Can I Sue Someone for Taking a Video of Me?

Can I Sue Someone for Taking a Video of Me?

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Can I Sue Someone for Taking a Video of Me?

Do you have the right to privacy?

In the context of sitting at home watching your favorite movie or sports team, the answer is a resounding yes. Courts throughout the United States have ruled in the favor of privacy at home, especially when it comes to intrusive government invasions of privacy. However, when you take the first step outside of the legal comfort of your home, privacy becomes a complex legal issue that requires the support of an experienced attorney who knows how to handle violation of privacy cases.

Can I Sue Someone for Taking a Video of Me?

Once again, the answer to the question depends on the issue of private versus public property. You probably have a strong legal case if someone shot a video of you while you were on private property, whether it was your home or another private venue such as the home of a friend or family member. Legal precedent also states you might have a compelling case if you expected privacy outside the confines of a private venue. However, the answer to the question, “Can I sue someone for taking a video of me?” becomes much more complex if the video took place in the public domain.

Adding complexity to an already complex privacy issue is the uploading of video to a portal located on the Internet. Someone might have taken a video of you while you were at home, which represents an explicit violation of your privacy if shared online. If an uploaded video of you was taken of you in public, such as while you attended a social event, the uploaded video might not be considered a violation of your privacy.

Due to the complicated nature of privacy issues, working with an experienced attorney who specializes in privacy law can help you recover monetary damages. At Morgan and Morgan, we help clients determine whether the shooting of a video represents an unauthorized invasion of privacy or an act that is part of the public domain of information. If you believe another party violated your privacy by taking an unauthorized video of you in private, you should schedule a free case evaluation with one of the highly-rated litigators at Morgan and Morgan.

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  • What Is the Federal Wiretap Act?

    The issue of privacy stems from two important sources: The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and the federal Wiretap Act. Constitutional interpretations of the right to privacy stem from searches and seizures, which typically involve the commitment of a crime. On the other hand, the Wiretap Act represented a response to the federal government’s widespread secret recording of the activities surrounding political activist groups during the 1960s.

    According to the Wiretap Act, any person who secretly records the communications of another party that is expected to remain private has violated federal law. Although the Wiretap Act addresses the audio invasion of privacy concerning the recording of phone calls, subsequent state and federal statutes expanded the intent of the federal law to include video recordings. The bottom line is if you can demonstrate that you expected privacy, whether it be in a private or public setting, then you might have a strong enough case under the federal Wiretap Act to take legal action against someone who took a video of you without first gaining your consent.

  • How Does State Law Address Violation of Privacy Issues?

    Like many other federal laws, the federal Wiretap Act has received legal scrutiny at the state level. The state where you live might have adopted stricter statutes that protect your privacy both in private and public. Regardless of whether state or federal statutes provide more legal protections, you have to meet certain criteria to have a strong enough case to sue for the invasion of your privacy because someone took a video of you.

    If a law enforcement agency does not have a warrant approved to take a video of you, hiring an attorney might help you prove you had your Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution violated. The easiest way to sue for a violation of your privacy rights is if someone shot a video of you on private property. Private property can include your home, as well as a space where you should have privacy like a fitness center locker room and a room located inside a healthcare provider’s office. 

    The answer to the question, “Can I sue someone for taking a video of me” becomes less clear in public spaces. If you are walking through a city park or a municipal-managed parking lot, any video shot of you is typically considered part of the public domain. States that require only one party to consent for the recording of video and audio also make it difficult for someone to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages for the violation of privacy. If someone catches you on film at a public venue such as a shopping mall, the chances of you winning a civil lawsuit for invasion of privacy are slim at best.

    As of 2022, just 12 states have enacted a statute that requires two parties to consent to record audio and video.

  • What Are the Legal Penalties for Unlawfully Recording Another Person’s Activities?

    The penalties for violating the federal Wiretap Act have undergone several reviews by the United States Congress. Any person recording an unlawful video of you can face up to five years in prison plus a $500 fine under federal criminal law. You also might have a strong enough case to file a civil lawsuit that seeks an unlimited amount of monetary damages. However, filing a civil lawsuit means the defendant cannot face any criminal charges for violating your privacy.

    Many of the same states that require two-party consent for recording video have implemented harsher legal penalties. Working with one of the lawyers at Morgan and Morgan helps you determine whether to invoke state or federal law when it comes to the penalties associated with one or more acts that violated your right to privacy.

  • How Do I Prepare for an Invasion of Privacy Lawsuit?

    The key to winning an invasion of privacy lawsuit involves working closely with an experienced litigator who specializes in handling invasion of privacy cases. To prepare for an invasion of privacy lawsuit, your attorney follows several steps.

    Identify the Type of Invasion

    Invasion of privacy represents a broad legal term that needs to be narrowed down when litigating a civil case. You might successfully sue another party who has intruded on your expectation of privacy, such as shooting a video while you are at home or in another private setting where privacy is expected by every individual at the setting. Another party cannot shoot a video to use your name and likeness without your permission. This legal principle frequently applies to public figures that do not grant permission for the use of their celebrity status to make money.

    Identifying the type of privacy invasion allows your attorney to devise a legal strategy that not only stops the invasion of your privacy but also allows you to sue for monetary damages for the negative consequences of losing your right to privacy.

    Collect and Organize Evidence

    To file a successful civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages, your lawyer must acquire more than enough persuasive evidence that proves you suffered financial losses that were caused by an invasion of your privacy. Evidence can include photographs of the other party taking videos of you, as well as multiple witness accounts that verify your claim that you had your privacy violated by a video recording of your activities.

    One of the most compelling pieces of evidence collected during a privacy violation lawsuit is the video shot of you. The video should give your attorney a convincing argument that you expected privacy because you were located in a private setting or in a public setting where privacy was considered to be universally accepted.

    Apply State Law

    Each state recognizes up to four forms of invasion of privacy legal principles. Your lawyer must identify the state statutes that qualify you to invoke the right to privacy under one or more of the privacy principles enacted at the state level. Although a majority of states recognize all four invasion of privacy principles that bolster the legal strength provided at the federal level, your state might not have established enough legal support for you to file a civil lawsuit that seeks monetary damages.

    Many of the states that do not accept all four of the legal principles that guide invasion of privacy cases allow plaintiffs to pursue other types of legal remedies. For example, North Carolina allows plaintiffs in privacy invasion cases to rely on the tort of intentional infliction to demonstrate the triggering of emotional distress. This legal tactic is particularly effective in privacy violation cases if the other party intentionally caused you harm by shooting an unauthorized video of your activities.

    Document Everything

    Because invasion of privacy cases usually do not involve physical harm, showing you deserve compensation for your pain and suffering can be difficult to do. Nonetheless, documenting how an invasion of your privacy harmed you by keeping a journal can help you recover financial losses. If you received mental and emotional therapy as the result of an invasion of your privacy, the documents created by your therapist can help you gain approval of monetary damages as the result of the filing of a civil lawsuit.

    Decide on Legal Remedies

    Although an invasion of your privacy can cause financial losses, receiving monetary damages is not the only recourse you have to penalize the party that took an unauthorized video. Many states allow you to file a civil lawsuit that includes punitive damages, which a judge awards to deter the defendant from committing the same act of invasion of privacy in the future. You also might be able to get an injunction against the defendant to stop taking unauthorized videos of you or anyone else.

    If the defendant has made money by taking unauthorized videos of you, your lawyer might request that you receive all of the profits generated by the videos.

    To determine whether you can “sue someone for taking a video of me,” schedule a free case evaluation today with one of the experienced attorneys at Morgan and Morgan.

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