Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539c: A private conversation legally cannot be
overheard or recorded without the consent of all participants. Illegal
eavesdropping can be punished as a felony carrying a jail term of up to
two years and a fine of up to $2,000.
In addition, any individual who divulges information he knows, or
reasonably should know, was obtained through illegal eavesdropping is
guilty of a felony punishable by imprisonment for up to two years and a
fine of up to $2,000. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539e. Civil liability for
actual and punitive damages also are sanctioned. Mich. Comp. Laws §
The eavesdropping statute has been interpreted by one court as applying
only to situations in which a third party has intercepted a communication,
an interpretation that makes it legal for a participant in a conversation
to record that conversation without the permission of other parties.
Sullivan v. Gray, 324 N.W.2d 58 (Mich. Ct. App. 1982).
The state supreme court stated in a July 1999 ruling that a participant
in a conversation "may not unilaterally nullify other participants'
expectations of privacy by secretly broadcasting the conversation" and
that the overriding inquiry should be whether the parties "intended and
reasonably expected that the conversation was private." Therefore, it is
likely that a recording party may not broadcast a recorded conversation
without the consent of all parties. Dickerson v. Raphael, 601
N.W.2d 108 (Mich. 1999).
Under the Michigan statute, a parent may not vicariously consent to a
recording for a minor child. Williams v. Williams, 603 N.W. 2d 114
(Mich. Ct. App. 1999).
It is a felony to observe, photograph or eavesdrop on a person in a private
place without the person's consent. Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.539d. A private place is a place
where one may reasonably expect to be safe from intrusion or
surveillance, but not a place where the public
has access. Mich. Comp.
Laws § 750.539a.