Recovering Attorney

Tape recording laws

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Taping phone conversations with those nasties at the CA and CRA is a valuable tool. There are dozens of cheap, inexpensive way to do it now, too.

But before you tape, know your law! State and federal eavesdropping statutes may affect whether you can tape or not. Sometimes an illegal tape is merely inadmissible. Sometimes, it's a crime. Sometimes still, it's actionable as a tort ( Michigan's law, for example).

State law will control. And if your significant other is in another state, check both state's laws, to be sure. States are dvidied into 1 party and 2 party states. In a two party state, both participants in the conversation must know it is being recorded. So you would have to tell the other person you are taping. In a one party state, you can tape your own conversations with another without disclosing the recording.

Here is a helpful page to decide what the law is in your state:

http://www.pimall.com/nais/n.tel.tape.law.html#anchor373433

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You could just record all your incoming calls for "quality control purposes" like all the corporations do. Do you think that they give a **** where YOU live or what YOUR state laws may be?? I would always record them, law or not. If you really feel the need to protect yourself, or to gain admissability, you could simply tell the other party all of your calls are recorded and give them an opportunity to hang up. Obviously they will change there tone and watch what they say, so if you goal is to trap them violating, it may not work.

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Some salient points on taping:

Both federal and state statutes govern the use of electronic recording equipment. The unlawful use of such equipment can give rise not only to a civil suit by the "injured" party, but also criminal prosecution.....

Federal law allows recording of phone calls and other electronic communications with the consent of at least one party to the call. A majority of the states and territories have adopted wiretapping statutes based on the federal law, although most also have extended the law to cover in-person conversations.

Federal law and most state laws also make it illegal to disclose the contents of an illegally intercepted call or communication.

Criminal purpose. Federal law requires only one-party consent to the recording and disclosure of a telephone conversation, but explicitly does not protect the taping if it is done for a criminal or tortious purpose. Many states have similar exceptions.

Expectations of privacy. The other issue that courts address in evaluating these cases is whether or not the plaintiffs had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the area where the filming took place.

...wiretap laws raise issues beyond just whether they have met consent requirements. The federal law and many state laws explicitly make it illegal to possess — and particularly to publish — the contents of an illegal wiretap, even if it is made by someone else. Some states that allow recordings make the distribution or publication of those otherwise legal recordings a crime.

The 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act (amending the federal wiretap law) makes it illegal to possess or divulge the contents of any illegally intercepted communication.

Then you have to consider the FCC too:

In addition to state and federal laws governing the taping of phone calls, the Federal Communications Commission has its own requirements concerning such taping.

The FCC requires that an individual notify other parties to a call before using a tape recorder in an interstate call. The rule requires that the individual either get consent from all parties before making the call, notify the participants at the beginning of the recording, or use a "beep tone" that is repeated regularly throughout the call.

The FCC rule only applies directly to local telephone companies, but those companies are required to impose similar rules on the public through their customer agreements. The only penalty that can be enforced by the local carrier is revocation of telephone service.

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None of the sites I've looked at tell me if I have to make an announcement in addition to using recorders that beep.

If it IS okay to record with a beep but no announcement, is it still a crime to disclose information from the recording, and would it be usable in court?

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About 20 yrs. ago I was informed that the beep I heard every 15 seconds indicated the phone call was being recorded. Only if the beep is lacking is a verbal notice of recording necessary. One or the other.

It seems to me that the conversation you're recording would be illegal only if a) your state says u must notify and you fail to use beep or disclaimer or B) interstate call and u fail to beep or disclose. Otherwise IMO you can record at will.

When I've taped calls but I didn't want to scare 'em off with a disclaimer (like someone I want to get an admission out of) I just begin with "hey, can I put you on speaker phone?", making sure that I get the question & answer on tape. My understanding was that a conversation acknowledged to be on speaker-phone provided "no expectation of privacy" for the other party & so didn't have to notify -- anyone could be there listening.

I'm glad you've renewed this topic for me -- it's been way too long since I researched any of this & I need to get current. For instance, I was surprised to learn that when you intercept cordless phone calls (e.g. on a scanner) you can get into deep dookie if you use anything you hear "to your advantage". That means that when I listened in on all those calls between my neighbor & his atty. about their lawsuit against me, they could have sued the crap out of me .::devillaugh:: ..because believe me, I used everything they said to my advantage.

I think I'll cruise some of the legal sites to bone up --and reassure myself I'm still a valued member of the Jr. Spy Club.

:wink:

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Hi :) If you find anything that answers those, I'd owe ya one!!

Thanks for the reply. I assumed that the beep is enough, but I don't want to assume anything when it comes to legal matters.

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Anyone know what the rules are for calling from outside the country? Can I tape calls I make from Europe to CA's in the States?

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Gave you tried googling laws + international calls?

Whenever I have attempted to notify a business or certain very defensive organizations that I'm taping the call, the woman on the other end screams and hangs up. :lol: For instance, the Joint Commission of Healthcare Accreditation and certain hospitals.

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