University Communications provides assistance with requests to film on campus. This section provides information for news
organizations, the filming industry, students, registered student organizations, visitors to campus and others.
For convenience, the word “filming” as used in these guidelines includes motion pictures, filming, videotape,
still photography and digital imaging. Audio recordings are also included.
How to Determine Your Filming Category
The following procedures will help you understand The University of Texas at Austin’s regulations regarding filming on campus. To determine if you would need a filming location permit, or qualify for exemption under provisions for certain students, news organizations or university units, you would first determine your filming category.
Determine Your Filming Category:
- News photography: News photography and filming by a qualified news reporting service does not require a
permit. University Communications (512-471-3151) is available to help coordinate news photography requests. Written permits are
not required unless special circumstances apply, in which case the decision to require a permit will be made on a case-by-case basis.
Any disputes involving News Reporting should be referred to University Communications Director of Media Relations.
- Student filming projects: Only student filming projects required by a
faculty member for class credit would be exempt from requesting a filming location permit. These students would receive guidance for
work on these projects through their academic units.
- Registered Student Organizations: Are exempt from requesting a
filming location permit; however, registered student organizations are required to receive guidance for work on the project by the
Office of the Dean of Students and follow the same guidelines as student filming projects.
- Internal university filming: No permit is required for projects by university units for university purposes such as filming staff training videos, etc., and all filming rights would belong to the university.
- Film Industry Productions: A filming permit is required for external
filming such as feature films, documentaries and photography by commercial photographers/videographers. University Communications is
responsible for all arrangements pertaining to filming on university property including reviewing and processing film permits and
supervising the filming production on behalf of the university. University Communications screens and processes all requests to film
on campus and coordinates with all campus units involved in the production.
- Co-sponsored filming projects: Occasionally an academic unit may choose to co-sponsor a filming project with an external production company with the understanding that all rights to the filmed material will belong to The University of Texas at Austin. Certain limited use rights may be granted to the producer at the discretion of the university. These projects are handled through the Office of the Provost.
- Visitors to Campus: No permit is required for the incidental, unobtrusive non-commercial filming or photography by visitors or tourists to the campus. Any such filming or photography may not be used for commercial purposes at any time without the express written permission of the Office of Licensing and Trademarks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ENFORCING THE UNIVERSITY’S RULES REGARDING FILMING ON UNIVERSITY PROPERTY?
A. Any University official may check with photographers and videographers filming on university property to determine if they are in compliance with filming rules and regulations.
Q. WHAT KIND OF MEDIA ARE COVERED BY THE BOARD OF REGENTS’ FILMING POLICY? Does the filming rule apply only to motion pictures or television productions?
A. The Regents’ Rule regarding filming covers only motion pictures and television productions regardless of the media used for the filming. Other rules apply to other similar activities.
Q. POLICY ON STILL PHOTOGRAPHY: What is the university’s policy regarding the taking of still photographs for student projects or for use in commercial projects.
A. Photography by students as part of their course work, or by faculty or staff in the course of their employment is allowed. Incidental, unobtrusive non-commercial filming or photography by visitors or tourists to the campus is allowed. Commercial photography is not allowed.
Q. WEDDINGS/ENGAGEMENTS: What is the university’s policy on shooting video or still images for engagement or wedding portraits on university property? Does it matter if the photographer is an amateur friend doing it for free or a professional commercial photographer doing it for money?
A. Weddings are allowed in certain locations, such as the Wildflower Center. Photography incidental and contemporaneous with the event is allowed including commercial photography. Commercial photography of any other sort on campus is not allowed. Unobtrusive amateur photography is allowed (see above.)
Q. AUDIO RECORDINGS: What is the university’s policy regarding audio taping on university property for commercial purposes?
Examples: An individual or musical group performs on university property and makes an audio recording of the performance for the purpose of manufacturing and selling CDs?
A. University property may not be used for commercial purposes, except for certain venues such as the Frank Erwin Center. Ownership of any intellectual property arising from performances on campus is handled through the contract process.
Q. POSTING VIDEO ON COMMERCIAL WEB SITES: What is the university’s policy regarding the filming of material on university property and then posting it on commercial Web sites? Is this considered commercial broadcast?
A. University property may not be used for commercial purposes. A film or photograph made on campus may not be used for any direct commercial purpose.
Q. POSTING VIDEO ON PRIVATE/PUBLIC WEB SITES: Is it OK to film material on campus and post it on my own private Web site?
A. An amateur film or photograph made on campus could be posted on a personal web site or page such as a Facebook page, but may not be used for any direct commercial purpose.
Q. POSTING VIDEO ON SOCIAL NETWORK PUBLIC SITES: Is it OK to film material on campus and post it on a social network site like Facebook?
A. An amateur film or photograph made on campus could be posted on a personal web page such as a Facebook page, but may not be used for any commercial purpose.
Q. POSTING ON YOUTUBE: Is it OK to film material on campus and post it on a public site like YOUTUBE?
A. A non-commercial film or photograph made on campus may be posted on a video sharing site such as Youtube, but may not be used for any commercial purpose.
Q. POSTING ON PERSONAL SMALL BUSINESS SITES: Is it OK to film material on university property and post it on the Web site I created for my small business?
A. No. University property may not be used for commercial purposes.
Q. UNIVERSITY LOGOS, SYMBOLS AND IMAGES: In all of these cases, does it matter whether or not The University of Texas at Austin is named or its symbols or logos are used?
A. In general, commercial filming performed pursuant to a film permit may not use University logos or trademarks or identify the University. News reporting may identify the University. Incidental amateur filming or photography may identify the University or contain its logos or trademarks, unless it is publicly displayed in which case it may not.
Q. NEWS PRODUCTIONS AND DVD’S: Would a news organization be allowed to film a production on campus under the “news” category if it also needed permission to produce and distribute/sell DVDs of the production?
A. The sale of DVD’s is not relevant and would not prevent the news organization from filming the news event. The reason is that DVD’s, podcasts, and transcripts of news programs are often sold by news organizations.
Q. SPECIAL EVENTS FACILITIES: Would a filming location permit from University Communications be required for a production company to film a concert, wrestling match or other performance or activity at a “special events facility” such as the Frank Erwin Center or the Thompson Conference Center or could filming permission be included in the producer’s contract agreement with the facility?
A. The filming permission is handled through contract process.
University Communications is the resource for information about filming on university property. We provide information about the university’s filming policies and procedures and are the office to contact if you want to request a filming location permit to produce a feature film, stills or a television broadcast project.
News photography does not require a permit. University Communications would be glad to assist in coordinating news photography requests.
Director of Public Affairs
The University of Texas at Austin
512-471-3151 main office
The University of Texas at Austin
Overnight Delivery Address
1100 Inner Campus Drive
Austin, Texas, 78712
U.S. Mailing Address:
P.O. Box Z
Austin, Texas, 78713