Tuesday, September 28, 2010

'Heady' Film Doesn't Violate Maryland Wiretap Law

My Helmet cameraImage by ebel via Flickr
Hartford County (Md.) Circuit Court Judge Emory A. Pitt, Jr. has ruled that a man who used a motorcycle helmet camera to film a state trooper issuing him a traffic citation did not violate the state's wiretap law (Md. Code Ann. Courts & Judicial Proceedings sec.10-402).

Story Lab, a blog written by The Washington Post, reported that defendant Anthony Graber, a Maryland Air National Guard staff sergeant and computer systems engineer who faced a 16-year jail term, did not run afoul of the wiretap act when he posted the video on YouTube of the trooper stopping him for speeding on Interstate 95.

 Judge Pitt said the state could not sustain its wiretap case against Graber because the trooper performing his duties in public did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy, a necessary element of the offense. Judge Pitt also dismissed the charge against Graber of possessing a device (motorcycle helmet cam) whose primary purpose was intercepting oral communications.  The defendant must still answer for the alleged traffic infractions.

Graber is not the first filmmaker whose video ideas come off the top of his head.

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