Can I Legally Record My Calls?

For the last few days, Justin Bieber’s name has been conspicuously plastered on just about every news source you can imagine.   Given how eager I’ve been to write a blog article on him, I realized that this would be a good time to do so.  Just one problem… I haven’t been able to find many parallels between Justin Bieber and VoIP.  So far, I have: both of them can be recorded for listening to later and they are both subject to laws and regulations.

Since many of our customers have been asking us about recording telephone conversations, I thought that we could spend this week discussing possible legal aspects of recording telephone conversations.  In some situations, recording telephone conversations can be illegal; in all situations, Justin Bieber’s recordings should be illegal.

Why do I need to know about the laws regarding recording telephone conversations?

  1. You are still subject to the laws, even if you are unaware of them.

  2. You could be subject to heavy fines (up to thousands of dollars per violation).

  3. You could be subject to criminal prosecution.


There are both Federal and State laws about recording telephone conversations


Federal law on recording telephone conversations:

  1. Only one party of the call needs to be aware that the call is being recorded.  In other words, any participant of the call can record it without notifying the other participants.

  2. You cannot record a call that you are not a part of.  That falls under wiretapping and it’s illegal except in very specific circumstances.


State laws on recording telephone conversations:

States Requiring Consent from All Call Parties for the Purpose of Recording

States Requiring Consent from All Call Parties for the Purpose of Recording

  1. Some states follow the US Federal Law.

  2. There are 12 states which require that every call participant is aware of, and consents to, the call being recorded.

  3. In calls that involve parties in multiple states are even more complex.  Sometimes Federal Law can apply; other times, either state’s laws can be enforced.


Business Exception:

Ever call up a business and hear a message like: “this call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes”?  That’s one of the ways that companies comply with FCC’s rules.

  1. Usually, if the call is in the “ordinary course of business”, recording telephone conversations, or monitoring them, can be permitted.

  2. Once all parties are informed of the call being recorded, then continuation of the call is considered “implied consent”.


Take away message: when in doubt all parties should be made aware of the intent to record the phone conversation, and all parties must consent.


To learn more about recording telephone conversations and some simple methods for doing so, give us a call at 1-855-783-2332


 What Do you think?

What do you think about recording telephone conversations?

Should all call participants be required to give consent to recording in all cases? Why or why not?

How do you feel about exceptions that law enforcement may obtain in order to monitor and record others’ calls?


Disclaimer: This article is a very general overview of laws regarding recording telephone conversations.  I am not an attorney and I cannot give legal advice.  I wrote this article to give an overview of call recording laws.  While a best effort was made to ensure that this information is correct, I cannot guarantee complete accuracy.  Steadfast Telecommunications, nor its employees or partners will be held liable for how the information, presented in the above article, is: used, interpreted or otherwise.  This is meant as an informational piece and it is not an authoritative guide.  You should always consult with an attorney before engaging in any of the practices outlined above; any consequences resulting from a failure to do so, fall exclusively on you.



Digital Media Law Project. (2013). Recording phone calls and conversations. Retrieved from

Kennedy, C. H. (2008). The business privacy law handbook. (pp. 127-130). Boston: Artech House, Inc.