The Mugshot Industry: Freedom of Speech, Rights of Publicity, and the Controversy Sparked by an Unusual New Type of Business
15 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2013
Date Written: January 20, 2013
Many companies profit from the dissemination of mugshot photos, whether online or in print. This new type of business arouses strong feelings , with critics charging that it amounts to a form of blackmail, while the mugshot companies contend that they provide a beneficial public service protected by freedom of speech. In this article, I begin the process of exploring the difficult legal questions surrounding mugshot businesses. In my view, people targeted by businesses like BlabberMouth have a viable theory under which to seek legal relief, but a line must be carefully drawn between businesses that merely profit by reproducing mugshot photos and those that take the further step of agreeing not to publicize a mugshot or other arrest information in exchange for payment of a fee.
Keywords: mugshot, mug shot, criminal, arrest, photos, freedom of speech, constitutional
JEL Classification: K10
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