October 6, 2013

"I understand people think there is a dilemma presented by a Web site where you can pay to have a mug shot removed."

"I understand that people don’t like to have their mug shots posted online. But it can’t be extortion as a matter of law because republishing something that has already been published is not extortion."

Said the lawyer for BustedMugshots and MugshotsOnline, 2 companies that are the target of a lawsuit brought on behalf of individuals displeased by the results of Google searches on their names.

12 comments:

Paddy O said...

Is this similar to having to pay to have your home address unlisted?

rhhardin said...

Your mugshot is your campaign promotion literature.

Dress formally and smile.

EDH said...

Tom Delay had the right idea.

David said...

The truth is out there.

Inga said...

This extortion thing must be catching on.

Broomhandle said...

Remarkably similar to Obamacare.

gregq said...

They've looked at this sort of issue over that volokh.com a couple of times.

It is legal to say true bad things about people. It is legal to ask someone to give you money. But when you ask someone to give you money to keep you from saying true bad things about them, it then becomes extortion or blackmail, which are both crimes. (Substitute "having sex with someone" for "saying true bad things about someone", and you have the issue of prostitution.)

So I expect the web site to get hammered. Want to post people's mugshots? Legal. Offer to take the mugshot down if they pay you? Blackmail.

MadisonMan said...

Gregq hits the nail on the head.

I won't feel sorry when the websites pay through the nose (although I suspect they'll simply vanish in the night).

Levi Starks said...

Of course they'll delete the photos, But not to worry, they've still got the negatives.....

sdharms said...

actually, in Texas, republishing libelous information that has already been published is libel and is also actionable. The affirmative defense is if the information is the truth.

FedkaTheConvict said...

I was just thinking about this issue two weekends ago. Just on a whim I decided to Google an old friend and the first thing that popped up was his mugshot from an arrest in Kentucky for driving with a suspended license.

As far as I can tell - since I haven't spoken to him - the arrest occurred a few years ago while he was the chief surgical resident at Ohio State. It doesn't seem to have affected his career because he's had a very prestigious fellowship since and is currently a liver transplant specialist on the East Coast. But I can't help but imagine what his patients might think if they Google him and the first hit is his mugshot.

Peter said...

Well, they are public records. And in an age where computer files have replaced paper records, nothing ever really goes away (or just gets lost or becomes hard to find).

And really, if someone's trying to blackmail you the best answer has to be "no."

Because once you say "yes," the blackmail will never, ever stop (and the demands can always increase- after all, you've invested a lot in suppressing something, so why wouldn't you pay more)?

OK, so, some things are embarrassing and none of us are absolutely, totally morally pure. So perhaps you can live with the exposure?