A&E just announced that they've pulled Dog the Bounty Hunter off their TV schedules for now, after announcing earlier this week that his show has been put on hiatus.
Okay, I admit it. I've been a big fan of Dog the Bounty Hunter for awhile now. I even have favorite episodes -- like the one where Baby Lyssa goes running down the street, chasing a deadbeat who's thrown her to the ground after realizing she doesn't have handcuffs, or a gun, or anything. I also like the one where Leland goes driving down to pick up his Hummer on that little Moped thingie. Hilarious.
And, while there's all this chatter about Dog's comments - which you can hear at the Enquirer site (both the long version and the short version) -- here's what is getting me as a lawyer:
Why aren't we all a little bit more upset about how a private cellphone call gets put on the web for all to hear? What about privacy?
I, for one, don't like this precedent - and we're all so busy being shocked by what was taped, that we're overlooking the fact that it WAS taped and then sold for money to be put on a website.
Did Dog have an expectation of privacy? Sure he did. Did he trust that his son wouldn't betray him? Sure he did.
I've already thought about how someone could make lots of cash putting up a website with the rants of divorcing couples - never is there a time when you're more likely to say stupid stuff than during a divorce, am I wrong here?
Think about it: we could all listen in and have a good laugh at work. You know they'd be funny.
I'm just sayin'.
And, yep, it would all be within the law to do this. Legal. Totally legal.
What's the law here?
Well, under federal law and the law of most states, if one party to the call (here, Tucker) knows the call is being taped, then it's legal and he doesn't have to tell the other party (Dog) that it's being recorded.
In a small minority of states, however, this is not true. In some states, the other party would have to be informed that the call was being recorded. Hawaii is not one of those states, apparently.
However, if some of the gossip sites are correct, and Tucker's girlfriend recorded the call without Tucker's knowledge at the time the call was made, then that recording is arguably illegally made and laws against wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping would come into play.
Oh -- and one other thing to be upset about: no more Leland. Sigh.