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Rights Waiver & Media Rights Certification

by | Aug 4, 2020

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  • Your contract stipulates that you must obtain certain rights for this program.  If you are not able to clear these rights you must submit a Rights Waiver Request.  This alerts Discovery to potential limitations of rights on any elements in the program.  
  • The Rights Waiver Request MUST be approved by Discovery before you sign the license agreement and/or before the element is included in the final program.


Within Your Production Elements List:

  • Note that a Rights Waiver has been issued for any applicable material
  • Indicate if step-up rights have been negotiated in the agreement (if applicable)
  • Complete Media Rights Certification form 


A. What is a Rights Waiver and why do I need it?

In those rare instances where you cannot secure all contractually required rights for a specific element, the Rights Waiver Request Log is considered your written request for Discovery to approve use of that element within the program, despite its rights limitations.  The terms “Clear” or “Cleared” refer to your representation that the associated rights can be exploited by Discovery.  Discovery understands that your representation may be based on a license, fair use, or the element being in the public domain.   (Please also see the Fair Use Procedure page under POLICIES.)

Discovery must approve your rights waiver request BEFORE the license agreement is signed and/or the element is included in the program.  Failure to obtain Discovery’s approval will place your production company in breach of its contract with Discovery and, in addition to other remedies available to Discovery, may delay payment(s).

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a Rights Analyst about rights waivers, please send an email to

B. Completing the Rights Waiver Log

    1. Producers will use one Rights Waiver Log per project/series.
    2. Fill in the log (template is attached above):
      1. There are two tabs within the document.  The “Footage Rights Waivers” tab should be used for footage elements, while the “Music Rights Waivers” tab should be used to submit limited rights to any music included in the program. 
      2. To fill out the Producer Information section, double click anywhere in the cell to get a cursor, and then use your keyboard arrows to move from field to field. 
      3. “Clear” indicates to us that rights may be exploited.  If rights are not cleared, write “Not Clear” in red font in the appropriate field. 
      4. All fields in a row must be completed. 
      5. The “Date Submitted” field should indicate the date the log is uploaded to the Producer’s Portal. 
      6. The element term start date and end date should be included in the “Term” column, rather than the duration of the term. 
      7. Please note that all Non-Standard Television (including, but not limited to basic cable, satellite, online, mobile, streaming, all VOD, and digital downloads) must be fully cleared.  These rights will not be waived
    3. Upload to the Producer’s Portal
    4. Status– An email notification of approval will be sent to you from and the log will be re-uploaded to the Producer’s Portal by DCL listing that waiver as approved.   If a waiver is rejected or there are questions, someone from Discovery Legal will be in touch with the contact listed on the Rights Waiver Log directly. 
    5. If you wish to add more rights waiver requests to the log:
      1. IMPORTANT – Download the last version of the log posted in the Producer’s Portal
      2. Edit and save your additions to your computer’s hard drive
      3. In the Producer’s Portal, select “Replace” and upload the revised log.



Q:What if the element is in the public domain or can be used on a “fair use” basis is part of the public domain? 

      • No Rights Waiver is required so long as all of the contractually required rights can be exploited by Discovery.  If exploitation rights are limited, indicate the limitations on the Rights Waiver Log.  Please note: Discovery’s approval of the Rights Waiver in no way limits Producer’s obligations to indemnify Discovery in the event of a claim or alleged claim with respect to the element referenced in the Rights Waiver.

Q: What is the difference between all of the promotional uses?

      • Promotion of the Program: use of the material to promote the air of the Program
      • Promotion of the network: use of the material to promote the channel or a programming block (e.g. Shark Week on Discovery Channel)
      • Promotion of Discovery:  use of the material to promote any of goods or services owned and/or operated by Discovery  


At completion of each project, producer must submit the Media Rights Certification Form, confirming that all rights waivers have been submitted for each element in the Program and Program Materials (including, without limitation, all music, footage, photographic stills, graphics, talent, and appearance and location releases) that contain any restriction or limitation of any kind, or alternatively, that no rights waivers are required because the Program does not contain any restriction or limitation that would prevent Discovery from exploiting the Program as contemplated by the Agreement.

This certification form is included on the first tab of the Production Elements Log & Media Rights Certification form.