This section covers the right of privacy under state law. Most state laws attempt to strike a balance between the individual’s right to privacy and the public interest in freedom of the press. The two primary types of invasion of privacy actions are intrusion upon seclusion and publication of private facts. You can also be liable for portraying someone in a false light, misappropriating their image or likeness, violating their right of publicity, or even for fraud or trespass over gathering the news. This section also covers recording of phone calls and conversations, and videotaping in public places.
Digital Journalist's Legal Guide
Everything online journalists need to protect their legal rights. This free resource culls from all Reporters Committee resources and includes exclusive content on digital media law issues.
The Reporters Committee initially filed an amicus brief before the Appellate Division, Third Department in support if Lifetime Entertainment's challenge to a misappropriation suit over its program about convicted murder defendant Christopher Porco. The Supreme Court (trial court) had dismissed the case under the newsworthiness exception to New York Civil Rights Law Section 51. The Appellate Division, Third Department overturned the order dismissing the case, finding that one letter telling Porco's mother that she would be able to express her feelings about the murder in a separate "non-fictional program" is sufficient proof of substantial fictionalization to withstand a motion to dismiss, and thus negates the newsworthiness exception. This amicus brief supporting Lifetime's motion for permission to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals, and highlights why allowing the Third Department's decision to stand would affect the news media.