Friday, November 20, 2009

Habush v. Cannon - part IV

JS Online now as an article about the war of words and a quote from Cannon saying of the lawsuit and Habush, "It's ridiculous. He looks like a buffoon." Personally, I don't think either is true here. Let's take a look at the legal basis for the Habush v. Cannon lawsuit:

Wisconsin's Right to Privacy law, Wis. Stats. §995.50, states:

(1) The right of privacy is recognized in this state.
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(2) In this section, “invasion of privacy” means any of the following:
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(b) The use, for advertising purposes or for purposes of trade, of the name, portrait or picture of any living person, without having first obtained the written consent of the person or, if the person is a minor, of his or her parent or guardian.
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(3) The right of privacy recognized in this section shall be interpreted in accordance with the developing common law of privacy, including defenses of absolute and qualified privilege, with due regard for maintaining freedom of communication, privately and through the public media.


Thus, it seems to me, that the question here is whether Cannon's use of Habush's name through Google is permissible under subsection (3). Certainly, there's a possibility it was permissible. The question though is whether that's a question of fact (for a jury to decide) or a question of law (for a court of law to decide). Lawyers may want to see H & R Block E. Enters. v. Swenson, 2008 WI App 3, 307 Wis.2d 390, 745 N.W.2d 421. The bottom line is that we might eventually see this case in front of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, or perhaps the U.S. Supreme Court.

Consumers curious about the legal issues in Habush v. Cannon may want to review the Citizen Media Law Project's Using the Name or Likeness of Another.

Wisconsin Personal Injury Lawyer