Privacy

11 PAGES
3414 WORDS

Privacy

Barker White
MC-400 WED
                    Privacy: Chapters 7 & 8

What is privacy?  What makes our lives private?  Privacy is a law today that has not been
known for very long.  The idea of privacy that everyone has running through their minds is just to
be left alone.  In reality what constitutes the crossing of the privacy line.  It wasn’t until 1890
when two men wrote in the Harvard Law Review about the “The Right to Privacy.”  The two
men were Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, the two were young lawyers who had the
sense to right papers on what they thought were Americans rights to privacy.  After their ideas
were published they attempted to pass their knowledge on to the court systems asking to make
laws that would follow their papers.  Most court systems did not accept there law until 13 years
later when the state of New York passed the first privacy law.  The law prohibited the commercial
exploitation of an individual (Pember 240).  
The privacy law that the state of New York adapted well and began spreading to many
states but not vert fast, it took roughly 90 years to get the law spread.  Mainly because the most
of the courts used the Bill of Rights as a persons’ privacy protection.  To this day there are states
that still do not have individual privacy rights.  As our government more clearly defines our
privacy rights then more states will join in on adopting the rights to their laws.   Within the past
couple years the government has developed for different torts that would accuse somebody in
invasion of privacy.  The torts are listed as following:
1.  Appropriation of name or likeness for trade purposes (Pember 241)
2.  Intrusion upon an individual’s solitude (Pember 241)
3.  Publication of private information about an individual (Pember 241)
4.  Publishing material that puts an individual in a false light (Pember 241)
From the time that these torts were declared as the rights to privacy the law became much more
complicated than before.  
The first form of invasion of privacy is appropriation and the book defines it as taking a
person’s name, picture, photograph, or likeness and using it for a commercial gain without
permission (Pember 241).  In laymen terms a person cannot impersonate another without the
permission of the person being impersonated.  This tort is the biggest of the four when it comes
invasion of privacy.  Of all the torts, appropriation is the oldest and the most comprehensible until
more has been added on.  An obvious case to relate how the basic form of appropriation works it
Haelan Laboratories, Inc.  v.  Topps Chewing Gum , this was a fight between to trading card
companies; one wanted to sell cards with chewing gum and so did the other, but Haelan did not
have the permission of the players to be on the cards.  Haelan was denied the chance to sell his
cards.  Appropriation not only covers the right to privacy but also the right to publicity which
walks hand and hand with the first right.  In the right of publicity a person who plays a character
on television also has the rights to their characters that they play.  For instance in the McFarland
v. Miller a restaurant owner [Miller] had opened a place called “Spanky McFarland’s.”  The
problem that lied was the George McFarland played “Spanky” on a show called “Little Rascals”
and his claim was the Miller was exploiting his character for business.  In the first ruling Miller
won but after that no luck because both Court of Appeals ruled in McFarland’s favor, saying that
if an actor plays a well known role the he is just as much an actor as his is the character and the
character has privacy right also.  Another case of the this same manner was the Wendt v. Host
International where a bar had placed two look-a-likes in the place of business to resemble two
characters from the show “Cheers”.  The case was ruled the same as the Miller case.
The cases above many stood on the topic of likeness, so what is likeness?  The book
defines likeness as a photograph, a painting, and a sketch-anything that suggests to readers and
viewers that the plaintiff is pictured (Pember 246).  In terms that are not so hard to swallow,
likeness is when a person impersonates another in any manner from picture, sound, painting.
Now being alike is not breaking the law but using likeness

Read the full essay 3414 words