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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Default Recording and Posting Police Scanner Audio

    My questions involves criminal law for the state of: New Mexico

    Question 1: Is it legal to record over the air police scanner audio and the post it to a website in my state?

    Question 2: What if the audio was recorded and then modified, removing "dead air" space or the chirps and tones usually heard on a scanner, so that a person may be able to more easily or in a more timely manner listen to the scanner audio. Would the audio be considered my private property at that point and/or could it be posted to a website at that point?

    If the answers to my above questions are "No", then how can the nightly news/CNN etc. play 911 calls, which are recorded off the air or are purchased from someone who recorded it off the air. By what legal authority are they doing this? AND they do this on a national basis AND the last time I checked they are providing the news for money.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Recording and Posting Police Scanner Audio

    I don't see a statute that makes it unlawful to possess or use a police scanner in your state. Look for yourself, here.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Recording and Posting Police Scanner Audio

    Quote Quoting khanrising
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    My questions involves criminal law for the state of: New Mexico

    Question 1: Is it legal to record over the air police scanner audio and the post it to a website in my state?
    they are public record



    Question 2: What if the audio was recorded and then modified, removing "dead air" space or the chirps and tones usually heard on a scanner, so that a person may be able to more easily or in a more timely manner listen to the scanner audio. Would the audio be considered my private property at that point and/or could it be posted to a website at that point?
    It's public record so what you do with it is irrelevent. Should anyone question the veracity of the content or whether or not that content has been altered, (if someone accuses you) you can always refer them to the transmitting agency to ask for an unaltered copy without the spacing removals or any other alterations.


    If the answers to my above questions are "No", then how can the nightly news/CNN etc. play 911 calls, which are recorded off the air or are purchased from someone who recorded it off the air.
    911 calls aren't recorded off the air, they are recorded on multiline phone systems within the communication center (only the radio transmissions go out over the air) . But news agencies have no need to purchase anything; all they have to do is contact their local PSAP and ask for a copy of whatever it is that they want, whether it's a 911 call or radio traffic. Such requests can usually be handled in a few minutes these days and either emailed or burned to CD for the media's use. Of course law enforcement does the same thing you're talking about doing; they cut out the long bits of dead space bewteen transmissions, or cut out all but the one channel in question (one dispatcher is often working multiple channels plus talking on the phone, so they give the media a "clean" version otherwise people without "radio ears" wouldn't be able to distinquish among 3 or 4 conversations going on at once).

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    3,835

    Default Re: Recording and Posting Police Scanner Audio

    Quote Quoting khanrising
    View Post
    My questions involves criminal law for the state of: New Mexico

    Question 1: Is it legal to record over the air police scanner audio and the post it to a website in my state?
    Any transmission over the "air waves" such as described, is public domain. You can tape your favorite radio program and replay it to yourself, but if you post it on a web page, it could be copyright infringement. Posting police scanner calls however, IMO, is permitted.

    This is "similar" to the Sony case about 20 years ago where the US SC ruled that taping a program off the TV by VHS and replaying it in the home is NOT a copyright violation.

    Question 2: What if the audio was recorded and then modified, removing "dead air" space or the chirps and tones usually heard on a scanner, so that a person may be able to more easily or in a more timely manner listen to the scanner audio. Would the audio be considered my private property at that point and/or could it be posted to a website at that point?
    Digitally enhancing it to clarify sound is of no problem, why would it be? Modifying it to exclude pertinent information, for example, one must be cautious, as if it is about a person, one must be careful not to cast them in any false light.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Recording and Posting Police Scanner Audio

    Just as an additional note, more and more agencies are actually sending out their their primary radio channels over the internet these days. Personally, I think there are some serious officer safety and other issues created by doing so, but in the spirit of openness and transparancy, this is a strengthening trend. (Of course higher level tactical communications and short range/off repeater/talk around transmissions remain unavailable as they are usually not recorded or otherwise available, often even to dispatch.)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    2

    Default Re: Recording and Posting Police Scanner Audio

    Thanks for your help!

    I appreciate the legal information and your time.

    A good point I haven't thought of with respect to audio modication. Thanks for looking at my questions and thanks for your time.

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