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Google Sued For Taking Picture of House

The Recorder (via Law.com) reports on the Boring family, who have sued Google for more than $25,000 for taking a picture of their home for its Street View map service.

It seems the Boring's house is on a private street, and the family claims Google trespassed in order to take the picture. The Google photo is not the first time that the Borings' house has been photographed and put on the Web. The Allegheny County Assessor's Office makes one available on its Web site. Moskal did not return e-mails seeking comment on that photo.

True, as the report points out, in Daily Times-Democrat v. Graham, 162 So.2d 474, a newspaper was held liable for printing a photo of a woman whose skirt had been blown over her head, even though the picture was taken in a public place (a county fair). A judge found the photo was not essential to the story. But whether or not the Graham case is sound, no embarrassing or indecent exposure of the Borings occurred here. Apparently no one was in the Borings' swimming pool when the photo was shot -- where is the emotional distress they claim?

It will be interesting to see if this case progresses. With the increase in the number of private streets, even a $1 trespass award could lead to a class action....

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.