Once again, second thoughts prove unavailing after modesty is cast to the winds:
“A magazine that published a photograph of a woman baring her breasts at a pig roast for motorcycle enthusiasts did not intrude on her privacy, a federal judge has ruled. Tonya Barnhart sued Paisano Publications LLC, publisher of Easyriders magazine, after it ran the picture of her in its March 2005 issue, claiming unreasonable intrusion, false light invasion of privacy and appropriation of her likeness.”
But U.S. District Judge J. Frederick Motz of Maryland* ruled against Barnhart on summary judgment. Her behavior “cannot reasonably be said to have constituted a private act,” Motz wrote. “She exposed herself at an outdoor fundraising event open to any members of the public who purchased a ticket.”
Yes, “Tonya” with an “o.” Are you honestly surprised?
Judge Motz rejected Barnhart’s other claims as well:
Her claim that the image presented her in a false light also failed because she never claimed that the picture distorted “her true appearance,” but only that it created the impression she was the sort of person who would consent to posing topless for a magazine, Motz ruled.
Finally, Motz held that Barnhart’s claim for appropriation of her likeness failed because her image has no commercial value.**
No commercial value? That’s way harsh, Tai. Guess they’re real, but not so spectacular.**
* Judge Motz, by the way, is married to Fourth Circuit Judge Diana Motz. Overheard at the Motz house: “Honey, please take out the trash. Don’t make me mandamus you.”
** Yeah, we know: “Maryland courts have held that someone whose picture is taken in a public place at a newsworthy event does not have an appropriation claim.”
So Judge Motz’s ruling does not reflect in any way upon the size or quality of Barnhart’s breasts. And there was no in camera examination of the plaintiff.
Another flasher’s-remorse case loses [Overlawyered]
Judge: Photo of woman baring her breasts didn’t violate privacy [Associated Press