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Disclosing recordings

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  • Alabama

    A person cannot knowingly or recklessly divulge information obtained through illegal eavesdropping or surveillance. Ala. Code § 13A-11-35.

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  • Alaska

    A person who intercepts a private conversation cannot legally divulge or publish the information without consent of at least one party. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 42.20.300. Similarly, the law provides that any private communication a person knows or reasonably should know was obtained illegally cannot be divulged or used for anyone’s benefit. Alaska Stat. Ann. § 42.20.310.

    However, if a journalist received an illegally recorded conversation and was not involved in the illegal conduct, the First Amendment likely protects the publication of such material, to the extent it is newsworthy and truthful. See Bartnicki v. Vopper, 532 U.S. 514 (2001).

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  • Arizona

    Arizona prohibits disclosure or publication of photographs, videotapes or recordings made in violation of the state’s hidden camera law. Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 13-3019(B).

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  • Arkansas

    Arkansas does not prohibit the distribution of recordings, but the statute does prohibit the possession of recordings made in violation of its statute, regardless of whether the person made the recording. Ark. Code Ann. § 5-60-120.

    The state prohibits the distribution or posting to the Internet of video recordings, film or photograph in violation of its video voyeurism laws, but only if the images were made “[f]or the purpose of viewing any portion of the other person's body.” Ark. Code Ann. § 5-16-101.

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  • California

    California prohibits the intentional disclosure of the contents of (i) private telephone conversations obtained in violation of the wiretap law or (ii) any phone conversation by someone not a party to the conversation without the permission of the parties. Cal. Penal Code §§ 631, 637.

    In addition, those who publish, sell or otherwise transmit images or sound recordings they know were made in violation of the “anti-paparazzi” law are subject to fines, but only in the first transaction after the recordings were made. Cal. Civil Code § 1708.8(f). Following that first transaction, future disclosures, publications or sales of the recordings are not illegal. Id.

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  • Colorado

    Using or disclosing information obtained either by overhearing or recording conversations or by reading or copying electronic communications without at least one party’s consent is a felony, if there is reason to know the information was obtained illegally. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-9-303–04.

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  • Connecticut

    Connecticut prohibits disseminating recorded images of another person in violation of the state’s voyeurism law. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-189b.

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  • Delaware

    The state prohibits the disclosure or use of any intercepted or illegally recorded in-person, telephone or electronic communication if that person knows or has reason to know the information was obtained in violation of the state’s wiretapping and eavesdropping statutes. Del. Code Ann. tit. 11, § 2402(a).

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  • District of Columbia

    The District prohibits disclosure of the contents of an illegally recorded communication if that person knows or has reason to know the information was recorded illegally. However, such disclosure cannot be punished criminally if the contents of the communication have “become common knowledge or public information.” D.C. Code § 23-542.

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  • Florida

    The state prohibits the disclosure of any intercepted in-person, telephone or electronic communication if that person knows or has reason to know the information was obtained in violation of the state’s wiretapping statute. Fla. Stat. § 934.03(1)(c).

    Similar prohibitions exist for individuals who distribute images in violation of the state’s video voyeurism law. Fla. Stat. § 810.145(3), (4).

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  • Georgia

    It is illegal for any person to divulge or distribute to any person photographs or video of another’s activities in a private place without the consent of all parties involved. Ga. Code Ann. § 16-11-62(6).

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  • Hawaii

    It is illegal to use or disclose the contents of any private oral, telephone or electronic conversation, message or photographic image without the consent of at least one party to the conversation if the accused knew or had reason to know that the message was unlawfully intercepted. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 803-42(a)(3), -(a)(4).

    It is also a felony to knowingly disclose a photo or video of an identifiable person in the nude or engaged in sexual activity without their consent, unless it occurred in public. Haw. Rev. Stat. § 711-1110.9.

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  • Idaho

    A person may not disclose or use the contents of any illegally intercepted communication if that person either knows or has reason to know it was obtained illegally. §§ 18-6702(2)(c), (d).

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  • Illinois

    The eavesdropping law makes it illegal to use or disclose information one knows or should have known was obtained illegally. 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/14-2(a)(5). Further, disclosing video images known to be made in violation of the state’s voyeurism law is a felony. 720 Ill. Compiled Stat. 5/26-4(a-25).

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  • Indiana

    The state’s video voyeurism law makes it a felony offense to publish, transmit or post online illegal images of the subject’s private bodily area or any images captured from a drone of people in or near their residences without their consent. Ind. Code Ann. § 35-45-4-5(e), (h).

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  • Iowa

    Iowa prohibits the disclosure of the contents of any oral, telephonic or other electronic communication if the person knows or has reason to believe the communications were intercepted in violation of the state’s “Interception of Communications” law. Iowa Code Ann. § 808B.2.

    The state’s harassment law prohibits the distribution or publication of photos or video showing a person who is either fully or partially nude or engaged in sexual activity, if that publication is knowingly without consent. Iowa Code Ann. § 708.7. The statute, however, makes exceptions for photos or videos of voluntary exposure occurring in public or published in the public interest, including for news reporting. Iowa Code Ann. § 708.7(6).

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  • Kansas

    Divulging the existence or contents of any type of private communication without the consent of at least one party is a misdemeanor if the person knows the message was intercepted illegally. Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6101(a)(2).

    Disseminating any video, photo or image taken with a concealed camera used to take nude images of another person without consent is a felony. Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-6101(a)(7), -(b)(3). The statute also prohibits the dissemination of video or photos of an identifiable person who is nude or engaged in sexual activity for the purpose of harassment or intimidation, but this prohibition specifically excludes dissemination done for “a bona fide and lawful scientific, educational, governmental, news or other similar public purpose.” Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-6101(a)(8), (e).

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  • Kentucky

    Using or divulging information obtained in violation of the state’s eavesdropping law is a misdemeanor. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 526.060.

    Further, it is a felony to take visual images — photos or video — of a person while in the nude and either distributing the images via email, the Internet or a commercial online service. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 531.100.

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  • Louisiana

    Anyone who discloses or uses the contents of any in-person, telephone or electronic communication either knowing or having reason to know it was recorded or intercepted in violation of the state’s Electronic Surveillance Act is subject to both criminal and civil penalties. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1303. Even if one does not know the communication was intercepted illegally, one may be still subject to civil penalties — though not criminal — for broadcasting, publishing, disseminating or otherwise distributing the communication. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 15:1307; see Keller v. Aymond, 722 So. 2d 1224 (La. App. 3 Cir. 1998) (permitting a civil lawsuit to continue against a newspaper publisher for the publication of a private conversation allegedly illegally intercepted by a third party and played at a press conference).

    The state also bars the transfer by email, the Internet or a commercial online service of any photo or film images obtained in violation of the state’s video voyeurism law. La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 14:283(A).

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  • Maine

    Anyone who discloses or uses the contents of recorded or intercepted communications, knowing the information was obtained illegally, violates Maine’s interception law. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 710.

    The privacy law also prohibits the dissemination of private images of another, identifiable person in the nude or engaged in sexual conduct without that person’s consent and with the intent to harass, torment or threaten. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, § 511-A. This prohibition does not apply to “[i]mages involving voluntary exposure in a public or commercial setting,” or when there is a “public or newsworthy purpose.” Id.

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  • Maryland

    Maryland bars the disclosure or use of the contents of any in-person, telephone or electronic communication either knowing or having reason to know it was recorded or intercepted in violation of the state’s Wiretap Act. Md. Code Ann., Cts. & Jud. Proc. § 10-402(a).

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  • Massachusetts

    The state prohibits the disclosure or use of the contents of an illegally recorded conversation, when accompanied by the knowledge that it was obtained illegally. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 99(C)(3).

    Distributing videos or photos in violation of the state’s hidden camera laws is also prohibited. Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 105(c).

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  • Michigan

    It is illegal to distribute, disseminate or transmit a recording, photograph or visual image — as well as the contents of any intercepted oral or electronic communication — which a person knows or reasonably should know was obtained illegally. Mich. Comp. Laws §§ 750.539d, 539e, 539j.

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  • Minnesota

    A person may not disclose or use the contents of any intercepted communication if that person either knows or has reason to know it was obtained in violation of the state’s wiretapping laws. Minn. Stat. § 626A.02.

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  • Mississippi

    It is a felony for anyone who is not a law-enforcement officer to disclose the contents of intercepted communications for any reason other than testifying under oath in a governmental or court proceeding. Miss. Code Ann. §§ 41-29-511, 533.

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  • Missouri

    Disclosing the contents of a telephone or other wire communication while knowing or having reason to know the information was obtained through illegal recording is a felony. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 542.402.

    For someone who creates images or recordings in violation of the hidden camera law, disclosing those images or recordings will increase the offense to a felony. Mo. Ann. Stat. § 565.252.

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  • Montana

    The state’s “privacy in communications” law prohibits the disclosure of printed or electronic images or videos of an identifiable person — without their consent — that either shows parts of the naked body or sexual conduct. Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213(1)(d). This prohibition only applies to disclosures intended “to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, or injure,” and specifically exclude “disclosures made in the public interest,” and disclosures related to “criminal or news reporting.” Mont. Code Ann. § 45-8-213(1)(d), (2)(b).

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  • Nebraska

    Disclosing or otherwise using the contents of an in-person, telephone or electronic communication while knowing or having reason to know it was recording illegally is a felony. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 86-290.

    Under the hidden camera law, Nebraska also makes it a felony to disclose an image or video of a person’s intimate body parts taken without consent when the individual would not expect to be exposed to the public, regardless of whether it is in a public or private place. Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-311.08.

    Additionally, the hidden camera law makes it a misdemeanor to disclose an image or video of someone engaged in sexual conduct or of an individual’s intimate body parts without consent, if the person had a reasonable expectation that the image or video would remain private and if the disclosure “serves no legitimate purpose.” Id.

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  • Nevada

    Nevada makes it a felony to disclose the existence or contents of an in-person or telephone conversation without the consent of at least one party to the conversation. Nev. Rev. Stat. §§ 200.630, 200.650.

    The hidden camera law also prohibits the disclosure of recordings made in violation of that law. Nev. Rev. Stat. § 200.604.

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  • New Hampshire

    Disclosing or using the contents of an in-person or telephone communication while knowing or having reason to know it was obtained through illegal recording is a felony. N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 570-A:2.

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  • New Jersey

    Disclosing or using the contents of an in-person, telephone or electronic communication while knowing or having reason to know the information was obtained illegally is a crime of the third degree. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2A:156A-3. This does not apply, however, to any contents that have “become common knowledge or public information.” Id.

    The state’s hidden camera law prohibits the disclosure of any photos or video taken in violation of that law. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 2C:14-9.

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  • New York

    New York’s eavesdropping law does not prohibit the disclosure of recorded communications.

    Disseminating images that the individual knows were recorded in a way that violates New York’s hidden camera law is generally a misdemeanor. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.55. However, disseminating images taken in violation of the hidden camera law is a felony when the image includes the “sexual or other intimate parts” of the subject, or the same person who recorded the images also disseminated them. N.Y. Penal Law § 250.60.

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  • Pennsylvania

    Intentionally disclosing or using the contents of an in-person, telephone or electronic communication while knowing or having reason to know it was obtained through illegal recording is a felony. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5703.

    The hidden camera law also prohibits the transfer of images obtained in violation of the law. 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 7507.1.

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