Rebroadcasting on personal site

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jhwker

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Put a live feed on my website rebroadcasting KHP conventional and trunked county safety. Within one day I got a call from one of our local law enforcement officers telling me to shut it down. He said that if I did not have written permission from each agency rebroadcasted that I was looking to get fined heavily. He also told me that if he ever caught me with a portable scanner on my person or in my car he was going to confiscate the hardware and run me before a judge.
I have searched the Kansas Statutes and read a few of the discussions on the subject of rebroadcasting and as far as the Kansas Statutes go there is nothing saying you can not rebroadcast. The discussions I have read are clear as mud, some say don't do it and some say it is OK.
I figure that if Kansas feeds can be carried on RadioReference without the operators being arrested and their equipment confiscated that it should be a safe bet that I can rebroadcast on my personal site. As far as having a scanner in the car or on my person that is not something I do often at all. And then only at an airshow or some other event.
Anyone know exactly what is legal? Is this officer making up his own set of rules or is there something there?

Confused...
 

KAA951

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Call his bluff!

There is nothing in Kansas statute that deals with mobile scanners or broadcasting a scanner feed over a website. This is not the state of Illinois (Thank God!)

You might check your local city ordinances just to confirm there is no local ordinance concerning mobile scanners- but I highly doubt one exists.
 

jhwker

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Central Kansas
You might check your local city ordinances just to confirm there is no local ordinance concerning mobile scanners- but I highly doubt one exists.
Thanks for the input. I have checked with the city and the county and neither one has anything about rebroadcasting or having scanners in your home, on your person, or in your car.

What I am thinking is that I will start rebroadcasting on the site again and when/if he calls again call his bluff. I suspect he just doesn't like the idea of others listening in on him at work...

Didn't I used to hear KAA951 as a call sign years ago in the Salina area? Sounds real familiar.
 

SCPD

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I don't know that I'd call his bluff without first checking with a lawyer in your area.

Sadly, there are many here who believe that they are experts on law and hold no degree in law, or are a member of a bar association. Don't go by what you are told here by these experts. Cover your butt and get an lawyers opinion. It will cost you, but I bet paying that lawyer would be cheaper than going through a trial.
 

tipster67

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I would first place a call to the state attorney general's office. They would be able to point you to any and all laws on the matter. Next your local prosecutor should be called and asked about Local laws. Since these are the two who would have to take you to court.
 

K4IHS

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Did the officer ID himself? Contact the PD Chief and ask what law(s) you are breaking. If you don't get a prompt answer... ask the city fathers. Or call your local TV or newspaper. They are always looking for stories. You can't get in any trouble for asking questions.
 

jhwker

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Central Kansas
Thanks for all the input. Seems Lots of cya needs to be done to ensure rebroadcasting is allowed. I already checked with the city and county attorneys they said there was nothing in local code prohibiting rebroadcasting. The state statutes say nothing about the issue either.
I would think that if the AG had issue he would have gone after the 20 or so feeds here on RR including the ones that originate in the state capital. But it probably wouldn't hurt to call the AG's office either.
 

Gadgetman728

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The only town in Kansas that I know of that has any laws on Scanners is Hutchinson. There is an city ordinance against Hand Held scanners in Vehicles. Permanently mounted mobile units are OK. I've programmed a few Pro-97's for Wichita PD officers, but they say they're not too crazy about everyone having the TAC TG's.
McPherson Police really don't like Scanners. Salina cops are gestapo, they probably hate scanners and scanner listeners. My .02 - Gadget

After Thought - I wouldn't put any sensitive Wichita Talk Groups up on the air, that might piss some one off. In this day of terrorists, drug dealers and crooks, I wouldn't want to hinder the Law work in any way.
 
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n5ims

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While this advice is generally good, how widely did you advertise your stream (word-of-mouth and otherwise)? It makes me wonder how they found it within a single day unless you were very publicly talking it up or had pre-announced it would go up earlier.

Yes, I know that a google search with the right terms would probably bring it up, but just how often do you think your local PD would do these searches. It often takes some time for a new site to be found by the search engines and new features may also take some time to show up as well, unless they are on somewhat popular sites. It may just've been your bad luck to launch the stream just prior to the search engine's bot scanning your site and the local PD happening to search for their stuff right after the bot's info got loaded. With luck like that, be sure and cover your bases well, just in case.

Regardless, good luck with your stream! Hopefully that call is the only negative thing that comes out of it for you.
 

SKINNY1

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jhwker, As a Law Enforcement Officer I can assure you that you are not breaking any laws. The only exception to this would be if the city/county you are living in has a law prohibiting the use of a scanner in a motor vehicle. If you are a amateur radio operator then you are good to go as federal law trumps any city/county laws/ordinances and having a ham radio license allows you to have the radio in your car. If you look on the internet there are several cities in Kansas where people are rebroadcasting their local police on the internet.
 
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talkpair

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Clinton County, MO
I don't think a phone call cuts it.
You have no way to verify the authenticity of the call.
They have no way to verify the identity of the person they spoke with.

If you get further calls, ask for something in writing.....This eliminates the "he said / she said" problems.
Also makes everyone involved accountable for their actions.

This almost sounds like someone not even connected with law enforcement that's giving you problems.
 

joekansas

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I have checked with the city and the county and neither one has anything about rebroadcasting or having scanners in your home, on your person, or in your car.
Thinking aloud here......... I figure now that you have brought this to their attention, someone in a position of authority is going to have a brainstorm that maybe we should pre-empt these "scanner nuts" and go ahead and get an ordinance in place to ban everything you have asked them about.

They say "thanks for the heads up- we didn't even think about doing that, but now that you mention it, we may as well get one in place."
 

jhwker

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Central Kansas
Well, the feed has been back online for several days now and the log shows that it has been getting some listeners.
The "Law enforcement" official who was so quick to call me last time either has not checked in or has given up on shutting the feed down. I still don't know how he found the feed on its first day of operation the last time, I had not told anyone about the feed.

As far as checking with the authorities and spurring them on to outlaw rebraodcasting goes. If I had not checked and they came down on me saying "I did not know it was illegal" is not a valid defense. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. You do not get a free pass for being ignorant.
 

n5ims

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As far as checking with the authorities and spurring them on to outlaw rebraodcasting goes. If I had not checked and they came down on me saying "I did not know it was illegal" is not a valid defense. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. You do not get a free pass for being ignorant.
While you're correct about the "no free pass", checking with a lawyer would've provided you with the legal opinion you needed without alerting the authorities about the activities. By alerting the authorities you may have both opened yourself up to issues (harrassment is one of these) and the letting them know that there may be the need for a new law to prohibit the actions if one doesn't currently exist. An lawyer should fully research the associated laws, if any, and give you standing that you acted in good faith based on their response (and should be covered by their liability insurance if their answer wasn't correct).

Hopefully you asked the authorities in writing and got a written response by someone that's legally authorized (and required) to give a valid response. Just a phone call to the local PD and asking will provide you no legal standing in court if action is taken, regardless of what answer you received, while a formal letter from the District Attorney locally and Attorney General for state laws will show you did in fact make a valid effort to verify the legality of your actions.
 

joekansas

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I wonder: why should he (or anyone else who rebroadcasts transmissions) need authority or permission to retransmit something that is out on the airwaves and available to the general public to receive on a scanner.

Would there be any difference in a fellow gathering an auditorium full of folks and letting them all listen to his scanner audio. IF the broadcast isn't copyrighted, it isn't scrambled, or anything else I haven't thought of, what is keeping him from listening or letting the world wide web listen?

Rebroadcasting is just enabling a different sector of the public who otherwise may not be able to hear these mesages to take them in.

Something that just came to mind was that recent hullaballooo about the air traffic controller who brought his kids to work and let them talk on the radio (the short story). Evidently, that radio traffic is broadcast via web and I think also recorded, becasue they played and replayed those transmissions on the news for a few days trying to revvv up the public outrage against it.

I see no difference in either of those two types of broadcasts. The PD is likely to drum up the excuse that you can't rebroadcast us because of homeland security issues, and I would counter that claim with the fact that if you can rebroadcast air traffic control with no recrimination, you PD types have no leg to stand on.
 

joekansas

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I just read another post on the general scanning forum. It concerns "what happens if I hear something on the scanner and I have valuable info which could help the police~should I call them and give it to the prefacing my statement with "I heard you guys on the scanner"...........

In a nutshell, this is what we are discussing here. Our hobby has us in the shadows, eavesdropping with a scanner, wanting to tell everyone what we hear, but all the while hoping the authorities don't disable our ability to do so.
 

n0lqt

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Howe, TX
This particular argument has been hashed around several times on this site and many others, usually in regard to agencies going to full-time encryption. But it still comes down to the issue of transparency:

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" Or "Who guards the guardians?"

The police belong to us, the citizens. They work for us. To protect us. (incidentally, not individually, but as society as a whole) When law enforcement insists on working in the dark and behind a screen, you can be sure your rights are slipping away from you. Yes, we as society, expect the police to protect us from those that would try to destroy society or harm it. But must we still insist that it be done above board and in the light of day, where everyone can see it. If this hinders them from being as efficient as they want to be, then we, as society, must accept that too.

If this agency is upset that others can hear what they say, then maybe they need to rethink what they are doing. If what they are doing cannot stand the light of public scrutiny, then they very probably should not be doing it. If this means they have to work harder to catch a criminal or terrorist wh is using a scanner to keep track of the police, so be it. Yes, there is a need to protect some information law enforcement uses, but that need is to protect the individual. I probably would not want the police to put out over the scanner that I am on vaction this week and no one is at home and I requested extra patrol around my house. There are other means of disseminating that information to the officers who need it, maybe not as easily as putting it out over the radio at the beginning of shift, but it can be done. Do they realize that any person, can file a Freedom of Information Request and get copies of all the radio traffic recorded for a specific period and transcripts of the MDT traffic. Yes, most agencies try to discourage this by charging outrageous "information retrieval charges." You don't even need a reason other than "public review."

To maintain a free society, we still must maintain the right of all of us to go to "hell in a handbasket" if we so desire. Quoting Ben Franklin: "They, who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." If our law enforcement agencies (are you listening Homeland Security) cannot entrust us with information about our security, then maybe it is time to cash it in and let someone else try for a while.

"I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me..." oh, sorry, got carried away there....
 
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