Question:  Cameras Violating HOA Rules
    Are you aware of any case law dealing with a property owner’s right to install surveillance cameras to protect their property?
    Scenario: owner of a townhouse installs cameras looking at the approach to the front and back of his home.  Fields of view include only his own property and common areas.  Home owners association has insisted the cameras be removed as they are not in compliance with their covenants and bylaws.
    Issue:  does an owner’s right to protect his or her property supersede provisions contained in an HOA’s by-laws or covenants?
    Thanks for the bar exam question.  You've mixed two legal issues and then ask if one overrides the other.  Property owners have a right to protect their property and they also have the right to install cameras to view and record activity, with some exception regarding privacy.  The cameras can record the owner's property and public areas as well, again subject to come privacy issues.  
    A property owner cannot however install cameras on someone else's property without consent, and your home owner does not apparently own the property where the cameras were installed, or owns the property subject to covenants and restrictions that run with the land and encumber title [which means the unfettered rights of the home owner are subject to these other agreements].  HOA typically have rules regarding what can be done on the outside of the home.  The HOA could prohibit cameras installed on the outside.  The HOA probably can't [and doesn't] prohibit cameras being installed within the interior of the home that views the outside through a window.  
    You mentioned the use of manufacturer’s logos on dealers websites in the patent infringement article.  I’m now retired after having worked for several manufacturers, but dealers need to be cautious about using manufacturer’s logos on their websites.  Several manufacturers have been known to order an immediate cease and desist and if that didn’t happen in a satisfactory time (to the manufacturer) file suit against dealers for use of their logos on vehicles, websites, literature, etc.  This is even more true when the dealer for one reason or another changes brands and no longer purchases the brand whose logo appears on the vehicle, website, literature, etc.  It just takes one call from a consumer who says “I had an alarm installed by company X because I saw your name on their website and it all went bad…”.  At that point the manufacturer will start trolling for use of their logo.
    Manufacturers tend to have specific rules for use of their logo, how it can be used, where it can be used, size, positioning, whether or not it can be used in conjunction with other manufacturers logos, etc.  If you are using a manufacturer’s logo it would be a good idea to get permission in writing from that manufacturer, follow the rules that are laid out for it’s use, and when the manufacturer updates their logo make sure you update all places where you have used their logo to the latest version.  Unless the manufacturer has an image library available for device photos and you have been given permission to get images from there, even just taking a picture of a device or logo you have in stock can cause a problem.  A handshake agreement is only worth the paper it’s written on.
Dave Watkins
    I have an answer to both questions posed in today’s post.  Patent infringement: There is a flood of new cloud based security providers with big bucks for advertising. Many of these same firms don’t see fit to spend money on development so they use someone else’s product. I-ACS, our cloud hosting service, is based entirely on our own patent pending solution, even down to the method of video transmission. Any dealer that wants to be reassured of a high quality and rightfully owned software should contact me. It’s field proven., dependable and a true cloud solution.
    USA based: All of our cloud servers are based entirely within the US. Commercial clients usually don’t care where it’s hosted, but most government agencies care a great deal. Also, a company doing contract work for government agencies may be limited to the same US based restrictions. Both Azure and AWS (Amazon) give the choice of where your datacenter will be. Only the very lowest level of service doesn’t give this choice. And that should be a warning sign to anyone wanting a cloud based solution.
    I encourage anyone who wants a professional and secure cloud solution to visit our web page at bricsecurity.com
Mitch Cohen