Is It Legal To Record Audio or Video of Someone Else?

Have you ever wondered if it was legal to video or audio record someone else? Or what

about someone else recording you? Stick around. In this video we discuss that very topic.

Hello everyone, Mark McLeroy President of Patriot Electronic Security System. Today

I want to discuss the topic of video and audio recording other people, or other people recording

you. But first I must get this disclaimer out of the way and please listen very carefully

to it because it is important. I am not an attorney. I am not authorized or qualified

to give anyone legal advice on this or any other topic. Furthermore, the issues discussed

in this video assume we are talking about laws that fall under the jurisdiction of the

United States of America. Please consult your attorney for legal advice on the issues discussed

in this video. At this point you might be asking, well if

I can't give you legal advice, why are we doing this video. The answer is simple. We

have clients all the time wanting to know why they or someone else can or cannot record

video or audio in a given situation. And you do not have to be an attorney to discuss legal

matters, heck cable news does it all the time. There's is a difference between discussing

legal matters and giving legal advice. So now with that out of the way, on to the topic

at hand. The law looks at the recording of audio and

video very differently. Quite frankly I feel the laws governing audio recordings are much

more strict than that of video. Generally speaking, you can take anyone's picture without

their permission as long as one important condition is met, and that is

it cannot bein an area where that person can reasonably expect privacy. Now I got to tell you, this

is where the lawmakers of our federal, state, and local governments drive me nuts. Because

in my opinion, that wording (an area where one can reasonably expect privacy) is open

to interpretation. Why can't the law be worded specifically? Quite honestly, an area where

I would reasonably expect privacy may not be an area where you would reasonably expect

privacy, or vise versa. So with that said, all I can tell you is my

opinion on the matter, and that is there is only a select few places that we can reasonably

expect privacy, and they are, in a bathroom, in a bedroom, in a changing or fitting room,

and in a hotel or motel room (which could full under the category of bedroom). Now I

know a lot of you out there just jumped out of you seats and shouted, "Hey, what about

my own home, certainly I'm entitled to reasonably expect privacy throughout my entire home,

not just the bedrooms and bathrooms?" Well, we're gonna get to that in just a minute or

two. But one thing's for certain , you are not entitled to reasonably expect privacy

anywhere out in public. Not on the public streets you walk or drive on, or any of the

stores you visit. We've all seen those videos where a couple of people get into a disagreement

and one of them pulls out their cell phone and starts taking pictures or video of the

other person. And the other person insist that they stop because they didn't give them

permission to take their picture. Well, chances are that if it is still photographs the person

is taking or video without audio (and I'll get into that point in a minute as well) then

the person protesting is out of luck. In public, anyone can take your picture anytime without

your permission. If this wasn't the case, the paparazzi would be out of business. When

out in public, your picture is probably taken a Hundred times a day without your permission.

Every time you step into a bank, a convenience store, a gas station, a restaurant, you name

it, they are taking your picture and none of them have your permission to do so, nor

do they need it. Now, getting back to privacy in your own home.

Well, here is a classic problem of interpretation. Let's say a man suspects his wife is cheating

on him. So he sets up a camera to record activities in his living room while he's at

work. Remember, not a bathroom or bedroom, his living room. Furthermore, to keep it simple,

the camera he uses does not have audio recording capabilities, just video. Now, let's say that

camera through the course of the day captured some video footage of the wife. I'm not going

to say what kind of footage, or if the footage was incriminating because that fact is not

important. It just captured video footage of the wife without her consent. Now in your

opinion, was a law broken because the wife had a reasonable expectation of privacy under

those circumstances? Yes? No? Who knows? It up to the

courts to decide, and there's a good chance different courts will decide differently on

similar cases because again, the law leaves so much open to interpretation.

Now let's try something interesting,

for all you out there who thought that the wife did have a reasonable expectation of

privacy under the scenario I just described a second ago, let's change the circumstances

just a little bit. Same camera in the same living room, but this time the man is not

recording the wife. This time the man and the wife are recording their nanny who watches

their baby every day while they're both at work. And let's say they set this camera up

because they suspected the nanny is physically abusing the child. And again we'll say that

the camera caught footage of the nanny but again what kind of footage isn't important.

Was the law broken here because the nanny had a reasonable expectation of privacy?

Ya see how complicated this can get? Sometimes

the circumstances are more important than the room or location that the recording took

place to determine if laws were broken. Now, about Audio recordings. The laws are

much more restrictive and complicated when it comes to recording what people are saying.

Basically, it falls into two categories depending on the State that you're in. First, there

are the one party consent States, meaning if you record a conversation, one party who

is involved in the conversation needs to consent to the recording. Now if you are recording

a conversation, and you yourself is involved in that conversation, then your consent should

satisfy this legal requirements in most cases. The second category are all party consent

States. This means that in order for a conversation to be recorded, all the parties involved in

the conversation needs to consent to the recording. Now again, I'm not an attorney, but it is

interesting to note that it is referenced as either one party or all party CONSENT not

one party or all party notification. The way I would interpret that is just to inform an

involved person or persons that the conversation is being recorded is not enough to satisfy

legal requirements, they would expressly have to CONSENT to the recording.

To further complicate the issue, in addition to each State law, the Federal Government also has a say. The

Federal Government has a one party consent requirement. So if the conversation takes

place in a all party consent State which of course falls under the umbrella of the federal

government (which requires only one party consent), which requirement needs to be met?

I don't know. I'm not sure there is a right answer. If you ask two attorney there's a

good chance you'll get two different answers. You'll probably get the same results if you

ask two different judges, or even two different juries. Again, we run into this problem because

the law is not like mathematics. With mathematics there's almost always an absolute answer (with

some rare exceptions). With matters of law there almost never an absolute answer. There

always seems to be a component of interpretation. If you have any questions on which States

are one party consent and which are all party consent, just Google it. You'll find hundred

of sites with this information. This concludes our discussion on the legality

of recording video and audio as it pertains to the security alarm and Closed Circuit TV industry. If

you have any questions or comments we encourage that you post them in the comments section

below. If you found this video helpful we ask that you click the like button. And we

ask that you click the subscribe button to support this channel and get notified when

we release a new videos in the future. I'm Mark McLeroy, President of Patriot Electronic

Security Systems, see ya next week, and until then, stay safe.