Select Page

Vlogging is a fantastic way to bring people into your life and grow trust with an audience of potential customers. I love vlogging because it is a way to take an audience through your day. By allowing people into your life a little bit it helps grow the relationship with your audience quicker than text posts or highly produced corporate videos. The problem is that when you are out and about in public spaces you may be breaking laws that you didn’t even know existed! Here, I have found the laws and regulations for a number of countries relating to filming in public.

Vlogging laws can vary from place to place and country to country. As a general rule for most countries, you are allowed to film in a public place. You are not allowed to film people in a place where they can expect privacy – like a bathroom or changing room. I recommend that, if asked to stop recording, you do. I often end up talking to the person who asked me to stop and they are much more open to hearing about why I am recording and become interested in my project.

The dangers of vlogging in public

I have been vlogging and posting daily content on LinkedIn for a little over a year at the time of writing this article. I slowly became more and more confident about filming in public. I would walk and talk as I go down the street and I was starting to really feel at ease with it all!

Then this happened:

I was stopped while filming on the other side of the street and was followed to my home by a person accusing me of filming into his house.

By the way, I still have people mention this video to me and for many people, it is still the one thing they remember about me and mt video content. So it just goes to show that a problem like this can work out for the better!

A simple misunderstanding made me double guess my right to film in public and look up the filming laws for Australia and a few other places in the world to see what you can and can’t do.

Here’s the results of that investigation:

Filming in Public Laws

Vlogging laws Australia:

Under Australian law, you are generally entitled to film in a public space without anyone’s consent. But there are situations where you will need permission, and the purpose for which you are filming will guide you as to whether you need a permit, and from whom. The law does not generally prevent the filming of someone in a public space without their consent. Australia doesn’t have a Bill of Rights that enshrines the right to privacy. If someone does not want to be filmed, they can put their hand over their face or cover it by some other means so they can’t be identified (which you have probably seen everyone from celebs to defendants do on TV). But they can’t demand your memory card, or to have the images or footage deleted.

https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/do-i-need-permission-to-film-in-a-public-place/

The bottom line:

Film in any public space but don’t be mean if someone asks you to stop. I normally say I will and move on!

Vlogging Laws USA

Most video recordings are legal with or without consent. There are very few laws which prohibit video recording of any kind, but that being said there are some laws prohibiting video recordings in areas of expected privacy without consent. These may include areas such as bathrooms, locker rooms, changing/dressing rooms, adult bedrooms, and other areas where a person should expect a high level of personal privacy. Generally the majority of the laws dealing with video recording privacy issues tend to allow surreptitious recording and monitoring of video activity under most circumstances without notification of any of the parties involved. So far, in some cases the courts have allowed video recordings of nannies, elder care employees, and other types of video recordings made with covert cameras without the subject’s consent.

https://www.palmvid.com/legal-information-regarding-audio-and-video-recording.html

The bottom line:

Film in any public space but don’t be mean if someone asks you to stop. Like most places make sure that you don’t record in areas where there is an expectation of privacy.

Vlogging Laws UK

Amateur movie makers, whether IAC members or not, are unlikely, in the course of normal movie making in a public place, to have any problems with the police unless they are causing an obstruction. Neither members of the media nor the general public need permits to film or photograph in public places and police officers have no power to stop you filming or photographing incidents or police personnel. If your filming is questioned by a police officer, explain calmly and politely what you are doing. Follow any advice given by the officer. Chief Police Officers have made it clear that only highly unusual circumstances should prevent the taking of pictures in a public place. You can download here statements from:  

– The Association of Chief Police Officers (covering England, Wales and Northern Ireland) statement.    

– The Association of Chief Police Officers of Scotland statement.

https://www.theiac.org.uk/resourcesnew/filming-in-public/filming-in-public.html

The bottom line:

Film in any public space but don’t be mean if someone asks you to stop. Record with respect for others.

Vlogging Laws GERMANY         

Usually in public spaces, you’ll not need a permit to film if your gear is handheld, however the laws can vary from state to state. Germany has 16 states, figure out where your location is and look for the respective rules. If a filming permit is required, you’ll at least need an insurance, if you’re filming near a street, no matter if you are going to use a car, you will likely need a car and traffic related accident insurance, simply because you could be involved in an accident that involves a vehicle or in general “traffic”. In the city state of Berlin you’ll need a permit to shoot in public, especially if you’ll have any sort of non-handheld object involved in a public space.

https://law.photography/law/filming-permits-in-germany

The bottom line:

The law can vary from state to state but you generally do not need a permit to film in public.

Vlogging Laws FRANCE

Broadcasting or publishing images requires the prior consent of the people photographed or filmed as well as from the managers of any public institutions and monuments involved in photographing or filming. Filming in public places is, in principle, subject to authorization.
However, photographing and filming in public may take place without prior approval for minor operations such as:

  • handheld or tripod camera reports
  • architectural photographs with or without a stand
  • fashion photographs with or without a stand
  • training school exercises

https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/press-room/terms-and-conditions-for-filming-in-france/

The bottom line:

Minor operations are fine – which means that vlogging is allowed as long as you do not cause any public issues.

Vlogging Laws SPAIN

In Spain, you can film and photograph anything in the public domain, without permission unless you need to occupy public space to do so. So in practice you need a permit to actually put a tripod down in the street and film. The basic film permit is for ‘ocupación de la vía pública’, which means occupying the public right of way.

https://www.film-it-in-spain.com/styled/permits.html

Reference Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography_and_the_law

The bottom line:

You need a permit to actually put a tripod down in the street and film. But Filming into the public domain is allowed. Just don’t place anything in the public space.

The final word

I’ve found throughout my vlogging journey that being right and arguing what you are and are not allowed to do tends to go nowhere. And feels pretty gross too!

Even though you are now more informed I recommend that, if asked to stop recording, you do. I often end up talking to the person who asked me to stop and they are much more open to hearing about why I am recording and become interested in my project.

Treat everyone with respect and your recording and vlogging journey will be much more relaxing and fun!

Enjoy your vlogging journey!