Can We Tape Laws – Electronic Recording Of Phone Calls & Conversations

“Can We Tape?” is meant for journalists as a general introduction guide to the state of the law concerning electronic recording and its implications in all 50 States as well as Washington D.C.

Please note: The “Can We Tape?” site does not take the place of legal advice from a lawyer in your state when confronted with a legal problem.

The guide was written with journalists in mind so it does not cover all aspects of electronic recording laws – like issues of taping family members’ calls and using recordings as evidence in a lawsuit or prosecution.

One the surface, the question of whether or not to tape record a phone calls looks like a decision based on personal preference. While some journalists view taping as an indispensable tool, others don’t like the formality it may put on an interview. Some journalists would never consider taping a phone call without the subject’s consent, and others do it as a matter of routine.

It’s important to remember that questions of law must be addressed first and foremost. While both state and federal statues govern the use of electronic recording equipment, the unlawful use of said equipment can give way not only to a civil suit by the “victimized” party, but also criminal prosecution.

As such, it’s vital that journalists know the state-to-state statutes and what their rights and responsibilities are when recording and disclosing conversations.

State by State Search

Sidebar articles throughout the guide spotlight specific issues related to taping. Because these are general discussions, you will need to reference the state entries to see how these issues apply to a specific state.

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