Note: This page covers information specific to Georgia. For general information concerning the use of recording devices see the Recording Phone Calls, Conversations, Meetings and Hearings section of this guide.
Georgia Wiretapping Law
Georgia's wiretapping law is a "one-party consent" law for purposes of making audio recordings of conversations. Georgia makes it a crime to secretly record a phone call or in-person conversation "originat[ing] in any private place" unless one party to the conversation consents. See Ga. Code §§ 16-11-62(1), 16-11-66 (link is to the entire code; you need to click through to Title 16, Chapter 11, Article 3, Part I, and then choose the specific provisions). Therefore, you may record a conversation or phone call if you are a party to the conversation or you get permission from one party to the conversation in advance. That said, if you intend to record conversations involving people located in more than one state, you should play it safe and get the consent of all parties.
In addition, Georgia has a special provision regarding the use of a hidden video camera. The law makes it a crime to use a device to "observe, photograph, or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of the public view" unless the person making the recording gets the consent of all the persons observed. Ga. Code § 16-11-62(2) (link is to the entire code; you need to click through to Title 16, Chapter 11, Article 3, Part I, and then choose the specific provision).
In addition to subjecting you to criminal prosecution, violating these provisions can expose you to a civil lawsuit for damages by an injured party.
Consult The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Can We Tape?: Georgia for more information on Georgia wiretapping law.
Georgia Law on Recording Court Hearings and Public Meetings
You may record state court proceedings in Georgia, subject to a number of restrictions. At the trial court level, in order to record a court hearing, you must file a timely written request on a form provided by the court with the judge involved in the proceeding. The judge may decide to allow only one camera or recording device at a given time, and there is a prohibition on photographing or televising members of the jury.
At the appellate court level, you must make a written request to the court at least seven days in advance, and radio and television media are required to supply the court with a video or audio of the covered proceedings. It is not clear whether this latter requirement would apply to online publishers creating audio podcasts, video podcasts, or other online media similar to radio and television. In the appellate court, limitations are imposed on the number of cameras and photographers allowed in the courtroom at any given time.
In the Georgia Supreme Court, recording, photographing, and broadcasting is allowed without prior approval unless it "distracts from the dignity of the proceeding." The Supreme Court retains the authority to "limit, restrict, prohibit, and terminate the photographing, recording, and broadcasting of any judicial session." Limitations are imposed on the number of cameras and photographers allowed in the courtroom at any given time.
Federal courts in Georgia, both at the trial and appellate level, prohibit recording devices and cameras in the courtroom.
For information on your right of access to court proceedings, please consult the Access to Government Information section of the guide.
Georgia law expressly provides that "[v]isual, sound, and visual and sound recording during open meetings shall be permitted." Ga. Code § 50-14-1 (link is to the entire code; you need to click through to Title 50, Chapter 14, and then choose the specific provision).
For information on your right of access to public meetings, please consult the Access to Government Information section of the guide and The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press's Open Government Guide: Georgia.