Monday, June 04, 2012

Facebook "likes" can propagate a person's image on line -- a "publicity" as well as a "privacy" issue?

An article Friday, June 1 by Somini Sengupta in the New York Times (front page), “So much for sharing his ‘like’”,  develops an issue that could eventually lead to legal rethinking of concepts like “right of publicity” as well as privacy  -- as the use of people’s photos becomes even more unpredictable on the Internet. The link for the story is (website url) here

The specifics concern the whimsical Facebook “like” by one Nick Bergus for a facetious product (a 55-gallon barrel of personal lubricant, something you wouldn’t “take delivery of” as a “future” – the old pork belly idea).  His image wound up on an automated ad paid for by Amazon.  Apparently the “like” is treated as an endorsement (one of the components of publicity law), at least in part as buried in Facebook’s TOS.

This wouldn’t affect me now, but it might if my family situation were more sensitive (as it was well before Mother died), or if I were already making money out of fame from my books (no, I’m not making money out of it now – more on that issue later – it get calls from the “publisher” over this).

Note that Facebook's becoming a publicly traded company has no effect on privacy rights of users, as explained in this Snopes article (posted on Facebook itself by a Friend this morning), link

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