Sullivan v Gray, 117 Mich App 476, 481; 324 NW2d 58 (1982) clarified it:
The operative language of MCL 750.539c; MSA 28.807(3) prohibits a person from "wilfully [using] any device to eavesdrop upon [a] conversation without the consent of all parties thereto". As used in the statute, the term "eavesdrop" means to "overhear, record, amplify or transmit any part of the private discourse of others without the permission of all persons engaged in the discourse". MCL 750.539a(2); MSA 28.807(1)(2). We believe the statutory language, on its face, unambiguously excludes participant recording from the definition of eavesdropping by limiting the subject conversation to "the private discourse of others". The statute contemplates that a potential eavesdropper must be a third party not otherwise involved in the conversation being eavesdropped on. Had the Legislature desired to include participants within the definition, the phrase "of others" might have been excluded or changed to "of others or with others".
Plaintiff argues that MCL 750.539c; MSA 28.807(3) must apply to both participants and nonparticipants since it relates to "[any] person who is present or who is not present during a private conversation * * *". We disagree. Although the phrase arguably creates an ambiguity as to the persons affected by the act, the interpretation requested by plaintiff would render inoperative the words "of others" in the statutory definition of eavesdropping. A more logical interpretation may be made that gives full effect to that statutory definition. The words "[any] person who is present or who is not present" merely acknowledge that eavesdropping may be committed by one who is actually in close physical proximity to a conversation or by one who is some distance away but eavesdrops utilizing a mechanical device. Quite plainly, one may be "present" during a conversation without being a party to the conversation and without his presence being apparent to those conversing. For example, the eavesdropping party could literally be under the eaves outside an open window.