Your release should specify how the document gets interpreted. if it's silent on that point, there's a CA law, Civil Code section 1633.5 et seq., that deals with electronic transactions, and here's a pretty good article discussing 2 recent cases construing the law: http://www.carr-mcclellan.com/electronic-signature-enforceable/
Your best bet is to hire a lawyer for help with your documentary. This is probably not your only concern, and doing your own legal work is never wise.
Avvo doesn't pay us for these responses, and I'm not your lawyer just because I answer this question or respond to any follow-up comments. If you want to hire me, please contact me. Otherwise, please don't expect a further response. We need an actual written agreement to form an attorney-client relationship. I'm only licensed in CA and you shouldn't rely on this answer, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it's impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue.
What does the contract say regarding execution? Normally, electronic documents provide valid proof of the existence of a contract. An exception would be where the model can prove that the electronic signature is not theirs.
The materials provided herein are for informational purposes only and do not constitute advertising, solicitation or legal advice. Consequently, you should not rely upon it as advice about specific legal problems because it does not constitute the rendering of legal advice and does not create any attorney-client relationship. If you need legal or other professional advice, you should consult with appropriate legal counsel familiar with your particular facts and circumstances.
It sounds like you are asking two questions: one, are contracts executed with electronic signatures valid, and two, are digital copies of contracts acceptable evidence of the existence of the contracts. Regarding the first question, the answer is generally yes. For the second question, the answer is also yes, but in some circumstances you may need actual physical copies, for example, if your E&O insurance provider requires it.
The answers appearing on this Website from Creative Vision Legal and Michael J. Thomas do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, and are presented only as information to members of the general public.
It certainly wouldn't hurt to keep hard copies. Usually scanned copies are considered sufficient, but there may be a California statute on this issue that may change things. Best to consult California Entertainment counsel, or just keep hard copies.
Mr. Sack's postings on Avvo are of a general nature, based on the facts provided and are not intended to be taken as legal advice or to establish an attorney-client relationship.
Generally speaking, facsimile signatures on a contract are as sufficient to bind the parties as are wet ink signatures. This is as a result of both federal and many states’ e-signature laws.
However, I think more facts would be needed for an experienced entertainment lawyer like myself to answer your question. Do the model releases you scanned have original signatures on them? If so, I would keep them as a precaution.
Other facts needed would be where were these model releases signed, where were the models’ services rendered and do they state what law governs them?
I recently wrote a blog about the validity of electronic signatures. It might be helpful reading for you. Here's the link:
This answer is provided strictly for informational purposes on law. It does not create an attorney/client relationships and is not to be understood as legal advice.
The scanned copies of the release forms with the signatures should be sufficient for all legal purposes.
No attorney client relationship is created with this post and no legal advice has been rendered. This is for general informational purposes only and does not apply to any specific set of facts which have been reviewed by me. The information contained in this response has not been verified and is not necessarily accurate or reliable, or applicable to any particular jurisdiction. Always hire a licensed attorney to represent your legal interests.
Yes, and generally the contract will even state before the signature block that multiple executed originals in any form whether by fax, e-mail, PDF, etc will be treated as one and the same as an original. However, I agree that certain documents you absolutely need hardcopy originals (and is good practice is possible. But there is a trend towards a more 'digital' exchange especially for items like this. For a model release form, I think that it would be generally accepted as equally strong and binding as the physical copy; unless there is a dispute the electronic or digital signature transmission was not authorized or done by him/her or some other contractual restriction that said it had to be an original to be binding.
All posts are for information purposes only and not legal advice. No attorney-client relationship exists until an engagement document is signed by both attorney and client.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline