The unique truth: can you film someone without their permission?

With smartphones now a universal technology, the idea that someone could take a photo or film someone whilst out in public is an issue to consider when interacting in everyday life. Although this shouldn’t stop you from venturing out of your house, it remains something for you to consider whilst interacting with other people in a public space. If you aren’t comfortable with your image being shared online, or someone filming you without your permission, this article will provide you with a general overview as to whether it is legal for other people to record you.

If you film someone, you may need permission first.

Is it illegal to film someone without their permission? 

As it currently stands, there are only a handful of laws that prevent a person from filming another in a public place without permission. There is a law that governs artistic works, in an attempt to prevent a person from passing off an artist’s work as their own. If a person contravenes this law, they may receive a fine for recording the subject without permission. Additionally, recording and being disruptive to others is considered a criminal offence.

Further, the recording of a private conversation without the consent of the remaining parties to the conversation is unlawful and may result in penalties. Therefore, it’s recommended to receive the explicit consent of someone you wish to record. Distributing the recorded material to another party without their consent could also result in a breach of confidence. 

Does the law depend on where you are filming? 

There are different rules for filming in public and private places. In both instances, the landowner normally retains the right to regulate and restrict the property an individual is filming on. In a location such as a shopping centre which doesn’t allow filming, centre management may be entitled to ban you from re-entering. Further, an individual should be cautious as to whether they have consent to be on the property, or they may be fined with a legal action for trespassing. 

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Can you film someone without their permission overseas?

You should be aware that these rules do not apply overseas, and they could vary greatly depending on the legislation of the country you have traveled to. To avoid any legal issues, it is recommended to study the rules and regulations about camera use prior to entering a country, before you film someone.

If you’re unsure about the specific rules about filming in public and require assistance, our sister company Legal Kitz may be able to assist. Book in for a FREE 30-minute consultation with one of our experienced lawyers and we’ll take it from there! Alternatively, our business specialists can assist with any of your business needs. Book here to speak to one of our experts on any of your business needs.

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