Who owns recordings?


Hi friends,
I was having a discussion with a new colleague who wanted to give our client all the recordings from research interviews. My position is that clients (I work for an agency) are paying us for research and analysis and that by giving them the recordings they can infer their own meaning without being part of the interview and miss nuances that come through body language. His position is that they own it therefore we should give it to them. I can’t find anything on this. Does anyone have an opinion or know the legalities?


There’s an additional issue here around consent and privacy. When your research participants consented to being recorded, did they do so under the condition of the recordings being only used for research purposes? And by whom? Your research participants may not have consented to the recordings being used by or shared with your client.

I would also review the deliverables listed in the contract your client has with your agency for this engagement. If it references a report or some other type of output as a deliverable and doesn’t say anything about the raw data (researcher notes, recordings, mountains of post-it notes etc) required to reach those insights, then I would say no, they don’t have a right to access the recordings. They’re paying for deliverables. In some cases the deliverables may not be ‘things’ and it may be a bit harder to tell e.g., if they hired your agency to be a resource within their team and support them across their work for X period of time.

I would start with the session consent forms and the engagement contract.


Yes definitely. I start every session and explain why we are recording and that they will be used by the research team and I may share quotes with the client but I don’t attribute those quotes.

Awesome! Yes, we state the deliverable which is usually a report.
Thanks for your input.


Whenever i worked with a ux research lab, they always shared the recordings with us (the client) as well as their analysis of the data, usually in the form of a report/deck.

To be honest though, my guess is that clients will rarely trawl through the recordings to make their own conclusions. A lot quicker and easier to trust the expert’s analysis.