A reporter (for a large online news source) has recently deeply plagiarized work that I did, last year, and I'm filing a complaint with his Editor-in-Chief. He did record the lengthy call, and I'd like to know if I have a right to obtain a copy of that recording.

If it makes any difference, I'm in California and he's in New York.

  • 1
    What do you mean by "plagiarized"? What does the plagiarism have to do with the phone call?
    – bdb484
    Nov 2, 2018 at 13:34

3 Answers 3


You have the right to request a copy of the recording from the editor-in-chief, but no legal basis for demanding a copy (at present). In general, there is no right to receive a copy of a recorded conversation, unless you make that a condition for consent (which would be necessary in California). Under Cal. Pen 632, consent is required from all parties in "any communication carried on in circumstances as may reasonably indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties thereto", but also excludes "any other circumstance in which the parties to the communication may reasonably expect that the communication may be overheard or recorded". When one party says "I'm going to record this", your only recourse is to stop talking – you no longer have a reasonable expectation of privacy. You would need to get an actual agreement with the editor to provide you with a copy of the recording.

However, you could force production of the recording if you filed a lawsuit against the editor, and the recording was material to the case.


He made the recoding therefore it’s his recording - he can share it with you if he wants. The only way you could compel him to is by subpoena during a legal action.

Also, “plagiarism” is not something that has a legal remedy - it is of concern only in academic circles. To have a legal cause of action there would have to be copyright violation or defamation. To be clear, the reporter can report on your work in a way that would be considered plagiarism if it were done in academia.


Edited per remark by @phoog about the meaning of complaint.

I'm filing a complaint with his Editor-in-Chief. He did record the lengthy call, and I'd like to know if I have a right to obtain a copy of that recording.

You might have a right under principles of equity to obtain a copy. First, because you took part in the interview. And second, because the plagiarized work is yours. It is otherwise unlikely that a statute entitles you to get a copy of that recording.

In the event that you file a lawsuit, the editor/reporter is unlikely to succeed in his refusal to produce a copy. But you would have to request that through a subpoena (and possibly a subsequent motion to compel discovery) as part of the discovery process of your lawsuit.

  • 2
    Filing a complaint with someone's employer or supervisor is not a lawsuit.
    – phoog
    Nov 1, 2018 at 21:24
  • @phoog You are right. I misunderstood the type of complaint. I have edited the answer accordingly. Thank you. Nov 1, 2018 at 21:56
  • Is there any authority for the proposition that equitable principles would entitle him to a copy? That sounds preposterous. Also, you wouldn't use a subpoena against a defendant; you'd use a request for production of documents.
    – bdb484
    Nov 1, 2018 at 23:43
  • @bdb484 Equitable: "Just, fair and right, in consideration of the facts and circumstances of the individual case" (Black's Law Dictionary). Equity: "the rule of doing to all others as we desire them to do to us;[...] obligation is ethical rather than jural"(Id). Subpoenaing a defendant is not outlawed: it is a similar type of request. And what makes you think the subpoenaed entity and the defendant will be the same anyway? DaleM's answer also mentions "subpoena", yet I don't see you heckling him and downvoting there. I encourage you to overcome the grudge you obviously hold against me. Nov 2, 2018 at 10:07
  • 1
    I haven't downvoted anyone on this, as I was waiting to see if there was any law supporting your answer, or if you were just grasping. I see now that you were, in fact, just grasping ("the obligation is ethical rather than jural"), so I will now add my downvote. I have no grudge against you. You just have consistently bad legal analysis.
    – bdb484
    Nov 2, 2018 at 12:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.