Sunday, February 24, 2008

If you value free speech...

...then check this out and then pass on the news. Facebook-impersonation shouldn't be a crime.

Also, Le Journal Hebdo has its website blocked again and is facing more fines for something they published about Western Sahara. I don't have details, but Scarlett's been in touch with them and I'll link to details if she posts any.


SV said...

Though most invasion-of-privacy law does come from civil actions rather than criminal, I think criminal statutes protecting privacy draw pretty heavily on civil tort concepts.

In particular, the tort of "misappropriation of persona" (protecting name and likeness) does not require any monetary benefit on the part of the invader, mooting a defense of noncommercial motive.

With regard to First Amendment rights, though, it's usually the press violating someone's privacy, and there is strong precedent for public officials and public figures being exempt from privacy protections in the face of the media's First Amendment privilege.

By contrast, framing it as a matter of free speech makes it one individual against another, and you lose the compelling public interest of an unfettered news media. I'm not sure if the exemption for public officials and public figures would apply as strongly in this context. Unfortunate situation for the guy, but an interesting legal question.

KEP said...

then go for it. because three years in jail and large fines offends my sense of justice, but I'm willing to hear what more expert legal advisers would accept as legitimate punishment.