Page:Right to Privacy.djvu/27

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219
THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY.
  1. to society, it is the same principle adopted in a large category of statutory offences.


The remedies for an invasion of the right of privacy are also suggested by those administered in the law of defamation, and in the law of literary and artistic property, namely:—

  1. An action of tort for damages in all cases.[1]

    Even in the absence of special damages, substantial compensation could be allowed for injury to feelings as in the action of slander and libel.

  2. An injunction, in perhaps a very limited class of cases.[2]

    It would doubtless be desirable that the privacy of the individual should receive the added protection of the criminal law, but for this, legislation would be required.[3] Perhaps it would be deemed proper to bring the criminal liability for such publication within narrower limits; but that the community has an interest in preventing such invasions of privacy, sufficiently strong to justify the introduction of such a remedy, cannot be doubted. Still, the protection of society must come mainly through a recognition of


  1. Comp. Drone on Copyright, p. 107.
  2. Comp. High on Injunctions, 3d ed., § 1015; Townshend on Libel and Slander, 4th ed., §§ 417a–417d.
  3. The following draft of a bill has been prepared by William H. Dunbar, Esq., of the Boston bar, as a suggestion for possible legislation:—

    "Section 1. Whoever publishes in any newspaper, journal, magazine or other periodical publication any statement concerning the private life or affairs of another, after being requested in writing by such other person not to publish such statement or any statement concerning him, shall be punished by imprisonment in the State prison not exceeding five years, or by imprisonment in the jail not exceeding two years, or by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars; provided, that no statement concerning the conduct of any person in, or the qualifications of any person for, a public office or position which such person holds, has held, or is seeking to obtain, or for which such person is at the time of such publication a candidate, or for which he or she is then suggested as a candidate, and no statement of or concerning the acts of any person in his or her business, profession, or calling, and no statement concerning any person in relation to a position, profession, business, or calling, bringing such person prominently before the public, or in relation to the qualifications for such a position, business, profession, or calling of any person prominent or seeking prominence before the public, and no statement relating to any act done by any person in a public place, nor any other statement of matter which is of public and general interest, shall be deemed a statement concerning the private life or affairs of such person within the meaning of this act.

    "Sect. 2. It shall not be a defence to any criminal prosecution brought under section 1 of this act that the statement complained of is true,or that such statement was published without a malicious intention; but no person shall be liable to punishment for any statement published under such circumstances that if it were defamatory the publication thereof would be privileged."