Tennessee Recording Law Summary:
Is Tennessee a One Party Consent State?
Tennessee recording law stipulates that it is a one-party consent state. In Tennessee, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record or share use communications, whether they are wire, oral or electronic, without the consent of at least one person taking part in the communication. This means that in Tennessee, you are legally allowed to record a conversation if you are a contributor, or with prior consent from one of the involved parties, barring any criminal intentions. It is also lawful to record electronic communications that are easily available to the public. Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-601 (West 2012).
You may not record or share conversations that you are not a part of without the consent of at least one party.
However, Tennessee law does make an exception in cases where the person or people communicating are doing so in an environment where they should not be under the expectation of privacy. Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-6-303.
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.
Tennessee Video Recording Laws
It is against the law to knowingly photograph (videotape, live transmission or any other photographic reproduction) or cause the photographing of an individual without prior consent of the individual, or in the case of a minor, without prior consent of the minor’s parent or guardian, if the photograph:
- Was taken for sexual gratification purposes.
- Would offend or embarrass an ordinary person if such person appeared in the photograph.
For example, recording a video of a person using a restroom or changing room is illegal because that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy and a photograph of someone using such rooms, taken without consent, would be embarrassing or offensive.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 39‐ 13‐605(a)
Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-13-602: Recording a conversation in violation of Tennessee law is considered a felony.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 39‐ 13‐605(d): Violating Tennessee’s video recording laws is a Class A misdemeanor. The offense is classed as a Class E felony if the victim is under 13 years old or if the offender disseminates or permits the dissemination of materials obtained in violation of the state’s video recording laws.