Sunday, November 2, 2014

Videotaping community association meetings-where do the owners' rights start and the directors' rights end?

Have you ever sat in a board or membership meeting only to notice at some point that someone in the audience is videotaping the meeting? Did the fact that you were being filmed concern you at all?

The Florida Legislature granted condominium and HOA members the right to videotape board and membership meetings. Florida cooperative owners can only videotape board meetings. However, that right is tempered by the fact that such taping is subject to reasonable board rules and regulations. The reasons for wanting to videotape a meeting can vary from member to member. Some people feel that it is the only possible method to accurately capture what transpires at a meeting; this is particularly true when a board does not provide timely and accurate meeting minutes after the fact. For other people, the ability to videotape may provide a handy tool to harass or annoy someone they don't like in the community. Many boards do create reasonable rules and restrictions regarding the videotaping of meetings and those rules typically require that someone planning to use such equipment advise the board in advance and tape from a certain distance during the meeting. In addition to thinking about how the person videotaping should conduct himself or herself, it is important to give some thought as to how those tapes will be used after they are made.

If you learn that tapes of your community meetings are being posted on Youtube or other public forums, you may have legitimate privacy and security concerns. Those tapes can reveal directors' faces and names (given at roll call) as well as such sensitive information as a director advising that he or she won't be at the next meeting because they will be out of town. At that point, it would not be difficult for someone to look up that person's property address in the Public Records and use that information for ill intentions.

The Florida shared ownership statutes unfortunately do not currently limit the use or distribution of videotapes by owners but the board can pass a rule limiting such use. However, it would be preferable if this loophole were closed statutorily by clarifying that videotapes made of association meetings cannot be posted in public forums. In the interim, there is certainly an argument to be made that prohibiting the posting of such videotapes in a public forum would constitute a reasonable board rule.

5 comments:

  1. So to be clear on what you are saying, there is NO way to prevent the posting of a recorded board meeting to social media. Correct?

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  2. Only people with something to hide worry about this. Normally the board members

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  3. Boards could pass a rule stating that a videotape of a meeting could not be posted on Social Media. Enforcing that rule, however, could be difficult. The best way to prevent the posting of videotapes of private residential meetings in a public forum would be to amend the statute.

    It is far too simplistic to paint this issue as board members having something to hide. Videotaping by the members can be a useful tool to use later if the board's memory on what was said or done becomes conveniently fuzzy and that same board fails to routinely create timely minutes. However, taping meetings does not automatically make people behave better at those meetings. The bottom line is that videotaping should be permitted but the later use of those tapes should be subject to reasonable regulation.

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  4. Donna, Is the prohibitive use of publishing those video's in anyway an anti-SLAPP violation? What if the publication of the video was on a closed FB users group only open to those owners who live in that association and are members of that FB group?

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