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Massachusetts Recording Laws

Massachusetts Recording Law Summary:

Massachusetts recording law stipulates that it is a two-party consent state. In Massachusetts, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record and/or disseminate communications, whether they’re wire, oral or electronic, without the consent of all contributing parties. Mass. Ann. Laws ch. 272, § 99(C). This means that in Massachusetts you are not legally allowed to record a conversation you are taking part in unless all parties are in agreement.

Personal Conversations:

You may not record conversations without the consent of all involved parties.

In Massachusetts, an appellate court upheld that if a recorded conversation is hard to decipher, but still contains some audible words, such a recording could potentially be in violation of the law. Commonwealth v. Wright, 814 N.E.2d 741 (Mass. App. Ct. 2004). Also, the consent of all parties to a recording is required regardless of whether the conversation took place in public or private. Commonwealth v. Manzelli, 864 N.E.2d 566 (Mass. App. Ct. 2007).

Penalties:

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 99(C): Illegally eavesdropping on an in-person conversation or phone call is subject to a maximum fine of $10,000 and up to five years of jail time. Sharing or intending to profit from intercepted communications is considered a misdemeanor, subject to a maximum fine of $5,000 and up to two years of jail time.

Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272, § 105(c): The dissemination of illegally obtained photos and video recordings is punishable by up to two years of jail time and a $10,000 fine.

More Massachusetts Laws