Minnesota Call Recording Law

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

From the Minnesota State Code

Minn. Stat. § 626A.02: It is legal for a person to record a wire, oral or electronic communication if that person is a party to the communication, or if one of the parties has consented to the recording — so long as no criminal or tortious intent accompanies the recording. Unlawful recordings, or disclosure of their contents if there is knowledge or reason to know of the illegal acquisition, carry maximum penalties of imprisonment for five years and fines of $20,000. In addition, civil liability for violations statutorily can include three times the amount of actual damages or statutory damages of up to $10,000, as well as punitive damages, litigation costs and attorney fees. Minn. Stat. § 626A.13.

Under state court interpretations, when an employee of a local television station secretly videotaped a veterinarian treating a pet in a private home for an investigative news report, the station did not violate the wiretapping law because its employee was a party to the communication and it had no tortious intent. Regardless of the fact that allegations of tortious trespass existed, the court found the station’s intent was commercial, not tortious. Copeland v. Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., 526 N.W.2d 402 (Minn. Ct. App. 1995), cert. denied, 1998 Minn. LEXIS 77 (Minn. Jan. 28, 1998).

A federal court has interpreted the statute to allow a parent or guardian to consent to taping on behalf of a minor child. Wagner v. Wagner, 64 F. Supp.2d 895 (D. Minn. 1999).

It is a misdemeanor to use any type of device for "observing, photographing, recording, amplifying or broadcasting sounds or events through the window or other aperture of a sleeping room in a hotel, a tanning booth or any other place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy and has exposed or is likely to expose their intimate parts or the clothing covering the immediate area of the intimate parts." Minn. Stat. § 609.746. State v. Morris, 644 N.W.2d 114 (Minn. App. 2002) (defendant who concealed video camera in bag and used it to videotape up the skirts of females in department store violated statute prohibiting interference with privacy).

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.

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