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  1. #1

    Default Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Wisconsin

    I have cameras in my house that record audio and video. The cameras are not disguised or hidden. I live alone, and they are positioned in the living room, kitchen and my bedroom. I am aware that you can record trespassers to your heart's content, but what about people who are invited? I am planning to leave the cameras recording audio and video during maintenance work by the landlord, for which I will not be present.

    1.) Can I record video and/or audio of invited guests? Or even of uninvited guests who have a lawful reason to enter such as police, landlord emergency, etc.
    2.) Does it change anything if I am physically present in the residence during recording?
    3.) Do I have to inform the guests of the recording in progress? If so, does plainly visible signs "Audio and video recording in progress" at both entrances suffice?
    4.) Regardless of the above answers, can I log in to the cameras to view the activity of guests live, but without making any recordings?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    My question involves criminal law for the state of: Wisconsin

    I have cameras in my house that record audio and video. The cameras are not disguised or hidden. I live alone, and they are positioned in the living room, kitchen and my bedroom. I am aware that you can record trespassers to your heart's content, but what about people who are invited? I am planning to leave the cameras recording audio and video during maintenance work by the landlord, for which I will not be present.

    1.) Can I record video and/or audio of invited guests? Or even of uninvited guests who have a lawful reason to enter such as police, landlord emergency, etc.
    2.) Does it change anything if I am physically present in the residence during recording?
    3.) Do I have to inform the guests of the recording in progress? If so, does plainly visible signs "Audio and video recording in progress" at both entrances suffice?
    4.) Regardless of the above answers, can I log in to the cameras to view the activity of guests live, but without making any recordings?
    Why would you want to record invited guests at all? That seems very off putting.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
    View Post

    1.) Can I record video and/or audio of invited guests? Or even of uninvited guests who have a lawful reason to enter such as police, landlord emergency, etc.
    2.) Does it change anything if I am physically present in the residence during recording?
    3.) Do I have to inform the guests of the recording in progress? If so, does plainly visible signs "Audio and video recording in progress" at both entrances suffice?
    4.) Regardless of the above answers, can I log in to the cameras to view the activity of guests live, but without making any recordings?
    This should answer all your questions:

    Wisconsin
    If the person who records the wire, electronic, or oral communication
    is a party to the conversation or has obtained prior consent
    from one party, he may lawfully record and divulge the contents of
    the communication, unless he does so for the purpose of committing
    a criminal or tortious act. Wis. Stat. 968.31.

    Under the statute, consent is not required for the taping of a non-electronic
    communication uttered by a person who does not have a
    reasonable expectation of privacy in that communication. See definition
    of “oral communication,” Wis. Stat. 968.27.

    Wisconsin law expressly authorizes civil damages for violations and
    allows recovery of the greater of actual damages, $100 for each day
    of violation or $1,000, along with punitive damages, litigation costs,
    and attorney fees. Wis. Stat. 968.31.

    Recording a communication without consent is criminally punishable
    by up to six years in prison and/ or a $10,000 fine. Wis. S tat.
    939.50.
    Quoted from Can We Tape:

    https://www.rcfp.org/wp-content/uplo.../CANWETAPE.pdf

    You can look up the statutes at:

    https://law.justia.com/codes/wisconsin/2018/

    Audio recording is your big problem. Video less so.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Why would you want to record invited guests at all? That seems very off putting.
    I am interested in the legalities and not so much moral or ethical considerations. However, since you brought it up, I included "guests" just so the question was complete. I don't record or monitor friendly guests. In fact, I have covers for the camera to give peace of mind when other people are over, and the cameras can be easily deactivated. I suppose covers wouldn't prevent audio recording, but I guess don't trash talk your host or talk about illicit activity when you're a guest somewhere and you're good. I am only interested in watching my pets when I'm not home, catching any intruders, or monitoring any business professionals that are doing work in the residence (landlord, cleaners, carpet layer, etc).

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
    View Post
    This should answer all your questions:
    Thanks, this information is helpful. I still do have questions. Would a landlord doing repairs (or some kind of other contracted laborer) have an expectation of privacy? There's no cameras that capture anything in a bathroom. It says you can always record consenting parties, so if you have the cameras in plain view and put visible signs up saying video/audio recording is in progress, would they be consenting by doing the work while knowing it's on camera? Also, I can't find anything that addresses whether or not you can view your cameras as a live feed without actually making recordings.

    Thanks again!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    Quote Quoting Aquarius9217
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    I am interested in the legalities and not so much moral or ethical considerations. However, since you brought it up, I included "guests" just so the question was complete. I don't record or monitor friendly guests. In fact, I have covers for the camera to give peace of mind when other people are over, and the cameras can be easily deactivated. I suppose covers wouldn't prevent audio recording, but I guess don't trash talk your host or talk about illicit activity when you're a guest somewhere and you're good. I am only interested in watching my pets when I'm not home, catching any intruders, or monitoring any business professionals that are doing work in the residence (landlord, cleaners, carpet layer, etc).


    Thanks, this information is helpful. I still do have questions. Would a landlord doing repairs (or some kind of other contracted laborer) have an expectation of privacy? There's no cameras that capture anything in a bathroom. It says you can always record consenting parties, so if you have the cameras in plain view and put visible signs up saying video/audio recording is in progress, would they be consenting by doing the work while knowing it's on camera? Also, I can't find anything that addresses whether or not you can view your cameras as a live feed without actually making recordings.

    Thanks again!
    Most of the time video is not a problem when those kinds of people are present in your home when you are not. Audio is more problematic. I don't see where you would really even need audio in the scenarios that you describe. You would be able to tell when your pets are agitated without audio and repairmen and the like are unlikely to say much at all.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    You can record anything that happens in your home or outside of your home regardless of who you record. You can view it real time on your phone or a computer.

    If you want to be cautious disable audio. It doesn't add much to the video anyway.

    There is no expectation of privacy inside you home or on your property by guests or strangers.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    There is no expectation of privacy inside you home or on your property by guests or strangers.
    A guest absolutely would have an expectation of privacy in at least some parts of the home such as bathrooms or bedrooms. If someone comes over to sleep with the homeowner they are absolutely not agreeing to be recorded without their permission.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    Is that what we are speaking about the privacy in a bathroom or bedroom? Or are we speaking about workers in the home?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Video and Audio Recording Guests in Wisconsin

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Is that what we are speaking about the privacy in a bathroom or bedroom? Or are we speaking about workers in the home?
    Workers in the home would have the same expectation of privacy. They have the right to take a dump without being recorded. Since they wouldn't,well shouldn't, be sleeping there the bedroom issue would generally be moot for them. OP also referred to guests and since you failed to qualify your statement and made it a blanket, clarification was necessary so OP or others who might see this thread didn't get the wrong impression.

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