Tennessee Call Recording Law

Below is a section of the Tennessee State Statutes that we believe apply to recording phone conversations. This information is not intended as a substitute for legal counsel.

From the Tennessee State Code

Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-601: A person who is a party to a wire, oral or electronic communication, or who has obtained the consent of at least one party, can lawfully record a communication and divulge the contents of the recorded communication unless he has a criminal or tortious purpose for doing so. Violations are punishable as felonies with jail sentences of between two and 12 years and fines not exceeding $5,000. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-602, 40-35-111.

Under the statute, consent is not required for the taping of a non-electronic communication uttered by a person who does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that communication. See definition of "oral communication," Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-6-303.

Anyone whose communications have been unlawfully intercepted can sue to recover the greater of actual damages, $100 per day of violation or $10,000, along with punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-603.

Recording or disseminating a communication carried out through a cellular or cordless telephone, or disseminating the contents with knowledge of their illegal origin, without the consent of at least one party, can be punished as a felony with a potential prison sentence of between one and six years and a fine not to exceed $3,000. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-604, 40-35-111.

It is a misdemeanor to photograph, film or observe a person without consent where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, when the photographing, filming or viewing "would offend or embarrass an ordinary person" and is done for sexual purposes. Tenn. Code Ann. §§ 39-13-605, 39-13-607. Dissemination of a photograph or videotape taken in violation of these provisions is a felony. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-605(2).

Important Notice

It is always best to talk with an attorney if you have questions about the legal implications of recording calls in your state. We hope this information will serve as a general guide, and is not intended to substitute for expert legal counsel.