I often record my flight training without audio and post some of it to YouTube. I would like to add in audio recording of what I hear and say over the radio as well, but my ground school suggested that it was illegal to make radio transmissions public. On the other hand, I see youtube videos all the time that do include ATC voice traffic.

Can someone clarify for me if it is permissible to record and make public radio transmissions recorded during my own flights?

If it makes any difference, my videos are not/will not be monetized and and my flight training takes place in Canada.

EDIT: finally remembered my source, which is the radio operator restricted certificate study guide, which says:

Radio operators and all persons who become acquainted with radiocommunications are bound to preserve the privacy of those communications. In accordance with subsection 9(2) of the Radiocommunication Act, no person shall divulge the contents, or the existence, of communications transmitted, received or intercepted by a radio station, except as permitted by the addressee of the message or his/her accredited agent, or to authorized officials of the Government of Canada, officers of the court or an operator of a telecommunications system as is necessary to forward or deliver the communication. These restrictions do not apply to a message of distress, urgency, safety or to messages addressed to “ALL STATIONS” (i.e. weather reports, storm warnings, etc.). As outlined in section 9.1 of the Act, any person who violates the privacy of communications is liable, on summary conviction, in the case of an individual, to a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand dollars or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year, or to both, or, in the case of a person other than an individual, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding seventy-five thousand dollars. https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/smt-gst.nsf/eng/sf01397.html

It sounds like I am able to post radio communications for which I am the addressee (and presumably addressor)

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    $\begingroup$ Ask them to point you to their source. In the USA that's nonsense, but I don't know about Canadian law. Also, realize that if you did anything that could get you or your instructor in trouble, even without realizing it at the time, a posted video is pretty clear evidence of what happened. Time can be correlated to ATC tapes. At a minimum, might want to get your instructor to consent, since it's his ticket on the line if somebody makes a stink about something & an investigator agrees that it's an issue. $\endgroup$ – Ralph J Mar 7 at 2:14
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    $\begingroup$ If you don't get a good answer here you might consider asking on law.SE. Although there's at least one prominent example that shows this is completely legal in Canada. $\endgroup$ – Pondlife Mar 7 at 2:49
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    $\begingroup$ Until you get more information, you should assume this is not allowed, as in many countries this won't be allowed. Some years ago, and possibly still today, just listening to ATC wasn't permitted in the UK, unless you were using ATC services. US have another view on privacy (disclosed data can be used by anyone), and are not the predominant model in this area. $\endgroup$ – mins Mar 9 at 13:14
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see how there is any reasonable expectation of privacy with radio broadcast but lawmakers have been known to get absurd notions in their heads. Canada law tends to settle somewhere between the UK and USA in many areas. In the USA recording private comms generally requires consent, but speaking in a manner that can be readily overheard by passive non-participants is not considered private. An office with door closed, telephone call, letter in an envelope, encrypted radio all considered private. Conversation open to a common-use hall at work or non-encrypted radio broadcast are public. $\endgroup$ – Max Power Mar 23 at 20:09
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    $\begingroup$ @MaxPower that is certainly the most reasonable way to approach it, but as you say, reasonable doesn't always matter legally $\endgroup$ – KBriggs Mar 24 at 14:03

In countries where it is illegal to listen to ATC chatter like the UK, it is also illegal to post it, and you can see this on LiveATC, where you can easily listen to YKZ, YYZ, YVR, YTZ, and YHZ, etc. in Canada, but you can't listen to UK airport feeds or sectors for example LHR, LGW and MAN.

So assuming that liveatc is not an illegal orginization, (we know that for sure because literally the #1 thing that comes up when you search on google atc, liveatc comes up. And if it was illegal, the RCMP would have taken down liveatc at least in canada years ago!) we can say that no, posting atc chatter online is not illegal in Canada.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible those Canadian transmissions are being recorded and posted by receivers on the United States side of the border, and would that not make the legal ssue much different? Also I know Canadian ATC controls some low altitude sectors of US airspace in NW Washington, due to radar coverage I presume, domestic US flights that never cross the border. $\endgroup$ – Max Power Apr 18 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @Max Power: That's like saying the irish people on the other side could be recording UK transmissions or like saying if a foreigner came in and didn't pay taxes it would be legal. Plus, if it was US citizens who were recording the transmissions, then how would we be able to get transmissions from CYHZ? I highly doubt that US frequency scanners would be in range at that point. $\endgroup$ – Air Canada 001 Apr 19 at 14:42

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