MovieMaker Magazine Article #2: Wiretapping and Phone Calls In Reality TV And Documentaries

If you're a documentary or reality TV producer, the chances that you've filmed your on-air talent making a phone call is somewhere between 99 and 100%, which means that, whether you know it or not, you're engaging in wiretapping. What are your obligations? Can you use the audio? Do you need to get permission from both parties or just your talent? Well, my latest MovieMaker Magazine article is out today and answers those questions. Here's a short excerpt:

"In my producing days, we recorded phone calls for a variety of reasons: Maybe a call made more sense to the narrative than an on-camera meeting; maybe the person being called didn’t want to show their face on camera; maybe the person lived in another state and we didn’t have the budget to fly to that location. I once produced a show where we filmed a phone call because the party we wanted to interview was hostile to our production, had a history of violent crimes, and was an accomplished bow hunter. Would it have been great to get him on screen? Sure, but it just wasn’t worth the risk to our cast and crew."

For the rest (including advice on how to find out what your legal obligations are), click over to the article and check it out in full!

Greg Kanaan

The [Legal] Artist, Boston, MA, USA