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Prosser's Privacy Law: A Mixed Legacy

California Law Review, Vol. 98, p. 1887, 2010

Washington U. School of Law Working Paper No. 10-03-06

39 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2010 Last revised: 20 Sep 2014

Neil M. Richards

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law; Yale Information Society Project; Stanford Center for Internet and Society

Daniel J. Solove

George Washington University Law School

Date Written: March 11, 2010

Abstract

This Article examines the complex ways in which William Prosser shaped the development of the American law of tort privacy. Although Prosser certainly gave tort privacy an order and legitimacy that it had previously lacked, he also stunted its development in ways that limited its ability to adapt to the problems of the Information Age. His skepticism about privacy, as well as his view that tort privacy lacked conceptual coherence, led him to categorize the law into a set of four narrow categories and strip it of any guiding concept to shape its future development. Prosser’s legacy for tort privacy law is thus a mixed one: He greatly increased the law’s stature at the cost of giving it no guidance and making it less able to adapt to new circumstances in the future. If tort privacy is to remain vital in a digital age, it must move beyond Prosser’s conception.

Suggested Citation

Richards, Neil M. and Solove, Daniel J., Prosser's Privacy Law: A Mixed Legacy (March 11, 2010). California Law Review, Vol. 98, p. 1887, 2010; Washington U. School of Law Working Paper No. 10-03-06. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1567693

Neil M. Richards

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Yale Information Society Project ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Stanford Center for Internet and Society ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Daniel J. Solove (Contact Author)

George Washington University Law School ( email )

2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-9514 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://danielsolove.com

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