Saratoga Springs, NY asked in Real Estate Law for New York

Q: What are the laws regarding webcams and "reasonable expectation of privacy". A neighbor wants my nature cam moved.

I live on a lake and have a webcam in my window that shows my yard and the lake. It also shows mine and my neighbors dock. The docks extend out to the water from the two lots. Cam can be viewed on my website 24/7. My neighbors have asked me to move the camera when they are home on the weekends because they do not want to be seen on their dock. I understand their privacy concern, but If I move the camera to the left, a massive tree interferes with the view of the lake. They have been here for 2 years and the cam has been there for 6 years. Many people use the camera and rely on it including the local sailing/rowing clubs, fishermen, and residents. The local ABC station uses the camera on their weather segments. Do I legally have to move this camera? You cannot tell who is who on the camera, you can just tell that there are people out on the dock. The camera is not directed toward their windows or their yard. It simply points out my guest bedroom window and the shows the entire lake.

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4 Lawyer Answers
Michael David Siegel
Michael David Siegel
Answered
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: I do not see a problem.

Barry E. Janay
PREMIUM
Barry E. Janay PRO label
Answered
  • Florham Park, NJ
  • Licensed in New York

A: It's technically their problem, not yours. The dock is visible from many areas and if they don't want it to be they should put up a screen or a fence. What's to stop someone from across the lake setting up a camera looking at their dock? All this being said, they are your neighbors and reaching a compromise that you both would be happy with is probably in both of your best interests in the long run.

Peter Klose
PREMIUM
Peter Klose
Answered
  • Nyack, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: There are two layers to this question, the legal and the practical. From a legal perspective, I am unaware of any rule, regulation, or other law that prohibits your camera's view. From a practical point of view, do you really want to pick this fight with your neighbors? We all have to live in society, and it can get really nasty to have disgruntled neighbors. You clearly know how they feel . . . .

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Answered
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Licensed in New York

A: Are you publishing the footage? Are you seeing into their home? More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AEesq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

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