The behavior of Kanye West, Kim Kardashian-West or Taylor Swift is something I would not normally care about or devote much thought to.
But last week, a member of my staff brought to my attention that in their most recent public spat, an illegal recording may have been in play.
If you haven’t heard about this, I’ll summarize the situation:
- Kanye West has a song entitled, “Famous”, which contains the lyrics Me and Taylor might still have sex…Why?…I made the bitch famous.
- Taylor Swift, not happy about this, says she didn’t approve of it.
- On social media, Mrs. Kardashian-West released a video footage of (what appears to be) a private phone conversation between Ms. Swift and Mr. West, meant to show Ms. Swift had approved of the song.
- Both sides have different takes on the posting. Mr. West and his wife stand by the posting. Ms. Swift’s rep said it never happened. Ms. Swift herself said she never agreed to the portion of the song referring to her as “that bitch.”
From my chair as a private investigator, the only interesting issue here would be the possible violation of telephone recording laws, and if Ms. Swift might have a civil action against both Mrs. Kardashian-West and Mr. West.
As a backdrop to this feud, you have to understand the telephone recording laws in this country.
California is a “two-party consent” state… Mr. West admits he was in his Los Angeles recording studio when the video was made.
First, the laws vary from state to state. Second, the laws are specific and govern the civilian recording of telephonic conversations by the participants. Third, recordings by law enforcement and government entities are an entirely different set of rules and regulations.
Federal law requires that one person must be notified of the call. Not an issue in this case. But eleven of our states are two-party consent states, requiring all parties consent to the recording. California is one of those eleven – making for an interesting dynamic for Ms. Swift.
Mr. West admits he was in his Los Angeles recording studio when the video was made. That might cost him. This will certainly not be about the money but more how Ms. Swift will try to assert a little justice on Mr. & Mrs. West.
Under California state law, his actions could be considered a violation of the eavesdropping laws and considered under the “criminal” statues. This is punishable by one year in prison and/or a $2,500 fine. That would be a call by first Ms. Swift to see if she can prevail with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office who would have jurisdiction in the matter.
But for Ms. Swift, here is the best part: She could direct her attorneys to file a “civil” lawsuit for damages. Ms. Swift could claim an invasion of privacy if she thought the conversation was confidential between her and Mr. West. Ms. Swift could also file a civil claim against all the people involved in the recording of the call. Further, she could also go after anyone who assisted in sharing of the call and its contents, including Kim Kardashian-West.
Your move Ms. Swift.