Is it legal to film someone and upload it to YouTube
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Someone uploaded a video of me on YouTube
It could be unlawful to film someone and upload the video to YouTube if the uploading of the video may interfere with your right to private life or with your right to have your data processed fairly.
It is not illegal in the UK to film someone in public even if you film them without their consent. However, the definition of a public place is often narrow as it does not include places such as restaurants, hotels or even football grounds. These are all private places. Whenever an individual goes to a private place, such as a restaurant, they enjoy a reasonable expectation of privacy. This rule also applies to crowded places. Filming an individual where he or she is expecting their experience to remain private, could be unlawful. Follow this link to read about the law concerning secret recording and the use of spy cameras
A private place might have a large number of people present and it will still be considered as private. The privacy element may be confined to the company of a selected group of people so you might attend an event, together with 500 people, and still expect your presence to remain private, among that group of people. Furthermore, whilst someone may agree to be filmed for a private use, you could still breach their privacy if you then upload their video to YouTube.
As a general rule, you have a right to privacy on YouTube. A breach of privacy could lead to legal action and an award of damages against the publisher. This means that if someone posts a video of you on YouTube without your consent, in many cases, you will be able to have the video taken down, on the basis of breach of your privacy. Whilst it might not be unlawful to film someone in a public place, publishing that video could breach their right to private life. There is a distinction between filming and publishing. So, whilst it might be legal to film someone in a public place, the legal position could change if you upload the video to YouTube.
Under European law, every individual owns their image, including their complexion, which means that if someone makes use of their image, they could potentially interfere with the individual’s rights to own their own image and with their right to private life. Under English law, the right to private life could mean that publishing a video which shows where or how an individual had been spending their time, could be considered as an interference with the individual’s right to private life.
Yes. You can defame someone by uploading their video, or a video they are featured on, to YouTube. Often, when you film someone in a public place, you will only acquire a snapshot of an event, which will have a history and a future. This means that by filming someone at a particularly unpleasant moment in their life, you could unfairly portray them in a bad light, which would result in the lowering of their reputation in the eyes of ordinary people. It also means that the video that you then upload to YouTube, will be viewed without context or in the wrong context.
This could result in the individual featured in the video, suing for defamation of character. Under English law, when it comes to defamation, it matters less what the precise meaning of the published words or images is as the emphasis is often on the entire publication and the context under which the individual is being portrayed. So just because you believe that you have captured a real moment in someone’s life, you cannot assume that uploading that moment to YouTube will be lawful.
A video on YouTube might be embarrassing because it was uploaded to YouTube without your permission or because it was uploaded to YouTube with your permission but since the upload you have experienced harassment or other types of distress. If someone filmed you and then uploaded the video to YouTube without your consent, you can have the video removed on the basis that the video had breached of your privacy. If the video is embarrassing, you might also be able to have it removed from YouTube on the basis of defamation.
Every video that features you on YouTube is considered as data. You therefore have a right to have your data processed by YouTube in accordance with the Data Protection Act and GDPR. The lawfulness of processing of your data by YouTube will need to be constantly reviewed. This means that perhaps a few years ago, YouTube would have been justified in keeping the video published but now, for one reason or another, the processing is no longer justified.
This might be because the video is now causing you mental or physical harm or that your circumstances have changed since the video was first uploaded to YouTube. If you want to remove an embarrassing video from YouTube, get in touch with us and we will have the video removed for you.