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We actually had an interesting discussion on this not too long ago. Here’s a link.
From what professional advice I have looked into, there’s a general assumption that if you are in a public place, your rights to privacy are pretty much flung out the window. Especially places like beaches or popular tourist attractions, where it’s almost a certainty that there are a half-dozen cameras rolling. Additionally, if you’re zoomed out so far that you can’t even make out who the people are, you should be more than safe. I’ve been told that it’s definitely best to get rlease forms for anyone you can make out on a video, ESPECIALLY if that video is going to be publically displayed. The bottom line is that you have every right to tape in public places, as does anyone else who goes to that place. If people show up in that place, there’s an assumption that they realize this right.
Of course, with all touchy matters such as this, your best advice if you want to know the “right way” to do things is to speak with a lawyer. They’ll tell you the law, and you can decide if you’re within your rights to tape. Having said that, I tape in public all the time, and I’ve never been sued.