, the producer or location scout could be asked to meet with representatives of campus offices such as parking and transportation services, the police department, student affairs, legal affairs, disability services, fire safety, facilities services and other offices that may have an interest in the proposed production.

Representatives in the Media Relations Office would discuss the proposal with representatives of administration, facilities, and the colleges/schools involving areas where the applicant would propose to film and determine if the deans and other affected parties are agreeable to the filming project in their areas of campus.

The Media Relations Office would evaluate the project and in consultation with the the Office of the Vice President for Administration, and determine the fee for the project.

The Media Relations Office would obtain reasonable estimates from campus service providers for anticipated costs for security, parking and other university services and would list these estimates in the proposed filming location permit, along with the filming location permit use fee based upon the nature and extent of the activities as determined by University Media Relations. The combined total of the university services and the use fee would be shown on the filming location permit as the deposit required in advance (payable by certified or cashiers check) before the producer would be allowed to start filming.

Step Four: DRAFT of Media Use Agreement

A Media Relations representative would send the applicant a DRAFT copy of the media use agreement to review and share with his/her contracts manager or legal counsel.

  • If the applicant wants a change in any of the legal language in the filming location permit document, this would initiate a process requiring the applicant to send a written request for such changes to Media Relations Office. The request would be reviewed and the applicant would be provided a response.
  • If the applicant accepts the terms of the filming location permit as shown on the draft document, a representative in the Media Relations Office, would ask the applicant to provide a copy with an authorized company representatives signature and date then return it to Media Relations. The package of materials also must include the required insurance documents.
  • The office of the Vice President for Administration would review the documents and determine if the insurance document is in compliance with university requirements. (Note: To avoid delays, especially on tight filming deadlines, it is advisable to send the insurance information to Media Relations earlier in the process.)

Step Five: When the Media Use Agreement is Completed:

The Media Relations Office would provide a final copy of the Media Use Agreement to the Office of the Vice President for Administration and a copy to the applicant. If there is a fee, the applicant’s certified or cashier’s check would be deposited and held until completion of the filming project.

Step Six: Compliance

During filming, the Media Relations Office  would oversee compliance with provisions of the filming location permit, resolve conflicts on filming locations if they arise and assist producers with their requests for unanticipated university services.

  • Filming productions should take precautions to safely cover electrical and other cables on sidewalks and other pedestrian areas to avoid hazards and to provide safe access for people with disabilities.

Step Seven: Upon completion of the filming project:

  • Permit Office in the Office of the Vice President for Facilities and Services would arrange for university departments that provided services for the project to send invoices to the Procurement Office in the Office of the Vice President for Administration, which would determine the actual total cost of university services compared to the estimated costs for which a deposit had been collected in advance.
  • The Procurement Office would pay the invoices for university services from the deposit received from the permittee.
  • If the total cost for university services exceeds the deposit amount, the permittee would be billed for the difference.
  • If the actual expenses for university services total less than the amount deposited for university services, the permittee may submit a written request to University Communications for a refund and the excess deposit funds would be sent to the applicant in the form of a check.






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