In Italy, it's legal to secretly record sex

Just don't give the videos to anyone else.

By Farhad Manjoo

Published January 17, 2008 6:07PM (EST)

In these camera-obsessed days it's not always clear when it's safe or legal to flip out your cell-cam and shoot the world around you.

Thankfully Italy's supreme court has stepped in with some guidance: It is legal, the court says, to record trysts between you and your loved one, even if you don't tell your loved one (whom you must not much love, seems) that you're doing so. The one condition: Don't distribute the videos to anyone.

According to Reuters, the case concerns a 49-year-old man whose lady approved of him setting up a video camera in the bedroom in order to project images of their encounter on the wall. What she did not know was that the fellow was also recording their sessions.

When she found out -- after their relationship, which had seemed so perfect, dissolved -- she took him to court. Two lower courts found him criminally guilty; he was sentenced to four months in jail.

But then Italy's highest justices stepped in. They pointed out that the man had not distributed the tapes to anyone, and, therefore, he hadn't violated the lady's rights. Plus -- other than wanting to project their sex on the wall -- he was such a gentleman. When the couple split up, he gave her the videos with a note attached, "These are my last thought for you."

In the U.S. laws regarding recording your partner without consent vary by state, but the Machinist advises to err on the side of disclosure. If you plan on doing the projector thing, may I recommend the Mitsubishi HC1500, which is both affordable and has good color fidelity, especially with flesh tones?

Farhad Manjoo

Farhad Manjoo is a Salon staff writer and the author of True Enough: Learning to Live in a Post-Fact Society.

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