Friday, February 5, 2016

When a Public Family Is Publicly Attacked; New York Times, 2/5/16

KJ Dell'Antonia, New York Times; When a Public Family Is Publicly Attacked:
"While Ms. Howerton and her supporters report Twitter accounts for abuse, she is also asking YouTube to take down the video commentary that makes use of her video and other family images. She has filed a privacy complaint, which YouTube rejected, and is waiting for it to respond to her new complaint, alleging copyright violation. Neil Richards, a law professor at Washington University and author of “Intellectual Privacy: Rethinking Civil Liberties in the Digital Age,” said he thinks Ms. Howerton’s belief that she can regain control of the footage may be overly optimistic.
“The use of home video and family images for political debate is something that has real consequences,” he said. “She has made her life choices, her experiences, her children’ experiences, a matter for public debate. When people do this they do expose themselves to criticism and attacks and some of them are quite unpleasant.”
Eric Goldman, a professor of law and director of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University School of Law, agreed that because Ms. Howerton herself used family video as part of a political discussion, she may have little legal recourse when that video is used as part of a larger video engaged in social commentary on the same topic. In many situations, videos or pictures posted online can become “fair game” for critics to use in online attacks against the poster’s position or for other undesirable political or social statements, Mr. Goldman said in an email."

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