If you work in the news, you may be a target of lawsuits based on media invasion of privacy. While plaintiffs rarely prevail in these lawsuits, the right to know is almost always protected. To avoid being sued for invasion of privacy, journalists should understand five common torts that can result in a lawsuit. Knowledge of these five torts will ensure a strong defense in court. Read on to learn more. Let's start with "spying," a common defense used by plaintiffs who allege that a journalist has violated a person's privacy.
Intrusion upon seclusion is a tort that requires a reporter to enter a private place without the owner's consent, but there are many cases of trespass arising from similar situations. Intruders may also be held liable for the trespass of a person's property, even if the information obtained is not published. The defendant is usually not the news media outlet, but the reporter.
Another common defense against media invasion of privacy is the false light defense. False light claims involve the use of names and photos without consent. It also involves fictionalization, embellishment, and misrepresentation. While such claims are more common in advertising and promotional materials, they are still an issue in mass media. If you or a third party uses false or deceptive methods to gain access to private information, it's not a good idea to use a false light defense.
The fourth defense against media invasion of privacy is appropriation. This is where the media takes advantage of the public's right to know something about you. By appropriating the rights of another, you essentially are stealing someone else's idea of their identity. This defense is particularly strong if the content of the publication is based on a commercial use of the person's name or likeness. This is illegal and may result in a lawsuit.
Using social media without limiting your privacy is one of the biggest risks of these platforms. While these sites have privacy policies in place, the majority of users don't pay attention to these settings. Furthermore, the "tagging" feature of most social networking sites exposes sensitive information. Whether a person's name or an image is public, the tagging feature is a major source of privacy invasion. If someone is tagging a person, it's likely that it's being used to spread a disinformation campaign.
Invasive media can also cause a lawsuit. It is an unjust intrusion into someone's private affairs. The plaintiff must have a legitimate expectation of privacy and the intrusion must have been intentional. Invasion of privacy is a tort based on common law. It is not uncommon to find multiple instances of the same type of breach of privacy, such as a lawsuit in Illinois. This is also a common reason for a lawsuit.
Another common example of a potential media invasion of privacy is when a stranger takes a picture of you without your permission. The person then proceeds to use the photo to promote a new salon. The photographer has no reason to think it's inappropriate to use the image, and there was no financial benefit from the use of the picture. The incident did not violate your right to privacy. Moreover, the picture was taken in an unencouraging environment.