People of Walmart - legal.

www.PeopleOfWalmart.com is the latest addition to the embarrassing reflections of modern life segment of the blogosphere already populated by www.cakewrecks.com, www.thisiswhyyourefat.com, and, most famously, www.failblog.org. Indeed, it appears that the authors have decided that instead of focusing on the product of our ineptitude, they'd point the camera at the inept themselves.

Why is this here? Because the upsurge in interest has caused people to ask whether the site is legal. Specifically, they ask if including these people's photos is defamatory. First, truth is a complete defense to a claim of defamation. Done. That said, the question was not asked by a lawyer, so lets look at "defamation" claims in the vernacular sense, including portrayal in a false light, public disclosure of private facts, and privacy. These photos are not flattering, but they don't seem to take anything out of context. Scratch false light. To be liable for outing private facts those facts need to be private. I imagine the decision to wear some of these outfits in public does away with the expectation of privacy. Finally, there is the right to privacy. Generally, it was created for public figures, not regular people. It is meant to defend against reporting of fact that is nonetheless private. It doesn't really apply to the average person. Moreover, it generally doesn't apply to photos taken in public - you were out in public. You can't expect that to remain private.

Let's get one thing straight - the law protects you from embarrassment from that which is untrue or which you make an attempt to conceal. If you're embarrassed by seeing what you do in public reflected on the screen and it makes you unhappy, isn't that why we humans developed the emotion in the first place? The law has done nothing to change that.

1 comment:

John Michael said...

I noticed you did a story about peopleofwalmart.com. Perhaps you might be interested in doing a follow up about People of Public Transit.

People of Walmart inspires sister site (People of Public Transit)


The public bus and subway systems are littered with amazing photo opportunities. Many of us have been sitting alone witnessing something amazing and only wishing we could share the experience with our friends. Well now you can!

Thank you,
John Michael