Maine Recording Law Summary:
Is Maine a One Party Consent State?
Maine recording law stipulates that it is a one-party consent state. In Maine, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record, obtain, use or share communications, whether they are wire, oral or electronic, without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication, unless the conversation is audible by normal, unaided hearing. This means that in Maine, you are legally allowed to record a conversation if you are a contributor, or with prior consent from one of the involved parties. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 15, § 710.
This state’s privacy laws also forbid the recording or sharing of images obtained illegally. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, §511.
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Is it Legal to Record a Conversation in Maine?
You may not record, obtain, use or share conversations that you are not a part of without the consent of at least one party.
In Maine, you are not allowed to use a recording device to hear or record a conversation that you are not a participant of. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 15, §§ 709 & 710
However, Maine law states that you need to gain the consent of all parties in private places:
2. As used in this section, “private place” means a place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from surveillance, including, but not limited to, changing or dressing rooms, bathrooms and similar places.Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, § 511.
While specific private areas are named the law states that it is not limited to only changing areas and bathrooms. This means that it is the expectation of privacy that offers protection from being secretly recorded.
If you are a third-party and require consent from the parties taking part in the conversation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) states that you may gain consent to make a recording by:
- Getting verbal or written consent prior to the recording being made.
- A verbal notification being played before the conversation begins. (For example: “This phone call is being recorded for quality control purposes…”).
- An audible beep tone being repeated at steady intervals during the duration of the conversation.
Maine Video Recording Laws
It is considered a violation of privacy to install or use:
- Any device for observing, photographing, recording, amplifying or broadcasting sounds or events that are happening in a private place without the consent of person(s) entitled to privacy in that place.
- Outside a private place any device for hearing, recording, amplifying or broadcasting sounds originating from that private place that would otherwise not be audible or comprehensible outside that place.
So for example, it is illegal to point your surveillance camera at your neighbors backyard because he or she is entitled to privacy in that area. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17‐A, § 511(1)(b)‐(c)
It is also against the law to use any electronic device to photograph, observe, record, or broadcast images of intimate parts of another person when that person is in a public place and such intimate parts are concealed under clothing in a manner that a reasonable person would expect them to be safe from surveillance. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17‐A, § 511(1)(d)
If you are recording someone’s likeness for business purposes, you should ensure that you gain proper consent by having them fill out a photo or video consent form.
Examples of Legal Recordings of Confidential Communication in Maine
- Hitting record on your phone prior to going into a meeting with your boss.
- Recording a telephone conversation without informing the other party.
- Using a recording device to record a meeting at a restaurant.
- Recording a public demonstration or speech.
Examples of Illegal Recordings in Maine
In Maine, it is against the law to make a recording of a conversation that you are not taking a part in. Some examples of this would be:
- Leaving a recording device in a room after you leave to record a conversation you are not part of.
- Aiming a surveillance camera into an area of a neighbour’s home where there is an expectation of privacy such as an interior window or bedroom.
Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17-A, §§ 1251, 1301: It is considered a Class C crime to illegally record or share communications, subject to a $5,000 fine and a maximum of five years imprisonment..
Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 17‐A, § 511(3): Violation of privacy is considered a Class D crime subject to a $2,000 fine and less than a year in jail.
Yes! Maine is a one-party consent state.
Yes! You can record police officers in the line of duty in all states as long as you are not trespassing or breaking any laws yourself.
If the recording is being made in a one-party consent state, then it is legal to record a conversation that you are taking part in. However, it is still best practice to inform all participants that they are being recorded.
You can record in public if you are taking part in the conversation taking place on the recording. You may also record in areas where there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. This means that it is legal to film in parks or public squares, however, you may run into issues if you are recording on private property such as malls.
You may only record a telephone call if you are a party to the conversation. If you are not taking part in the conversation, you need to gain the consent of at least one party. This can be done by playing a recording stating that the call will be recorded prior to the conversation beginning or by gaining verbal or written consent from the other parties.
No, Maine is a one-party consent state.
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