Legal framework for lecture recordings


In the following, the legal framework conditions that must be observed for any recording of events are addressed. The rights of the lecturer, the participants and the recorder must be observed in each case. The general conditions apply regardless of the place of recording, the technical systems used and the recording methods.

Data protection and personal rights

Any recording of a person's image or sound without their consent is a violation of the personal rights of the person concerned and may also constitute a breach of data protection. It is mandatory to explain before the start of any recording of other persons what and what is to be recorded as well as for what purpose the recordings are to be used, in particular in what context further processing or publication is planned and when the recordings will be deleted. Valid voluntary consent must be obtained from the persons affected by the planned recording. Reference shall be made to the existing right to object at a later date with effect for the future. Should the right of revocation be exercised, the data subject must be deleted from the recordings. In the event that no consent to the recording is given by the person concerned from the outset, the person concerned can switch off the sound and image recording function. This must be pointed out.
 It is not permitted to record participants without their consent. The participants' declaration of consent only entitles the teacher to record the event. A declaration of consent does not allow the participants themselves to make sound and image recordings or recordings. The participants are not allowed to record the event and thus the teachers and the other participants. Violation of this rule may result in criminal prosecution (§ 201 Para. 1 No. 1 StGB)

Recording only of teachers by themselves

If teachers only record themselves in their own (online) event and do not include image or sound recordings of other participants in the recording, this is legally possible, as the teachers are usually the authors of their course. It is possible to pause the recording during phases of the discussion and thus exclude these sections from the recording. Questions from the auditorium could also be asked in a parallel chat and then read out before being answered by the teachers. It makes sense to exclude accidental recordings as much as possible, e.g. by deactivating the cameras and microphones of participants as centrally as possible before phases of the recording or even during the entire event.


Recording participants as well

If it is intended to make video and/or audio recordings of participants, the consent of the persons concerned is mandatory. The declaration of consent must be documented. In addition, the following information must be provided
 - what is to be recorded,
 - what purpose the recordings will serve,
 - whether and, if so, where publication of the recordings is planned (internally at the university (Stud.IP)/internet (on educational platforms, please clarify with the ZMML in advance/only livestream during the event).
 - when the recordings will be deleted.
 In addition, the right to revoke consent with effect for the future must be pointed out, as well as how this revocation can be made and what the consequences of the revocation would be. It must be made clear that if the recording is published on the internet, there is no longer complete control over copies of the recording and that only local copies could be deleted.
 In particular, the possibility of later revocation of consent once it has been given and the effort involved in obtaining and administering consent makes the recording of participants problematic from a data protection point of view.


When publishing a recording, it must also be ensured that the regulations of copyright law are observed and that copyright-protected works of third parties are only used if this is legally permissible, e.g. quotations within the meaning of § 51 UrhG. The legal exception for the use of a copyright-protected work of a third party in the context of courses pursuant to § 60 a UrhG only applies if the recording is made available to a restricted group of persons in a password-protected area within the university and the other requirements of § 60 a UrhG are met.

Exceptional case Livestreams

If one restricts oneself purely to livestreams in the context of a course that is closed in its circle of participants, these can be made without the consent of students who are also filmed. The reason: no recordings are permanently stored and duplicated and access to the stream, which is only available temporarily, is limited to the group of participants in the course.