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Recording in the Classroom

Classes began yesterday, and right off the bat, a first-year student approached me and asked me if I minded his recording the class. Here’s the gist of what I said: First, in general, no. Second (and speaking to the whole class, not just to the student), bear in mind that you’re not just recording me; you’re also recording other students in the class. So I’m not the only person who may object. (At that point, no one else spoke, so for the time being, I assume that no one else in the class objects. But I can imagine revisiting that question.) Third, since I assume that you’re recording in order to ensure that you compile a complete set of notes, I encourage you strongly (again, I said this aloud to the whole class) to be generous in responding to requests from classmates for notes for classes missed or requests to supplement misunderstood or incomplete notes of their own.

So, now, on a desktop near the front of the class, there is an iPod with a microphone and an adapter.

So far as I know, our law school has no default policy on classroom recording. An informal poll of my colleagues suggests that as many decline recording requests as grant them. At least one of my colleagues believes that nonconsensual recording — which I assume is relatively easy, in light of the features of laptop computers these days — may implicate wiretap statutes.

Is that right? Whether or not it is, what’s the best approach here?