Homeowner Installs Surveillance Cameras Specifically To Charge For Access To Footage



Town in KY builds roundabout at intersection.

Dude who lives next to new roundabout puts up a pole with 2 cameras overlooking entire intersection and thinks he's going to make some money by charging people (lawyers, insurance investigators, drivers, etc) for footage of mishaps in the roundabout.


  • Will this scheme work?
  • Would you pay this guy for footage if you needed it?
  • Could the guy be served a subpeona and be compelled to give up the footage?
  • Does the fact that his surveillance camera's FOVs are covering a public space have any bearing on determining if he can be compelled to give up the footage?

Depending on what he's charging. It may be cheaper and easier to pay the guy directly than to get a subpeona. In which case the guy is a genius. But if he's charging so much that it's easier to get a subpeona, then he's a moron.

This guy has a website up promoting it and talking about the intersection.

I don't think he's going to get rich, but he's clearly an entrepreneur.

I wonder, though, if you could really force him to turn over the video. I guess if it's a crime like vehicular manslaughter but if it's just a normal traffic accident?

Could the guy be served a subpeona and be compelled to give up the footage?

Served, yes. Compelled, probably. Kentucky requires only the signature of a lawyer licensed by the state bar and known to the court to have a subpeona duces tecum* served. Or a citizen pro se can file and have the court clerk sign one to be served. Here's the short form:

Dude could then try to quash (latin for squash) the motion on technical grounds, but in the end I think it's likely he would be compelled, because he himself admits he has them. It would be like compelling his testimony if he was a known eye-witness to a crash.

On the other hand I agree with Ari that it would be worth something to not have to go the court to get access after a possibly lengthy delay. Furthermore the subpeona requires that you actually have filed a case, something you may not want to do until you have seen the footage. Also a non-party subpeona requires you to notify opposing counsel of your request, and then the court will also notify all parties if and when the subpoena materials arrive.

So there may be good reason that an insurance investigator would pay for private access to the footage. But isn't there still something morally remiss about doing nothing but waiting around for a pile-up, and the bigger the better? Even ambulance chasers have to chase, right?

If the guy really wants to make it tough on the subpoena process though, I would recommend setting the VMS system clock ahead 113 days, 7 hours and 33 minutes... and the time zone to Fiji, just to make it easy when he hands over the drive. ;)

*duces tecum is a latin term which can be loosely translated as take'um docs

All the above is IMHO since IANAL, and anyway I know you know this stuff already, Marty.

"But isn't there still something morally remiss about doing nothing but waiting around for a pile-up, and the bigger the better?"

I think so, yes. Which was the entire reason I posted this story. I don't like this guys style at all.

On his web page he posts links to LE and helpful tips about how to negotiate a roundabout, while positioning himself to profit from people who fail to navigate this new traffic configuration successfully. He drops $2500 on a pole and 2 cameras and expects to recoup that layout PLUS turn a profit. So either he charges a LOT for clips, or he is projecting a LOT of requests. In essence he is betting that KY drivers are too stupid to be able to figure out a roundabout.

Personally, I find this innately objectionable. So much so, that if I were with the KY DOT I would install a public camera at the roundabout, offer free URL access to anyone who wants it - and tell this dude to commence pounding sand.

NOTE: I used 'pounding sand' to keep the string clean. :)

He's waiting for a pile up???

Is an emergency room doctor waiting for you to get sick? Is a firefighter waiting for your house to burn down?

He's providing a valuable service which is to provide evidence to solve disputes. If his camera was not there, it would be a 'he said, she said' situation.

This dude is trying to benefit monetarily from the misfortune of others while maintaining a public stance of setting up his rig to 'help' them. This (in a nutshell) is why I don't like his scheme.

The role of doctors and firefighters is not simply reactionary - they expend a lot of effort on teaching preventative measures so, ideally, you never have to use their sevices. This guys only preventative measure is the weak-ass 'how to drive in a roundabout' link.

He is hoping drivers have mishaps so he can make money.

And as far as 'he said, she said', I doubt most roundabout mishaps occur with just two drivers present. There should be plenty of eye-witnesses in surrounding vehicles to provide statements when someone fails to navigate the roundabout correctly.

Is a firefighter waiting for your house to burn down?

Meet Fred, your personal firefighter. In an effort to improve accountability, CuttingEdge Community has adopted a one to one servant to citizen ratio. Don't worry about the cost though, you only pay him if you have a fire. In which case he puts out your fire and then promptly buys a Ferrari (red, of course) and takes a year-long vacation in the Bahammas. Don't worry though, Frank will gladly cover till he gets back...

Do you think Fred is waiting for your house to burn down? Do you care?

In essence he is betting that KY drivers are too stupid to be able to figure out a roundabout.

If they're anything like BC drivers, I'd say it's a sucker bet - roundabouts started going in here (Metro Vancouver region) a good dozen or so years ago, with more and more of them popping up lately, and an amazing number of people STILL don't understand the rules. At least once every three times I have to go through one, I either get stuck behind some bozo who thinks he needs to stop before entering it, or another bozo who stops IN the roundabout to wait for someone else to enter, or I nearly get creamed by someone who doesn't understand the "yield to traffic in roundabout" signs placed prominently at each entrance, or wants to speed into it as fast as possible to make sure he's ahead of me (then slows to a crawl, of course).

No mishaps yet (touch wood) thanks largely to my own skill and assumption that the other guy is always going to do something stupid... but it's only a matter of time.

That is a good plan you operate by... 'the other guy is always going to do something stupid'.

I assume this at all times - not just when entering roundabouts. :)

Learning the new driving pattern that roundabouts dictate is certainly a learned process - so why do municipalities build them? Because once people figure out how to use them without clenching their butt-cheeks, roundabouts can reduce congestion caused by stopping and starting at intersections.

New Jersey - which I am confident has more traffic congestion throughout based on it's small geographic size and massively concentrated population - has used roundabouts forever. It aint rocket science - but it does have a learning curve.

Roundabouts work great IF drivers know how to use them (witness some videos of five-or-more-lane roundabouts in Europe, with huge masses of traffic flying through steadily). Problem around here is, I don't think any driver training material has ever really focused on them. When I got my license (1986-ish), there was a single page in the training booklet describing roundabouts, and as far as I know, this hasn't changed to this day.

To provide a little more framing for the location... This new double lane roundabout sits at the edge of a 21k student university. To my knowledge this is the first such intersection in this and the surrounding area. So in addition to local regular traffic 4-5,000 relatively new drivers will be hitting this spot every year in an already traffic congested area. It's not so much about stupidity as just lack of experience (ignorance). Fingers crossed it works out ok. ( I have to drive though it every day).

Some great local color Jeppie - thanks! :)

I would maintain that the existing congestion problem was the reason the DOT is introducing a different traffic pattern at that intersection.

Will it take some time to learn to navigate the roundabout with confidence? Sure. It's new to most everyone who enters it.

However, because it's new most drivers are going to be very cautious when entering a roundabout. This will cause confusion, honking of horns, and provoke many 'stops and starts' as people don't easily grasp the flow structure if they haven't seen it before.

Because of this factor, I think there will be less actual accidents - even right away.

I hope nobody ever asks the dude for footage and he eats that $2500. :)

Exclusive / Breaking :) IPVM Gets Feedback from the Surveillance Proprietor himself.

Brian Gugler responded to my web contact request:

"My fee for my time and downloading an event is $150.00 at this time...

I have already received requests from individuals to purchase their trip around the roundabout."

Again, I think this is reasonable. Of course, he's not going to retire soon from this (well unless he puts all his proceeds into Avigilon stock).

I have already received requests from individuals to purchase their trip around the roundabout."

Does he have any plans for an in-loop smartphone app?

Because of this factor, I think there will be less actual accidents - even right away.

I would say less serious accidents, especially right away. Till the 'familiarity breeds contempt' factor kicks in after a couple years and everyone skillfully negotiates the turns like its the final lap of the Firestone 500... Everyone except for that couple of lost foreigners trying to actually read the turnout signs while driving around inside what must seem like a Sunbeam blender on puree...

Although I am sincere when I say it should reduce serious accidents, there is something extra terrifying about roundabout accidents that you don't have in the typical 'Out of nowhere - Bam!' stoplight violation ones... And nobody remembers the number of accidents, just the novelty of the accident. Like the way we are more scared of flying than driving even though its way safer. And so are roundabouts.

P.S. Pun Score of 'A' awarded to your (Marty's) 'Roundabout learning curve'

I think it would be a good idea to set a calendar reminder a year from now to ask how many video retrievals he's done and how much money he has made.

Footage from first paying customer?

Can't think that it will work for him but it may depend on the country. Seems a little ambitious by the howmowner to me especially since he is recording public space. Nevermind that most insurance claims are done without any footage anyway.

What he should do instead is install cameras around roads and highways and stream these to a webserver that allows people to log in and view severely limited frames (maybe 1 or 2 per minute) simply for traffic purposes. He can then charge people a fee for access to the service.

There is probably already something in his area run by government anyway. Here in SA a similar service is available using government road cameras (all Pelco for interest) and the footage is free.

I've got customers who mount cameras on private properties near surfing spots and charge customers for access to the video. It's a good way to check out the conditions in real time HD, and it's cheap enough to be worth it. I don't see how this is any different, really.

Dear @Marty, I am in it with both feet on it! As we speak today I am scouraging my nearish walking grounds with hearty leaps of great gusto! By some token, I hope more or less the same finds you. Your KY man's idea's is genuine good -- but now I have made it most twistiest of all. listen then and correct me senselessly.

A plan so simple: just then I to go to worst smashed bang-ups and hoodwrecker's intersection's of Belgrade (this I know), and politely offer free nice camera for homesteaders just for their security, ONLY if I can point lens of mine camera to naildown collision photos from on their grassed front perchtops.

Problem, is it legalled, and what do they sign to make it ok?

Look at most of KY law, it seems pretty much basically the same as most of our laws, same things, with same meaning and broadly repeated words, so helpful ?!


While I enjoy your colorful enthusiasm, my whole issue with the KY guy is that he is attempting to profit off of the misfortune of others. That's it. I just don't like that part of it - it feels wrong to me.

Now, I am not saying that everyone should think or feel like I do regarding this scheme... or that one or the other is 'right' or 'wrong'. I just saw the story - didn't like the 'feel' of it - and wondered how other people thought, so I posted it.

The majority apparently have no issue with the scheme - and that's cool too.

The world (and this forum) would be really boring if everyone agreed with me all the time... :)

"my whole issue with the KY guy is that he is attempting to profit off of the misfortune of others. That's it. I just don't like that part of it - it feels wrong to me."

Oh I agree with you too. Leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Ok Dokey. You are so right. I confess by sweat of swollen eyes that when you and your moral molasses crept down with that heavy thick-ness on my plans, I too felt greedily wrong, but no more to worry, here I promise change:

I for one shall not one profit if one is injured. I will help them along for free. Instead only ridiculously easy tarjet of minor haggled disputants will be my exclusive clientel. But Where is there slow bumper busting at?

Please to meet Slavjia Square, but better known as belly-bottom of Belgrade

Tell it your friends to tell on to theyre friends, if in Belgrade, drive safely around while you can, but if they cant help themselves, then definately best place to wreck-it-up would be the NE corner of square, out of loop, prefer mid-day.

Just A kidder on the last )