Kim and Kanye’s Taylor Swift Video Would Be Illegal in Massachusetts

And a similar law's on the books in California.

Photo by Super45/Rodrigo Ferrari on Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo by Super45/Rodrigo Ferrari on Flickr/Creative Commons

The latest salvo in the on-again-off-again feud between Kanye and Kim Kardashian West and Taylor Swift, now entering its seventh blesséd year, happened late Sunday night, when the freemium gaming impresario posted a video of a video to her Snapchat account, apparently showing her husband discussing the lyrics to his song “Famous” with in a phone call with Swift.

West raps into the phone, “To all my Southside n— that know me best/I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex,” and Swift tells him to pick whichever line he likes best, and thanks him for the heads-up. Though West omits the line claiming he “made that bitch famous,” a subsequent video seems to poke a hole in the Swift camp’s narrative that the pop-star had no prior knowledge of the Life of Pablo single. She tells Kanye that as soon as the media cries beef, she’ll say she was in on it the whole time. (This, of course, did not happen.)

“That moment when Kanye West secretly records your phone call, then Kim posts it on the Internet,” Swift posted on Instagram. “Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened.”

If the Wests recorded the call unbeknownst to Swift in California, the couple likely broke the state’s wiretapping law. California, like Massachusetts, is a two-party consent state, which—in case you never had the distinct pleasure of taking an entry-level college course in media law and ethics—makes it a crime to secretly record someone without their consent, if they have an objectively reasonable expectation that the conversation is private.

Per California Penal Code Section 632, this could mean criminal prosecution, as well as a fine up to $2,500, imprisonment up to one year, or both.

However unlikely it is that Kim and Kanye recorded this conversation in, say, Worcester—that is, almost certainly not—they would have run afoul of a similar law here in the Bay State. In Massachusetts, not only must all parties on a phone call be notified if it is being recorded, but a 2007 case ruled that the law also applies to secretly recorded videos with sound.

Per Chapter 272, Section 99 of Massachusetts General Laws, an aggrieved party can claim at least $1,000 in damages, plus other punitive damages and legal fees.

Your move, Taylor.