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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
Satisfied Customers: 29312
Experience:  Attorney
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We are looking to shoot a dden camera video. We want to

Customer Question

We are looking to shoot a hidden camera video.
We want to check refrigerator repair technicians to see if they will scam customers and make up a problem that is not there.
We will have our certified refrigerator repair technician make a very simple problem in a refrigerator (disconnecting the fan) and call technicians to perform a diagnostic.
We will set up hidden cameras in our apartment and video it.
We than want to post it on youtube, facebook, and send it to newspapers.
We are a home services company so it will probably be considered a commercial of sort (not sure)
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

New York law allows a telephone conversation to be recorded with the consent of any one party to the conversation, which can be your repair technician. N.Y. Penal Laws, Sections 250.00 - 250.05. It is a felony to record a conversation without the consent of someone who is in the conversation, whether over the phone or in person, so if you will not have an employee present AT ALL TIMES that the tech is in the apartment, any hidden cameras could only record video, not audio.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If i have an employee of our company (acting as the homeowner that needs the repair) next to the technician that is repairing the refrigerator it is ok to record video and audio and post it to youtube?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

As long as he's part of the conversation. If he's just listening to other people talk and not contributing, that wouldn't be allowed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yeah he will act as the homeowner.. Show the technician the problem and talk with him.
Now i heard that it's not allowed to record that for commercial purposes.
Are you sure i'm allowed to record them (video & audio) and then post it online as a commercial?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Do you mean that you want to use these other videos for advertising for your own company?

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

If you're going to be recording someone and then selling the video or otherwise profiting from it, you need the subjects to sign releases. That can't be done without consent.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I wrote that in the question.. We are a home service company and want to use this as a social experiment to see how many technicians will tell the truth and know how to repair the problem.
We are not interested in selling it but we will have our logo on the video and use it for youtube advertisements
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry. I did not interpret posting on free websites and sending to the newspapers to mean you were doing this for profit. That's going to require the consent of your subjects.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Can you define what does it mean to profit from it? This is exactly what i'm trying to understand..
Is having our logo on the video means we are profiting from it? Or is it only if we use it in our advertising?
Is there a clear definition of what profiting from it means? (we are not planning to sell it in any way)
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Having your logo on it would mean you were using the videos for commercial gain. If you're posting on your own Facebook page to encourage people to use your services instead of another company's, that's commercial gain. And so is using it in your advertising.

Basically, if your business is potentially going to benefit, or if benefiting your company is your purpose, that's commercial gain.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
if i hire a 3rd party production company to do it and they will use us as the professional to test the technician and mention our name as the company that help them to conduct the test that's ok right?
We will be mentioned there but as a company that help them. We are not the one conducting it and we can post it on our facebook to show how this production company used us in their video.If i understand correctly, as long as it's done by the 3rd party production company and they use us to check the technicians that are being recorded this is not considered a commercial that we made meaning we are allowed to post it on our facebook even though we are gaining from it right?Or, if we blur their faces will we be allowed to use it as a commercial?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

No, that's unfortunately not correct. Since you're still causing the video to be made and still the one hoping to benefit from it, you're still using the video to make money - you're just outsourcing the work.

You'd have to blur not only the faces, but also their company name and logo.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok, and if i blur their face, company name, and logo i can use the video and audio for my commercial?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You can still only use audio if you have the consent of one party to the conversation.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
of course.
So to sum it up and make sure i understand.
If i have my employee there conversing with the technician at all time and blur their faces, logo, and company name, i'm allowed to use it for commercial and profit from it correct?
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

You also can't edit the video to show the other party in a false light or to include any untrue statements.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 1 year ago.

And the only way to prevent someone from suing you is to have them sign a release. Our system allows anyone to go to court at any time, so I can't promise that no company will file a lawsuit against you if you make these videos. No one can make that promise.