Is it possible to record a Clubhouse Room? Does Clubhouse allow recording a live session at all? What is the legal standpoint? We will discuss all of them today.
About Clubhouse App:
The audio social network Clubhouse is surely the talk of the town in 2021. Although they launched back in April 2020 in the US, they got into the limelight after opening up globally in December 2020. But they were still iOS only at that time. Finally, they launched for Android in May 2021, throwing it open to the global Android market.
A lot of clubhouse competitors had already begun providing audio rooms to get an edge over Clubhouse, but that didn’t stop Clubhouse from adding millions of users on the Android market. At the time of writing this post, Clubhouse has over 5 Million downloads on Google Play Store. They follow an invite-only system, but with more and more people onboarding the app, it has become very easy to obtain a Clubhouse Invite.
Clubhouse is focused on audio rooms where you can only interact with your voice. You can host a room, and others can join in as an audience. Those who want to speak can ‘raise their hands’ and moderators can ‘invite’ them to the speaking podium. It mimicks an auditorium or a meeting room very efficiently, which led to the formation of a lot of unique and creative clubs. Be it singing, recitation, storytelling, standup comedy, or serious business talks and interviews, clubhouse is perfect for everything.
Recording a Clubhouse Room:
Naturally, a lot of club hosts wanted to record their sessions so that they are accessible later on. Especially the clubs focusing on serious talks like business development, finance, education, science, fitness training, etc. wanted a solution where their sessions are accessible for the public later on.
At the time of writing this post in June 2021, I am running 2 clubs: CryptoHub India and FinTalks, which deals in cryptocurrencies and financial management, respectively. We are hosting weekly live sessions on the weekends, and a lot of people from our communities requested a recorded session that they can access later on. Some even suggested live stream it over YouTube so that it can be accessible later on.
So, I decided to dig out the official standpoint regarding the same, and even went ahead to ask Clubhouse India regarding this, so that I can get first-hand information about it. In today’s post, I am going to share all about recording clubhouse rooms and their legal standpoint.
Is Recording a Clubhouse Room allowed?
Clubhouse does not natively support recording a room, and it aims to discourage recording as much as possible. If you decide to record a clubhouse session it will throw a warning which says that sharing a recording without user consent violates the clubhouse community guidelines.
But with the Android launch, recording a room becomes a cup of tea for anyone. There are already a couple of ways to record a Clubhouse room, and anyone can do that, even without having technical know-how.
But the big question remains, is it allowed to record a Clubhouse session at all?
Some Clubhouse enthusiasts from India are running doubt-clearing sessions regularly on India Club, welcoming users and guiding them about how to use the app properly. These people are closely associated with the Clubhouse team and are the right source of getting information. So, I joined one such session and asked them about it.
Here’s what I got!
The short answer is ‘NO.’ You cannot record a clubhouse room, not as a host, and not as a listener too.
Well, it is not that Clubhouse is trying to play the big daddy here, trying to enforce self-imposed restrictions on the app. There are at least 3 solid reasons why recording a LIVE clubhouse session is NOT a good idea at all.
However, depending on the purpose of your room, you may be able to record it safely. I am coming to that later on. Before that, let me lay down the actual issues that can come up if you try to record a clubhouse session.
The Problems with Clubhouse Room Recordings:
Privacy Concerns Related to Clubhouse Recorded Rooms:
One of the reasons why recording a clubhouse session is not allowed is due to the nature of conversations. It is not a closed webinar, conference, or interview that only involves a small group of people and has a fixed agenda towards it.
Clubhouse is a social network itself, meaning, it’s not a ‘closed’ session anymore. Anyone can drop by, interact, and leave.
Say you are running a club for mental health and support, where people are opening up to strangers, talking about personal issues, depression, and getting emotional support. Recording such sessions without user consent is a serious privacy breach.
Next up, say you are a professional fitness coach and using your rooms to train people. Anyone recording your session and publishing on other social networks without your consent is again a privacy breach.
Say you are a musician playing one of your originals to your fans over clubhouse, or a writer sharing your original creations, poems, shayaris over Clubhouse, recording will lead to stealing original creation.
Say you are a stand-up comedian, sharing some of your original content over clubhouse, the next day someone else can use it on their own. There are no controls over the same.
Some concerned people are constantly warning creators against sharing their original creations over Clubhouse, and even if they do, share only a part of it, so that it cannot be stolen completely.
So, it will be in the best interest of all that we refrain from recording clubhouse sessions at all and enjoy the moment as it happens.
You can get sued / Your Clubhouse account can get banned:
This is in continuation of the previous statement, where I pointed out some of the scenarios where recording a Clubhouse room can be a serious violation of privacy.
Now, if that happens, anyone can take the legal route and you can get a notice from the legal authorities of your country for breaching privacy rights. I won’t elaborate it much, you know the consequences. The right to privacy is more or less applicable to everyone.
Even if you don’t get a legal notice immediately, anyone reporting the privacy breach to Clubhouse can get your club as well as your Clubhouse account banned from the platform completely. You certainly do not want that.
Recording defeats the purpose of going LIVE:
Think about it: You are hosting a room where you want more and more people to join in as an audience, or interact as a speaker. The success of that session directly depends on how many people are attending it. Keeping a recording can discourage people from attending the LIVE session at all.
We human beings always tend to choose our activities in the order of priority. Even if you host a super fabulous session regularly, you might gradually notice people prioritizing other activities during the session, only to catch the recorded session afterward. If you are hosting a room where you want everyone to speak, this totally defeats the purpose of going LIVE.
There’s NOTHING to Record:
Honestly speaking, there is absolutely no fun in recorded sessions. Clubhouse is lively because of the real-time interactions only. There are new things to explore every day. You cannot possibly go through all rooms related to your interest, since a lot is happening at the same time.
Instead of accessing a recorded session of yesterday or the last week, you can spend your time interacting with other rooms which are happening at that moment. That will make it more intuitive.
Also, a LIVE session tends to go a minimum of 1-2 hours, while some rooms go on for 4-5 hours. Different types of talks are going on inside a room. There’s no point in listening to hours of recorded rooms every day. It loses its essence. Also, you cannot seek through important portions of a recording, since there is no way to demark it.
It is unnecessary to record casual talks and interactions. Sooner or later you will find it boring.
Recording is a Massive Data Waste:
There are hundreds of rooms ongoing that lasts for hours each day. Keeping a record of everything is nothing but a waste of time and data. I am hosting weekly rooms at CryptoHub India Club and FinTalks Club, with each room going close to 2.5 hours. At the time of writing, if we had recorded our sessions, it would be over 15 hours of audio content with just 7 sessions. I can bet on the fact that nobody is going to listen to even 1 hour out of the 15-hour audio content generated. Most of it will go to waste.
Now amplify it for every club that decides to record their sessions. You will get the idea.
So is it totally Prohibited to Record a Clubhouse Room?
I will keep it short: There are certain circumstances where you like to record a Clubhouse Room for any reason. You might be a professional trainer or tutor and want to keep a personal record of what you are speaking. You might be a motivational speaker and want to keep a record of your session.
While clubhouse officially does not allow this, with proper consent, you can surely keep a copy of your session with you solely for private access.
You need to ensure the following:
- You adhere to the Clubhouse community guidelines.
- The room is not public and has a small group of audience.
- The recording is private. You alone are keeping it for your personal use and are not publishing it anywhere else publicly.
- You have the consent of everyone who is attending the event.
- You declare the event is being recorded in your event title.
This can be achieved in several ways.
This becomes easier if you are running a closed room with a fixed group of people, who agree to give you their written consent. If written consent is not possible, you may even take verbal consent from everyone present in the room before proceeding with the session. If your audience is large, it will gradually become hard for you to take consent.
For declaring recorded events, you can use the word ‘Rec’ with the recording emoji. But remember, this declaration is not a user-consent. You still need consent for proceeding with the recording.
If the same group of people is attending your session every time, then you can even create a Google Form and request them to give their written consent over the form so that they agree to the rooms being recorded in that club.
For rooms that are open to anyone, this is prohibited. Because anyone can join in and leave rooms in real-time, it is not advisable to record public rooms at all. You cannot take the consent of thousands of people in real-time.
Remember that you are solely responsible for any tampering with your recordings. So keep yourself covered. You may want to use secure cloud storage, or keep it offline altogether.
I hope it is clear now. In case you have further queries, let me know in the comments below. I will be happy to help. That’s all for now. Thank you for reading. Don’t forget to join our Telegram Channel for getting the latest tech updates.