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Thread: Law about recording conversations in Virginia

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    Law about recording conversations in Virginia

    So we are all aware that you only need permission of one party involved to use a voice recorder to record a conversation. Any links to this law, or does anyone know what the code is? I want to have the law handy and read up a little more on it.

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Regular Member ocholsteroc's Avatar
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    I just got a lanyard off my usb drive, put it on my recorder and around my neck it goes. Much better than in the pocket.
    How come a DUI you can get your driver licence back, which it is a privilege. But if commiting a felon, even something non violent like stealing, you are denied your constitutional rights for the rest of your life?
    If you don't support the Second Amendment to the Constitution, what other parts of the Constitution do you reject?
    More restrictions on guns? how about restrictions on chainsaws and knives?

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    Just be carefull when recording phone calls. The stae of the other party may have laws that contradict our own.

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    Thanks guys.

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jermflux View Post
    Just be carefull when recording phone calls. The stae of the other party may have laws that contradict our own.
    I reside in Virginia. If I am recording the conversation IN VIRGINIA the laws of other states do not apply.
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    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    Interesting, but the cited law seems to refer specifically to interception and disclosure of wire, electronic or oral communications. The entire "flavor" of this law seems to be oriented toward "electronic" communications, i.e., phone calls (landline or cellular), radio transmissions and similar wire-based or electronic transmissions.

    What worries me is that is does not seem to adequately address the recording of an event in public by means of a video camera. It specifically uses the words "oral communication," which seems to me that by inference a voice recorder would be ok if one was a party to the conversation or had the permission of one of the parties to the conversation, even though the conversation was not by wire or electronic means, but rather in person.

    I would feel far more confident in using a video/voice recorder if the law specifically sanctioned the use of such devices to record both audio and video of public activities where no one has a reasonable right to privacy.

    The Maryland AG wrote a letter that specifically opined that the video and audio recording of a public event was not unlawful. I believe he did so after the motorcyclist event. If the People's Republic of Maryland is sufficiently enlightened to hold this opinion, then shouldn't Virginia?

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    Regular Member t33j's Avatar
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    I'm not comfortable with any law that sanctions me to do anything. (Where does it say we're allowed to open carry?) In the case of 19.2-62 I read, "It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for a person to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception." as, "This law shall not be construed as to prohibit..."
    Last edited by t33j; 01-29-2011 at 10:01 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by t33j View Post
    I'm not comfortable with any law that sanctions me to do anything. (Where does it say we're allowed to open carry?) In the case of 19.2-62 I read, "It shall not be a criminal offense under this chapter for a person to intercept a wire, electronic or oral communication, where such person is a party to the communication or one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception." as, "This law shall not be construed as to prohibit..."
    Except that it's not sanctioning you to do it, it is expressing an exception to a general prohibition.

    Section A (clauses 1-4) makes it a Class 6 felony to record or intercept any wire, electronic, or oral communication. Section B then modifies section A to include the exemption for one-party consent situations (among other things).

    OC is different, in that there is no general prohibition on carrying a firearm. As such, it's not necessary to put in an exemption making it legal. Until something is made illegal, it is legal by default.
    Alma 43:47 - "And again, the Lord has said that: Ye shall defend your families even unto bloodshed...."
    Self defense isn't just a good idea, it's a commandment.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wylde007 View Post
    I reside in Virginia. If I am recording the conversation IN VIRGINIA the laws of other states do not apply.
    Maybe.. Maybe not.

    http://www.rcfp.org/taping/interstate.html
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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ed View Post
    It's it's been an unclear area for years. The general perception is that if the call origionates in a prohibited state and is made to Virginia, and recorded in Virginia.... Virginia law supersedes the prohibited state.....

    But if it originates in Virginia and is made to a prohibited state, the prohibited state may be able to prosecute.

    There has been no case law that I know of in Virginia.

    Videoing and recording in a public place in Virginia is clear. There is no expectation of privacy in Virginia, in public places. In other words, if it's public and you can hear it, you can record it.

    Conversations in Private are different and would require single party consent. Even then, just the open air conversation is questionable as to prosecution.

    There is a bill in the General Assembly this year to make it more severe (Class 6 Felony) to record without consent in a place with an expectation of privacy. The bill is being presented because there is very little concrete in Va about private space recording.
    Last edited by peter nap; 01-29-2011 at 01:40 PM.

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    Activist Member JamesCanby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post

    Videoing and recording in a public place in Virginia is clear. There is no expectation of privacy in Virginia, in public places. In other words, if it's public and you can hear it, you can record it.
    Peter, is there a cite for this, or an opinion letter from the AG? Or is it a situation like open carry, that what is not prohibited is legal?

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    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    This might help

    Summary of Consent Requirements for Taping Telephone Conversations

    If a call originates in another state and is received here, then I think Federal law applies.

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    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Videoing and recording in a public place in Virginia is clear. There is no expectation of privacy in Virginia, in public places. In other words, if it's public and you can hear it, you can record it.
    ^^^ That.
    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCanby View Post
    Or is it a situation like open carry, that what is not prohibited is legal?
    ^^^ And that.

    One, there is no expectation of privacy in ANY public venue.

    Two, there is no law PROHIBITING the act and therefor, by default, the act is legal.

    Also, I doubt very seriously VA would entertain extradition with another state under the argument that a citizen of the Commonwealth MAY have broken a law in that other state. Would that fall under the full faith and credit clause of Article IV of the Constitution?
    Last edited by wylde007; 01-29-2011 at 02:08 PM.
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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamesCanby View Post
    Peter, is there a cite for this, or an opinion letter from the AG? Or is it a situation like open carry, that what is not prohibited is legal?
    There have been numerous Supreme court cases regarding privacy in Public places. I don't have the cites right now. There is a general photographers rights rule that is carried by most professional photo/video-graphers, including myself and has always been upheld to my knowledge.

    The Photographer’s Right
    About this Guide
    Confrontations that impair the constitutional
    right to make images are
    becoming more common. To fight the
    abuse of your right to free expression,
    you need to know your rights to take
    photographs and the remedies available
    if your rights are infringed.
    The General Rule
    The general rule in the United States
    is that anyone may take photographs
    of whatever they want when they are
    in a public place or places where they
    have permission to take photographs.
    Absent a specific legal prohibition
    such as a statute or ordinance, you are
    legally entitled to take photographs.
    Examples of places that are traditionally
    considered public are streets,
    sidewalks, and public parks.
    Property owners may legally prohibit
    photography on their premises
    but have no right to prohibit others
    from photographing their property
    from other locations. Whether you
    need permission from property owners
    to take photographs while on their
    premises depends on the circumstances.
    In most places, you may reasonably
    assume that taking photographs
    is allowed and that you do not
    need explicit permission. However,
    this is a judgment call and you should
    request permission when the circumstances
    suggest that the owner is likely
    to object. In any case, when a property
    owner tells you not to take photographs
    while on the premises, you are
    legally obligated to honor the request.
    Some Exceptions to the Rule
    There are some exceptions to the
    general rule. A significant one is that
    commanders of military installations
    can prohibit photographs of specific
    areas when they deem it necessary to
    protect national security. The U.S.
    Department of Energy can also prohibit
    photography of designated
    nuclear facilities although the publicly
    visible areas of nuclear facilities are
    usually not designated as such.
    Members of the public have a very
    limited scope of privacy rights when
    they are in public places. Basically,
    anyone can be photographed without
    their consent except when they have
    secluded themselves in places where
    they have a reasonable expectation of
    privacy such as dressing rooms, restrooms,
    medical facilities, and inside
    their homes.
    Permissible Subjects
    Despite misconceptions to the contrary,
    the following subjects can
    almost always be photographed lawfully
    from public places:
    accident and fire scenes
    children
    celebrities
    bridges and other infrastructure
    residential and commercial buildings
    industrial facilities and public utilities
    transportation facilities (e.g., airports)
    Superfund sites
    criminal activities
    law enforcement officers
    Who Is Likely to Violate Your Rights
    Most confrontations are started by
    security guards and employees of
    organizations who fear photography.
    The most common reason given is
    security but often such persons have
    no articulated reason. Security is
    rarely a legitimate reason for restricting
    photography. Taking a photograph
    is not a terrorist act nor can a
    business legitimately assert that taking
    a photograph of a subject in public
    view infringes on its trade secrets.
    On occasion, law enforcement officers
    may object to photography but
    most understand that people have the
    right to take photographs and do not
    interfere with photographers. They do
    have the right to keep you away from
    areas where you may impede their
    activities or endanger safety. However,
    they do not have the legal right
    to prohibit you from taking photographs
    from other locations.
    They Have Limited Rights to Bother,
    Question, or Detain You
    Although anyone has the right to
    approach a person in a public place
    and ask questions, persistent and
    unwanted conduct done without a
    legitimate purpose is a crime in many
    states if it causes serious annoyance.
    You are under no obligation to explain
    the purpose of your photography nor
    do you have to disclose your identity
    except in states that require it upon
    request by a law enforcement officer.
    If the conduct goes beyond mere
    questioning, all states have laws that
    make coercion and harassment criminal
    offenses. The specific elements
    vary among the states but in general it
    is unlawful for anyone to instill a fear
    that they may injure you, damage or
    take your property, or falsely accuse
    you of a crime just because you are
    taking photographs.
    Private parties have very limited
    rights to detain you against your will
    and may be subject to criminal and
    civil charges should they attempt to
    do so. Although the laws in most
    states authorize citizen’s arrests, such
    authority is very narrow. In general,
    citizen’s arrests can be made only for
    felonies or crimes committed in the
    person’s presence. Failure to abide by
    these requirements usually means
    that the person is liable for a tort such
    as false imprisonment.
    They Have No Right to Confiscate
    Your Film
    Sometimes agents acting for entities
    such as owners of industrial plants
    and shopping malls may ask you to
    hand over your film. Absent a court
    order, private parties have no right to
    confiscate your film. Taking your film
    directly or indirectly by threatening to
    use force or call a law enforcement
    agency can constitute criminal offenses
    such as theft and coercion. It can
    likewise constitute a civil tort such as
    conversion. Law enforcement officers
    may have the authority to seize film
    when making an arrest but otherwise
    must obtain a court order.
    Your Legal Remedies If Harassed
    If someone has threatened, intimidated,
    or detained you because you were
    taking photographs, they may be
    liable for crimes such as kidnapping,
    coercion, and theft. In such cases, you
    should report them to the police.
    You may also have civil remedies
    against such persons and their
    employers. The torts for which you
    may be entitled to compensation
    include assault, conversion, false
    imprisonment, and violation of your
    constitutional rights.
    Other Remedies If Harassed
    If you are disinclined to take legal
    action, there are still things you can do
    that contribute to protecting the right
    to take photographs.
    (1) Call the local newspaper and see if
    they are interested in running a story.
    Many newspapers feel that civil liberties
    are worthy of serious coverage.
    (2) Write to or call the supervisor of
    the person involved, or the legal or
    public relations department of the
    entity, and complain about the event.
    (3) Make the event publicly known on
    an Internet forum that deals with photography
    or civil rights issues.
    How to Handle Confrontations
    Most confrontations can be defused
    by being courteous and respectful. If
    the party becomes pushy, combative,
    or unreasonably hostile, consider calling
    the police. Above all, use good
    judgment and don’t allow an event to
    escalate into violence.
    In the event you are threatened with
    detention or asked to surrender your
    film, asking the following questions
    can help ensure that you will have the
    evidence to enforce your legal rights:
    1. What is the person’s name?
    2. Who is their employer?
    3. Are you free to leave? If not, how do
    they intend to stop you if you decide
    to leave? What legal basis do they
    assert for the detention?
    4. Likewise, if they demand your film,
    what legal basis do they assert for the
    confiscation?

    published by:
    Bert P. Krages II
    Attorney at Law
    6665 S.W. Hampton Street, Suite 200
    Portland, Oregon 97223
    www.krages.com

    Further, Homeland security has now realized videoing or photographing Federal Buildings in public is a right and cannot be considered a crime or evidence of a crime.

    http://s3.amazonaws.com/nytdocs/docs/567/567.pdf

    These are all image related but the same rules generally are accepted for video, Photo and audio except when being transmitted.



    [IMG]file:///C:/Users/peter/AppData/Local/Temp/moz-screenshot-3.png[/IMG]
    Last edited by peter nap; 01-29-2011 at 02:12 PM.

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    Activist Member nuc65's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    There have been numerous Supreme court cases regarding privacy in Public places. I don't have the cites right now. There is a general photographers rights rule that is carried by most professional photo/video-graphers, including myself and has always been upheld to my knowledge.


    These are all image related but the same rules generally are accepted for video, Photo and audio except when being transmitted.
    As a photographer I have been fighting this for a long time. +1

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