Can I be exposed on TV without my consent?

Asked almost 3 years ago - Hilo, HI

Someone posted a video of me while on drugs in a fight on youtube without my permission. I am in the process of getting this removed from youtube. However, the video was put on truetv without my permission and this has affected my job, my school, and the community that I live in. This is from my past and I feel that they didn't have a right to put it on TV without my permission. What can I do about this? How can I get them to not show it on TV again?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Neil Alan Wehneman

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . Were you in a public place when the video was recorded? If that was the case, then you likely did not have a privacy right in the actions that were recorded, and you'll have a very tough time making the video "go away" under an invasion of privacy claim.

    If the video was recorded while you were in a private dwelling, you MIGHT have an invasion of privacy claim, but it's still going to be an uphill fight.

    If the video is being intentionally posted in order to cause you emotional distress, you MIGHT have a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED), but that tort is also an uphill climb. Courts are very hesitant to find IIED, and you generally have to show that the actions (posting the video) are not simply rude, but also beyond all bounds of human decency.

    You can continue to ask YouTube and TrueTV (and others) to take the video down, but it might be a bit like playing "whack-a-mole."

    You'll need to talk to a lawyer licensed in your jurisdiction to figure out if you can force anyone to take the video down and/or stop posting it in the first place.

    - Neil Wehneman

    The standard disclaimers apply. These are general statements of law, and not legal advice, because I do not have... more
  2. Mitchell Paul Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Be careful what you do because it can come back to haunt you. What you do in public is fair game. What you do in private depends on who else is present.

  3. Christine C McCall

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . In Hawaii, any electronic communication (including cellular phone calls and video) can lawfully be recorded by a person who is a party to the communication, or when one of the parties has consented to the recording, so long as no criminal or tortious purpose exists. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 803-42. Divulging any private message or photographic image by electronic transmission, without the consent of either the sender or the receiver, is a misdemeanor if the accused knows that the message was unlawfully intercepted. Unlawful interceptions or disclosures of private communications are punishable as felonies. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 803-42.

    The one-party consent rule does not apply, however, to the installation of a recording device in a “private place” that will amplify or broadcast conversations outside that private place. All parties who have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that place must consent to the installation of a recording device. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1111.

    Civil penalties for unlawful interception or disclosure include the greater of actual damages or any profits made by the violator, $100 for each day of violation, or $10,000, along with punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 803-48. A hotel room has been found by the Hawaii Supreme Court to be a private place where a recording device cannot legally be installed without the consent of the room’s occupants. Hawaii v. Lo, 675 P.2d 754 (Haw. 1983).

    It is a felony to install or use a surveillance device in a private place to view a person in a “stage of undress or sexual activity” without the person’s consent. If the person is not in such a stage, it is a misdemeanor. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1111. It is also a misdemeanor to possess materials obtained through illegal surveillance. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1110.9.

    As you can see, the legality of the video-taping and subsequent publication depend on the specific factual circumstances of the incident. Assuming that your conduct occurred in circumstances where you can sustain a claim of legally-protected expectations of privacy, your best bet is to make the case to You-Tube that the taping was in violation of your State law. Then you should have an attorney serve the poster with legal notice and consider whether there are sufficient damages to justify a civil suit.

    But, even assuming that you were in a situation where you had a legal right to expect privacy, videos posted on the Web represent a frontier where legal remedies may be wholly inadequate to redress the harm. The Internet is forever, as many are learning. Learn from this experience.

    My responses to questions on Avvo are never intended as legal advice and must not be relied upon as legal advice.... more

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