Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Filming Privacy

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Darrell1, May 16, 2013.

  1. Darrell1

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    7
    There seems to be a lot in the news and on boards about what you can and cannot record with these devices. Granted, new laws may change things, but I just wanted to shed a little light on the subject. Although I am not an attorney, I have been in the video production business for 25 years and I know what I can and cannot do, and when I need to use model release forms.
    Everyone needs to use common sense. There are very few “laws” on the books that can get you arrested (short of recording in someone’s bedroom window), however, if you do not record properly, you could be held responsible for damages in a civil suit. A few things to consider:

    1) Is the video for profit or fun? If it is for profit (a company promotional video), you need to get permission from all people that are FEATURED and are recognizable. There are exceptions to this rule. For example, you are filming a large public crowd, some people are recognizable, but they are clearly not promoting the product or service. However, if you put the video together in a way that makes it looks like they are promoting it, that is different.
    2) Does the person have a reasonable expectation of privacy? If they are cutting the lawn in their front yard, no. If they are sun bathing in the backyard, maybe. If they are sunbathing in their backyard and it has a large privacy fence, yes.
    3) Are you causing damage or harm to the person that is in your recording? That is where courts need to make the decision. Recording them sunbathing? Maybe. Washing their car? Likely not.

    You also need to consider where you, or your camera is during the recording. If you are on private land, you need permission to record there. If you are on public land, it is completely different. That is why news crews always do their remote reporting from sidewalks or streets, unless they have permission to be in a business or on someones private property.

    Remember, everything is a gray area and you need to use common sense. Can you put a camera on your roof with a telephoto lens and point it at your neighbors’ window?? I have no idea, but I bet it could be argued both for and against in a court.

    Also remember what your exposure is. If you are doing general filming of your neighborhood, you fly at 200 feet and you capture someone sunbathing in the back yard, what are the chances they would see it? What would be the damages if they did and the video only received 50 views? Is the video FEATURING of the person sunbathing, or was it just a quick shot as you buzzed around the neighborhood?

    Lets just use our devices with some logic so restrictive laws do not need to be put in place.

    Darrell
     
  2. howardmaryon

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    0
    Spot on Daryll, I am also a film producer, and as you say, there is no absolute definition of "invasion of privacy", something that keeps the newspaper watchdogs occupied constantly. I think one of the major issues is about peoples perceptions of their own privacy. You cant take a photo of a child in the street nowadays without those around you screaming "paedophile!" at you, and the same will soon be true of anyone with an FPV camera on their multirotor or helicopter. They will be assumed to be a "Peeping Tom" and the press will have fun demonising FPV pilots as a pack of spying perverts. The fact that the press are now using them themselves will have nothing to do with it. I do hope that we do not get legislated into oblivion or regarded by the public as deviants, but it could happen.
     
  3. mercillus

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2013
    Messages:
    158
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Leander, Texas USA
    Right on. Kind of where my head was at. Too bad I actually live in Texas and get to temp the laws first.
     
  4. Darrell1

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    7
  5. jumanoc

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    700
    Likes Received:
    8
  6. Darrell1

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2013
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    7
    Actually, I don't find that very restrictive at all. This is what I liked reading: "with the intent to conduct surveillance"

    So, flying around and having fun collecting aerial images to me is not "conducting surveillance".