Jon Gosselin Tape Leaked: When May You Record Conversations?

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By Kamika Dunlap on December 02, 2009 1:25 PM

Jon Gosselin had a lot to say about the TLC network.

He ranted for about four minutes about how the network took advantage of him when he signed an exclusivity clause in his contract and how TLC stole money owed to his children.

The Gosselin tape sounds like yet more juicy gossip to add to the TV reality star's rumor mill.

It also brings up the often asked question: when may you record conversations? 

Though he probably did not think his "buddy" would tape him, Gosselin obviously gave Michael Lohan (father of Linsey) no consent to record conversations.

According to ABC News, Lohan taped his conversation from several months ago with Gosselin lambasting the media and then released the audio files to Rap Radar's blog web site.

"I mean, I put my kids out there to every pedophile on the planet, and they never got paid for it?" Gosselin said in the recording, spouting off about TLC allegedly profiting off his family. "It's disgusting," ABC News reports him as saying.

Lohan said he recorded Gosselin's rant about being steamrolled in the TLC production deal? Because the two were talking about putting together a reality show, "The Divorced Dads Club," and he was afraid Gosselin would cut him out of the development deal.

"When someone makes me believe they were lying or something was going to happen, I tape their conversations," Lohan told ABC News.

In some circumstances, it's against the law to record conversations.

Under federal law, recording phone calls and other electronic communications needs the consent of at least one party to the call (which may be the person recording).

Many states have adopted wiretapping statutes based on the federal law and have extended the law to cover in-person conversations.

Twelve states require, under most circumstances, the consent of all parties to a conversation. These states include:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Washington

Other states and the District of Columbia require only one party consent, just like federal law.

It is almost always illegal to record a conversation to which you are not a party, do not have consent to tape, and could not naturally overhear.

As the Gosselin tape teaches -- watch your back whenever talking with Michael Lohan. And even if Lohan broke no law, be careful should you ever feel the need to tape conversations without everybody's consent.