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Privacy Censorship Your Rights Online

Barbra Streisand, Miss Vermont, And Your Website 744

Posted by timothy
from the she-said-he-said-she-said-he-shot dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The NYTimes (sign up for free subscription) is reporting about a person who wrote about a prior relationship with a former Miss Vermont. He was ordered to remove any reference to the former Miss Vermont or the relationship by court order. This ruling has obvious implications for the First Amendment if allowed to stand. I wonder if I can get the same court order applied to my ex-girlfriends' websites." Read on to see what this has to do with Barbra Streisand.

An anonymous reader writes "A Silicon Valley millionaire, Ken Adelman, is being sued by Barbra Streisand for $50 million. Adelman photographed Streisand's sea-side Malibu mansion using a 6 megapixel Nikon digital camera from a helicopter flying over the Pacific Ocean. The photograph, along with over 12,000 other photographs, is part of an aerial photographic survey of the California coastline. This photographic database is intended for use by environmental and scientific research projects interested in the health of the coastline and coastal erosion. Streisand's suit complains that the photograph is of extraordinary clarity and violates her right to privacy, as it shows details of the property that one would not ordinarily be able to see from the road or the beach. California has an 'anti-paparazzi' statute on the books."

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Barbra Streisand, Miss Vermont, And Your Website

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  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ (559379) * on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:22PM (#6101920) Homepage Journal
    Here you go! Useful links to this story...
    First the Google Cache of the Miss Vermont Story [216.239.37.100]

    Katy's site [katyjohnson.com] which ironically has a Free Speech reference.
    • by Gerad (86818) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:31PM (#6101967)
      Don't post that link here! The next thing we know, Miss Vermont will be suing Google and Slashdot!
      • by gizmonic (302697) * on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @12:07AM (#6102894) Homepage
        Don't post that link here! The next thing we know, Miss Vermont will be suing Google and Slashdot!

        I'd mod that funny, if I weren't afraid it might come true.
      • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @12:18AM (#6102949) Journal
        Hell, let's have Miss Vermont AND Max sue slashdot and myself for posting the whole thing here:

        The Miss Vermont Story

        This is the complete and unabridged story of my relationship with Katy Johnson, known to my friends and her fans as Miss Vermont. I normally don't like writing about the specific details of relationships or hook-ups for many reasons, but this is an exception. After putting up the giant hypocrisy that is her webpage [katyjohnson.com], she has to be ready for what I write.

        I must prepare you, in advance, for what you are about to read...it is as ridiculous and surreal as anything I have have ever written, and possibly anything you have ever read. This relationship was outlandish even by Tucker Max standards. You may not believe some of what is written here. To that, I can only tell you that I have several witnesses to most of the events here, and the wedding was, well, a wedding, so there were hundreds of people there.

        Furthermore, this is a long story, because I didn't want to leave out any of the details, lest the story seem forced or less amazing that it really was.

        And to Katy: Even though you haven't responded to the email I sent you, I know you check this site every few weeks. You are welcome to email me with corrections or additions to the story. If I got something wrong or left something out, please let me know and I'll be happy to change it. In fact, I'll go farther. If you want to write your own version of our relationship, I swear to my god, that I will post it, COMPLETELY UNABRIDGED, right next to mine. This is your opportunity to rebut anything I say here.

        _____________________

        The summer after law school graduation, I moved to Boca Raton, Florida and took a job managing my father's restaurants. I wasn't really expecting to meet a girl I would like, as the general intellectual level of South Florida is somewhere above functionally retarded. After I had been in Boca about two months, I hadn't really had any sort of relationship other than emotionally uninvolved sex with morally suspicious girls, and I eventually resigned myself to vacant sex with the vapid idiots that infest South Florida.

        One day I was at my gym, The Athletic Club of Boca Raton. It is a massive airplane hanger of a building; a gym, health club, spa, lounge and restaurant rolled into one. Basically, it's the type of place where guttural grunts and flexing underneath tight shiny shirts passes for foreplay. Welcome to Florida. For several years it's been the in place to workout in Boca, one of the primest meat markets in a town full of butcher shops. I usually tried to avoid peak hours and the throngs of scantily clad gold-digging whores positioning themselves for fifth husbands. Don't mistake me--staring at dozens of immense fake breasts spilling out of sports bras is fun for a while, but it gets old quick, especially when those breasts are attached to faces that tell the story vacant personalities do not. These women have circled the drain a few times, and no manner of plastic surgery or trips to the spa can hide that despair that years of whorish behavior and emotional prostitution leaves in the eyes.

        I was in the free weight section of the gym, and one girl kept catching my eye, more for what she wasn't showing rather than what she was. She had a navy blue hat on, pulled tight over her face, a loose fitting white cotton T-shirt, and green basketball shorts. Not the standard Boca female gym outfit. Staring at her between sets, I realized that she was very attractive. By trying to hide that attractiveness, she became even better looking. The logo on her shorts said, Vermont Law, which gave me the perfect in. My law degree would finally get some good use.

        I approached her as she paused between sets, and asked if she had attended law school at Vermont. She told me she didn't, that she went to undergrad there, but that she was attending Stetson for law school.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:10PM (#6102191)
      Hmm, his reply to her question "How did you learn to f*** like that?" is "Home Schooling". Anyone else find that a little disturbing? (In a duelling banjos kind of way...)
    • by weston (16146) <{westonsd} {at} {canncentral.org}> on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:45PM (#6102437) Homepage
      If half of the story told there is true, it could easily be in Katy's best interest to let it be told. For one thing, it works as a cautionary tale about letting your guard down and hooking up with the first total bastard with a law degree and some charm who crosses your path, so it could really help her platform. For another one, if she does finally go postal and put a few rounds in him, it'll be hard to blame her.

      Yeah, she sure had her vacant and stupid moments in that story, and sure, Tucker Max has that good ol' livin'-a-james-bond-flick appeal, but you know, none of that makes it all right to treat someone like that in real life. I wonder if this guy practices law the way he hooks up with women.

    • by bedessen (411686) on Monday June 02, 2003 @11:16PM (#6102668) Journal
      Mirror this if you object to the court decision!

      Using the google cache (remove the keywords at the end of the above URL to get rid of the highlighting), I think we should keep this information online, to show how we feel about crap court decisions.

      I have created a mirror: missvermont.dessent.net [dessent.net], please grab these files and mirror them if you agree. I will be forced to remove the contents if they are slashdotted, so please mirror!

    • Why, oh tell me, WHY, did I have to follow that Katy link? I have never seen such vapid, insipid claptrap so well chrystalized into evidenciary form.

      I mean, the 'Miss Vermont' story, as entertaining as it is, is certainly self-involved, but that Katy link just made me embarrassed to have ever had ANYTHING to do with information technology, period. What a waste of pixels... What a waste of B A N D W I D T H...
    • by NoData (9132) <_NoData_.yahoo@com> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @12:30AM (#6103005)
      I urge all Slashdotters to read the Google cache of this story. Wow. It's unbelievably crass, misogynistic, and utterly puerile.

      It's also the stuff of life you're completely missing out on sitting at home playing Counter-Strike and Evercrack.

      Seriously, Tucker is a ridiculous caricature of the antithesis of geekdom (which is not to see he's not a really bright guy). But use his extremism to find the golden mean: Especially you younger Slashdotters, go out and make some MEMORIES. Do something STUPID. Take some (respectful) CHANCES with women.

      Tangents:
      The shocking of hilarity of Tucker's story is that it has the ring of truth...Even Katy accuses him of "invading privacy" by conveying "accurate details" of her life.

      On the other hand, the shocking hilarity of Katy's site is its utter vapidity that resonates with Tucker's assessment. Her cartoons...wow...I mean, I could draw better cartoons and I'm so bad at drawing I'd be ashamed to show them to my own mother. And the humor(?!). Wow.

      Check out these tortured puns:
      Make it your philosophy not to be Gossipy! GOSSIP -> G(R)OSS(L)IP. [katyjohnson.com] Get it? Gross Lip! Ha. Ha?
      It's unfair that most comics are drawn by men. It's time for DISS*"WOMAN"ATION to end! [katyjohnson.com] Please kill me.

      The groaners keep coming. It's amazing. I mean staggering.
    • by The Tyro (247333) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @02:11AM (#6103412)
      C'mon... isn't this a little too escapist-fantasyish, even for slashdot? I know every geek dreams of hitting it off with a Ms.(insert state of choice here), but isn't living it through the eyes of her lawyer Ex-BF a bit much? Talk about living vicariously through others...

      So her intelligence is not Ph.D-in-number-theory Slashdot elite... that's really no excuse for her class-deficient Ex-BF to write a kiss-and-tell website about their entire relationship. Frankly, I'd say it's pretty weak. I understand wanting to do it; everyone's lived in bimbo limbo at some time in their life. Everyone who's ever had a bad breakup, whether they saw it coming or not, has wanted to do the same thing; it's actually doing it that's over the line. Be an adult and walk away, thankful that the other person is out of your space.

      There's something to be said for being the bigger man about these things. Let it go... such people tend to get what's coming to them anyway; all it takes is time.
  • If only... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BrynM (217883) * on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:24PM (#6101929) Homepage Journal
    The judge also prohibited Mr. Max from "disclosing any stories, facts or information,
    notwithstanding its truth, about any intimate or sexual acts engaged in by" Ms. Johnson.
    Think of all the books and unauthorized biographies being entered into evidence in various cases by attornys who just got the news. I bet Ike Turner is wondering if the statute of limitations is up.
    • Re:If only... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by rgmoore (133276) * <glandauer@charter.net> on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:37PM (#6102001) Homepage

      I'm not sure which is scarier, the fact that he's not allowed to post truthful stories (even ones that took place in front of hundreds of witnesses, as he claims some did) or that:

      Judge Lewis ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing.

      Now IANAL, but I thought that one of the basic principles of jurisprudence is that you have to at least try to listen to both sides of the story before making a decision. Deciding the case not only without a hearing, but before the defendant has even been notified of the action seems as though it thoroughly violates the idea of due process.

      • Re:If only... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Gerad (86818) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:43PM (#6102032)
        IANAL, but AFAIK, Injunctions and the like can be made without both sides present when it is likely that irrevokable harm will occur if the injunction is not issued immediately. I guess the Judge believed that such harm would occur if Mr. Max was allowed to continue to operate his website.

        This part actually seems reasonable to me. The fact that the judge prohibited someone from writing about the truth seems absolutely insane.
      • Re:If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by danb35 (112739) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:32PM (#6102354) Homepage
        Judge Lewis ruled on May 6, before Mr. Max was notified of the suit and without holding a hearing.
        Based mostly on this statement, I'd guess that Judge Lewis's order was a Temporary Restraining Order, or TRO. A TRO is a fairly common device used when immediate action is needed, can be issued on an ex parte basis (as seems to have been the case here), and is (as the name implies) temporary--I believe in some jurisdictions they can only last 10 days or so. IOW, this didn't decide the case, it just put the order in place as a stop-gap measure to prevent the "irreversible harm" that supposedly would have happened if the order had not been issued. During that 10-day (or whatever) period, both parties can present evidence to the court, who can then decide whether to issue a preliminary injunction while a full trial is pending. If the plaintiff wins at trial, a permanent injunction can be issued. This order is just the beginning.

        Even as a TRO, Lewis's order sounds very (probably unconstitutionally) broad. The only possible justification for such an order that I can see is a theory of invasion of privacy, but I doubt that would apply to the bulk of the events described in Google's cache of the article--if true, most of them were witnessed by other people, and many of them by lots of other people. Not much privacy there. However, the invasion of privacy theory can be used to stop the publication of true statements (suppose you were to publish my complete credit history--it'd be true, so I couldn't sue for libel, but it'd certainly be an invasion of privacy, and I could get an injunction against it), which is why I think it's the only possible justification for this order.

        The rationale, I expect, goes something like this: If the statements are true and non-private, and we stop publication for a couple of weeks while we (the court) verify that, Max isn't harmed too much. However, if they aren't, and we don't, Johnson's reputation could be permanently damaged.

        In a nutshell, Lewis's order is troubling, but it's not yet time to panic. I'll be interested to see how the case progresses, though. And FWIW, IAAL, but this isn't legal advice, you aren't my clients, etc.

        • Re:If only... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Mahrin Skel (543633) on Monday June 02, 2003 @11:22PM (#6102693)
          Judge Lewis' order would be more disturbing if it wasn't totally self defeating. How many hundreds of thousands of people have checked out that Google cache by now? An ad in the New York Times couldn't have done a better job.

          He's a jerk, and she's a flake. She's obviously in desperate need of a personality transplant, and had the misfortune of having her first intense relationship with a complete asshole. I've met the type, the very pretty girl that has always been made so aware of it she doesn't know who she is beyond her looks. At this rate, she's not going to find out.

          --Dave

  • Ms. Johnson did not respond to telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment. In her lawsuit, Ms. Johnson maintained that Mr. Max had invaded her privacy by publishing accurate information about her and had used her name and picture for commercial purposes.

    Followed somewhat later by

    Mr. Santucci did provide a copy of a news release he issued after the order was issued. "This victory should send a clear message to all parasitic smut peddlers who live off the good names of others," he said in the release, which also noted that Ms. Johnson "emphatically denies the story contained on Tucker Max's Web site."

    Okay SO. Is the story accurate, or does she emphatically deny it?

    As the article notes:

    [...]raises difficult issues, Professor Zimmerman said.
    "If you're telling people they can't talk about something like this," she said of Mr. Max's memoir, "you're also telling them they can't talk about their own lives."

    This is exactly the basis to throw this case out of court. The judge, however, was obviously under some kind of pressure to issue the order, or is completely unfamiliar with the first amendment, or simply does not believe in it. If the story is inaccurate then it is clearly libel. If the story is not inaccurate, then on what grounds do you decide that it is not protected speech? The woman is a public figure, which means you pretty much waive your right to privacy anyway, but even if she didn't, if she does something in front of someone, they have the right to report it so long as they do so accurately.

  • Zing! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:30PM (#6101964)
    From the Streisand article:

    "Besides," Adelman added, "Didn't she say she'd leave the country if Bush got elected? Well, we're waiting."

  • by aborchers (471342) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:31PM (#6101966) Homepage Journal
    There are five things we will be good at. He forgot about suing each other...

  • My website reveals the sordid details of my passionate affair with:

    1. Natalie Portman
    2. Kristen Dunst
    3. Brittany Spears
    4. Kate Winslet
    5. Carrie-Anne Moss
    6. CowboyNeal never kisses and tells.
  • by Keith Mickunas (460655) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:34PM (#6101981) Homepage
    I don't like the woman at all, as I'm sure most /. readers don't, but that doesn't matter. She does have a right to privacy. There was no reason for her name to be mentioned on that website. One point in the lawsuit specifically states that the house is not listed in public records under her name. Like most of her property its registered under a corporate identity that can't be easily connected to her to protect her privacy. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if he hadn't disclosed the name of the owner, which is not required for the purposes of his site.
    • by fishbowl (7759) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:44PM (#6102036)
      >She does have a right to privacy.

      Does she? And does it trump the guy's Constitutional right to free speech?

      Where in the Constitution is your right to privacy codified, and what are the precise words? Contrast this with precise and clear
      unequivocal grant of the right to speech, and
      then explain how this ruling will stand up to judicial review.
      • by Keith Mickunas (460655) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:51PM (#6102078) Homepage
        It may not be in the Constitution, but it should be. People on /. are always complaining about privacy, whether it be spyware tracking your movements, or Tivo watching your viewing habits. But celebrities have some real concerns, such as this [imdb.com] (IMDB) actress would have if she wasn't dead now. Thanks to availability of public records, a psycho tracked her down and shot her. Now laws have been enacted, many inspired by this case, so that celebrities can protect their privacy.

        I'm not saying the guy shouldn't take the pictures. But he didn't need to use her name. That information wasn't available from public records, and it certainly isn't significant with regards to his work. Unless he's concerned her voice will lead to erosion of the cliff.
      • by Gerad (86818) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:01PM (#6102148)
        From http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/constituti on.billofrights.html [cornell.edu]

        Amendment IV

        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

        (Emphasis mine)

        Even though this amendment was designed to protect your privacy against the invasion of the government, there is still precedent for protection of privacy.

        • That's a very good point. Seeing as how the freedom of the press was meant to guarantee that newspapers could criticize the government without fear, and yet it has been stretched to the point of allowing tabloids to invade every aspect of a celebrities life, it only seems fair that they should also stretch other amendments of the Bill of Rights to protect themselves.
        • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:21PM (#6102272)
          Not really. First, laws limiting the government are not construed to be likewise limiting the people. For example the first ammendment declares that the government may not limit speech. However, a person may very well do so. I can require that you not swear if you want to enter my house. If you do swear, I can then kick you out. I am limiting your free speech in my house, but that's fine. The law doesn't say that you are free to say whatever you want whenever you want and noone can do anything about it, it says that the government can't make a law restricting your speech and you can therefore speak freely in public places.

          Also notice that the text of the law deals with warrants. The idea is that police officers can compel a search of your house. This is something normal people can't do. I can't force my way in and search your place, that's breaking and entering. Well, neither can the police unless they get a warrant, which they require probable cause to get. So this law gives the police special rights that normal citizens don't have, but places limits on those rights.

          Also I see nothing in the constitution, and nothing I remember from case law, that would support the fact that you can't photograph the outside of someone's house. It is done ALL the time for lots of reasons. I also don't see or know of anything that gaurentees you a right to secrecy, which is really what Streistand wants. Her privacy wasnt' viloated, he didn't enter her house, photgraph the inside or anything like that. All he did was reveal the generally secret fact that it belonged to her. I fail to see how this is doing anything wrong or how secrecy is in any way legally protected in this case.
        • by Raffaello (230287) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:36PM (#6102381)
          You're both missing the big picture. When the Bill of Rights was being crafted, many opposed the whole idea, not because they were against individual rights, but because they feared that what you two are discussing would happen: that people would come to believe that *only* those rights specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights were protected.

          From: James Wilson, Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention, 28 Nov. - 4 Dec. 1787 [uchicago.edu]

          "A bill of rights annexed to a constitution is an enumeration of the powers reserved. If we attempt an enumeration, every thing that is not enumerated is presumed to be given[to the government]. The consequence is, that an imperfect enumeration would throw all implied power into the scale of the government, and the rights of the people would be rendered incomplete."
          • by Fat Casper (260409) on Monday June 02, 2003 @11:52PM (#6102835) Homepage
            ...they feared that what you two are discussing would happen: that people would come to believe that *only* those rights specifically mentioned in the Bill of Rights were protected.

            Amendment IX (The forgotten amendment)

            The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

            Remember that the second, more than the first, protects the rest. Oh, but we threw the second out a long time ago. That's why we have the USAPATRIOT Act and TIA. Because no one in Washington thinks they're at all accountable anymore.

            • Remember that the second, more than the first, protects the rest.

              What tripe. So Americans are substantially freer than all of the other countries of the world without such an amendment? Brits still have the courage and the right to criticize their PM for being a liar about WMD but Americans can hardly be bothered. The Dutch and Canadians can smoke pot without risking years in prison. Why is it that the G8 country with the most guns has the least freedom?

              Oh, but we threw the second out a long time ago

        • by adelman (678397) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @01:53AM (#6103350) Homepage
          Actually, the relevent precedent when you're looking at the fourth amendment is California v. Ciraolo, 476 US 207 (1986).

          The Supreme Court in that case, per Chief Justice Burger, held that warrantless aerial observation of fenced-in backyard within curtilage of home was not unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

          "In an age where private and commercial flight in the public airways is routine, it is unreasonable for respondent to expect that his marijuana plants were constitutionally protected from being observed with the naked eye from an altitude of 1,000 feet. The Fourth Amendment simply does not require the police traveling in the public airways at this altitude to obtain a warrant in order to observe what is visible to the naked eye."

          Barbra's house underlies the Federal Airway (V299) between Ventura and LAX. It is basically located on an aircraft-freeway in a high-traffic area. It would be hard to imagine any place with a lower expectation of privacy from air traffic.

          Kenneth Adelman (Defendant)
      • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:15PM (#6102227)
        >>She does have a right to privacy.

        >Does she? And does it trump the guy's Constitutional right to free speech?
        >Where in the Constitution is your right to privacy codified, and what are the precise words? Contrast this with precise and clear unequivocal grant of the right to speech, and then explain how this ruling will stand up to judicial review.


        I didn't write this- my wife wrote it in an earlier post [slashdot.org] two weeks ago. But it looks like it will fit here.
        The right to privacy was originally a right derived from Common Law. We all have heard the expression "An Englishman's home is his Castle." This was the rough summary of the right to privacy enjoyed by freemen in England. Of course, it was an ideal, and was not perfectly executed in practice, but the same could be said of much that goes on in this country.


        In the US, much of our law is based on a combination of British Common Law, Statutory, and Constitutional law. And, once a statute is written that enumerates what was previously common law, the statutory meaning takes precedence. For instance, under Common Law, all that is required for a conspiracy conviction is evidence of a plan. You don't need to take any steps to enact the plan to be found guilty. But Statutory Conspiracy requires a plan, plus an act in furtherance of that plan, such as contacting someone to help, or buying a supply. This change was made in an attempt to avoid the concept of "thought crimes." But, if you have the misfortune of living in a state that does not have a statute defining Conspiracy, you are STILL subject to the common law "plan = conspiracy" standard.

        The right to privacy was one of those unspoken, but widely accepted theories of British Common Law. But with the publication and ratification of the US Constitution, many areas of Common Law became statutory. Nowadays, the right to privacy is a statutory one, carved out of the intersection of individual rights derived from the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 14th ammendments. For instance, the 5th ammendment gives you the right not to self-incriminate, the 4th gives you protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, and the 14th and 6th amendments insure that you have due process rights (although this seems to fly over the head of the Bush Administration). In the middle of the 20th century, the USSC began to interpret the nexus of these rights as creating an area of individual activity that should be free from government interference. Some of the more famous cases, Griswold v. Connecticut and progeny, Roe v. Wade and progeny, found that while the right to privacy was not enumerated, it was implied, in the same way that if you say "I consult with my attorney Monday through Sunday," you have implied that you also talk to your attorney Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.

        First Amendment concerns have previously been found insufficient to justify terroristic threats. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the Nuremberg Files did not enjoy First Amendment protections in listing the names and addresses of doctors on the Internet. A court in April ruled that burning crosses does not enjoy First Amendment protections either. And of course, First Amendment concerns may sometimes conflict with property rights (as in the case of spam). There is no right that is absolute and that trumps all others. You have to consider the situation.

        I don't know what's going on with Streisand, since the story doesn't seem to mention her at all. But it seems to me that you're insisting she has no right to privacy because you don't like her. But if she has no right to privacy, neither do you.

      • by wass (72082)
        Out of curioisity, would you then not complain if someone was motivated enough to follow you around 24-7 (using consistent aerial photographs when you're on your own or someone else's property) and publish the photos and information on a webpage? You might say right now that you do not mind, but if you were as famous as Streisand, and even as remotely despised, and had several stalker problems (probably most stalkers out of dislike rather than infatuation), you'd most likely have problems with this.

        What d

    • by dagnabit (89294) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:14PM (#6102223) Homepage
      A[ctually|llegedly] _he_ didn't make the identifying entry. The way the gallery of images is set up, anyone can make comments and/or add captions to the photos. And that's what happened to Ms. Streisand's estate photo, and other celebrities' homes that were snapped as well.

      <Linda Richman>
      "I'm verklempt. Twok amongst yourselves. The topic is: she needs to get over it, and get over herself."
      </Linda Richman>

      You know, no big whoop.
    • by wass (72082)
      I read this news story a few days ago, and one facet omitted from the /. summary was that a large part of Streisand's complaint was that the aerial photograph clearly showed hidden entrances and pathways that should have been obscured to those just wandering around the premise without the benefit of a 3-D view. She's had alot of problems with stalkers and she claims these aerial photographs give the stalkers easier access into her property than they'd have otherwise.
    • by DarkZero (516460) on Monday June 02, 2003 @11:32PM (#6102749)
      don't like the woman at all, as I'm sure most /. readers don't, but that doesn't matter. She does have a right to privacy. There was no reason for her name to be mentioned on that website. One point in the lawsuit specifically states that the house is not listed in public records under her name. Like most of her property its registered under a corporate identity that can't be easily connected to her to protect her privacy. I can't help but wonder what would have happened if he hadn't disclosed the name of the owner, which is not required for the purposes of his site.

      Holy shit! Not only do people not have the right to view my lawn and the exterior of my home, but they also don't have the right to figure out who owns it? I better call my lawyer, but I've got an entire neighborhood to sue. I've also got to go down to the local sign shop and print up a nice, big sign saying, "Thank you for driving by. My lawyer will be contacting you later today."

      I'm definitely in favor of privacy rights, but those rights should not extend to things that you can see on my block with the naked eye. It also shouldn't be applied selectively to celebrities. If someone can take a snapshot of my home and say who lives there, then they should be able to do the same thing for Barbara Streisand.
    • by kimgh (600604) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @12:27AM (#6102984)
      If you walk down a public street with a camera, you can take pictures of any house you like without anyone seriously able to challenge your right to do so. If you are in a public place you can take all the pix you want.

      The airspace over all our houses is a public place, controlled by the FAA. There have been numerous challenges to this in this country, but generally it's been held that only the Federal Gov't has the jurisdiction to control the airspace. Taking aerial photos is therefore similar to taking photos from the street, in that both are public places.

      Adelman has taken these photos of the entire California coastline, even getting permission from the military to photograph the parts controlled by them. He has had several complaints from rich people who object to pix of their houses on the web, but he makes no exception for any of them. He has not singled out Streisand or anyone else, and he is not selling pix of her house for personal profit. The proceeds of sales go, as I understand it, to fund environmental preservation. He is legally allowed to fly in the airspace he was occupying at the time. Finally, hi-res satellite photos of the Streisand compound can no doubt be purchased from a for-profit organization, and presumably these have been available for years with no complaint from Ms. Streisand. So I think her case is pretty weak.

      Interestingly, I had no idea that Streisand owned a home on the coast, and even though I knew about the California Coastline project, never would have had much interest in looking at her home. But the news of this lawsuit changed that; I simply had to go look. Adelman made it easy by putting a link to it right on the home page. I'm sure that many people who didn't know about the project at all, or at least didn't care particularly, are now fully informed about it. If privacy is what Streisand is after, she has chosen a funny way to get it. Even if a judge orders the removal of the picture from the website, copies of it will no doubt remain available all over the web. Even if the project is shut down as a result of this suit, and all the pix disappear from the web, the picture of her house will be famous, and will persist as long as there is a web and interest in Streisand.

  • by ackthpt (218170) * on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:35PM (#6101988) Homepage Journal
    What a poop-head. And as soon as the next storm comes along and carves away more of her sandstone she'll have her mouthpiece (or maybe even herself if she's not to shy about the size of the audience) beg for a pile of rocks to save her precious shack from tumbling into the Pacific as nature goes about it's inevitable business.

    "Sorry, but we have no photographic record of how your coastline used to look, so we, and the good taxpayers, will just assume it's always had that room hanging over the ocean."

  • by Brian_Ellenberger (308720) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:39PM (#6102011)
    Streisand's suit complains that the photograph is of extraordinary clarity and violates her right to privacy, as it shows details of the property that one would not ordinarily be able to see from the road or the beach.

    So under "right to privacy", we are never allowed to include someone's home in a photograph? I guess that makes this product [nvidia.com] completely illegal.

    Or is it only rich and famous Hollywood stars whose homes are covered by "privacy" acts. After all, who would want to look at a picture of my shaby old 200K home.

    Streisand only seems like she is for the "little people" when it benefits her---either by raising publicity for her or by making her feel better by "fighting the EVIL REPUBLICANS". Strange that it is *HER* that is fighting this environmentalist's work and not some land developer or corporate polluter. But you can be sure if she wins, every land developer and corporate polluter will be using her case as a precedent. After all, don't they and their workers deserve privacy as well?

    Brian Ellenberger
  • by BitwizeGHC (145393) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:40PM (#6102018) Homepage
    Tardblog!!! [tardblog.com]
  • by hardave (87702) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:43PM (#6102031)
    In a couple of years, that cliff will erode to the point where her house will be in the ocean. Then she can build something else totally different, maybe a bit more inshore.

    That of course begs the question, how badly do insurance companies bilk you for building a house on top of a cliff on the ocean? Since I'm landlocked in the middle of Alberta, Canada, I can't say that I know too much about that.
  • heat/kitchen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Restil (31903) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:45PM (#6102044) Homepage
    This is pretty much a slam dunk for free speach. His comments, by her own admission, are accurate, so she can't claim libel. She's a public figure, so she can't whine about privacy. If she wanted privacy in her life, the best way to accomplish that was to not strut around in a swimming suit for a national public audience. OF COURSE old boyfriends are going to come back from the dead when you reach celebrity status. If you're going to be a celebrity, make sure there isn't anything in your past that's going to embarrass you or others, or learn to live with the fact that somewhere out there some nutball is going to get his two minutes of fame by telling a story that nobody really cares about anyway. Well, the tabloids will care, but they're just as likely to make something up anyway, probably something worse.

    -Restil
  • by jjeffries (17675) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:46PM (#6102049)
    I will print this picture out and add it to my "places to avoid if you don't want to run into Barbra Streisand" file.
  • Wait a sec... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by OrangeHairMan (560161) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:49PM (#6102068)
    This is cleary explained on the site [californiacoastline.org]:

    Privacy Concerns

    We are aware that we have photographed a number of homes in the process of documenting the California Coast. The California Coast is a unique and beautiful place, and those people who have chosen to live on it have made the coast a part of their lives, and their lives a part of the coast. It should come as no surprise that the public at large would be attracted to view this beautiful place some call home. We have little sympathy for those who would feel that in order to enjoy the beauty of the coast that they must deny others access to it.

    All of the photographs on this site have been taken from a public place and in compliance with applicable Federal and State laws. (emphasis mine)

    Please be sure to review some of the highest resolution photographs before forming your own opinion. You cannot see much detail, for example, identify individuals or see into a house. Also, as discussed in the next section, this information is available elsewhere.

    A very good book about how technology will affect the privacy of all of us is The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom? by David Brin.
  • Unreal .... (Score:3, Funny)

    by pherris (314792) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:53PM (#6102093) Homepage Journal
    Rant mode on ...

    To Barbara Streisand: Blow me. The guy really doesn't give a rat's ass about "just your house", it's a photographic survey. If you don't like it might I suggest you get your sorry butt down to Home Depot and buying a few acres worth of tarps and covering up that mansion (or collection of McMansions as the case may be). This is America. If it's in plain view from a public place then you are SOL.

    To Miss Vermont: Blow me. Seriously, you sound like a party animal. Maybe next time you'll think twice about getting nasty with just any guy. I think you need your dates to sign NDAs or you need to stop being such a _________ (fill in the blank). This lawsuit will most likely sink any goodwill you expected to get from your "title". I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors (and don't put the eggs on the bottom of the bag).

    Again, this is the US. The first amendment bigger than you low life, money grubbing trolls. Remember, it gives you the right to act like such jerks.

    • by IO ERROR (128968)
      To Miss Vermont: Blow me.

      Careful what you wish for. She probably will blow you.

  • by Faust7 (314817) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:57PM (#6102114) Homepage
    And folks wonder where the stereotype of celebrities as self-absorbed narcissists comes from. Well, no, perhaps they don't, but regardless--the photograph, taken from a big frickin' distance at that, was part of

    environmental and scientific research projects interested in the health of the coastline and coastal erosion.

    It isn't about you, dear heart, it's about science. You were old news years ago, though you enjoyed a brief revival with South Park. Get over yourself.
  • by bethanie (675210) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:58PM (#6102126) Journal
    Oops. I mean Toots.

    The major problem I have with the whole Miss Vermont thing is that the tales told about her are ADMITTEDLY accurate (RT[F]A). Now, she is holding herself up as a model of abstinence, temperance, steadfastness... and a whole other load of crap (see the saccharin-sweet-make-you-puke intro to her website, which I'm not gonna link to here 'cause she's on a litigious rampage, apparently *cough* www.katyjohnson.com *cough*)

    The problem isn't that she's being hypocritical -- everyone has the right to change their mind about the values they hold and what they want to represent. But the truth is, SHE DID THE STUFF that Max is writing about.

    Don't we all have dirty little secrets in our past (like, say, those 2 consecutive French Quarter Mardi Gras back in the 90s... I've still got sacks and sacks of beads -- my daughter *loves* playing with them!)??

    If you can't face up to your past, DON'T pursue a role as a public figure (like Miss Pure-and-Proper America -- DUH). Eventually, it's gonna come back and bite you in the ass. Either have the ovaries to stand up and address the "mistakes" you've made, or STFU and retire to a quiet life of obscurity.

    If you're really lucky, you can buy a house in Barbra Streisand's neighborhood and be ensured of your privacy! :-)

    ....Bethanie....
  • Clinton? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:58PM (#6102127) Homepage Journal

    Sooooo... you can't write about a former girlfriend, yet any and all dirt on Bill Clinton (a President, no less) including cigars, cum stains and other sordid crud is suitable for public consumption?

  • error in article (Score:5, Informative)

    by ketan (3574) on Monday June 02, 2003 @09:59PM (#6102130) Homepage
    The article states:
    Katy Johnson, who was Miss Vermont in 1999 and again in 2001, uses her site to promote what she calls her "platform of character education."
    That is incorrect. As you can see at the Miss Vermont previous winners page [missvermont.org], the winner in 2001 was Amy Johnson, not Katy Johnson, who won in 1999 and is the subject of the article. I should know; I went to high school with Amy and lived one street over.

    Furthermore, it just doesn't make sense for someone to be able to compete twice. Did it not occur to anyone at the NY Times or other papers to check this? I have seen the same error in several places.

  • by Robber Baron (112304) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:02PM (#6102154) Homepage
    Prior to today, I didn't know her name, never mind her reputation, as I had never even heard of her, and had never run across Max's site. Now everyone who reads Slashdot knows that she's a drunken slut! Way to protect that reputation! Perhaps "vapid" doesn't even begin to describe it...
  • Tucker Max galore (Score:5, Interesting)

    by EZmagz (538905) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:10PM (#6102192) Homepage
    Honestly, I just came across Tucker Max's website a few weeks ago by pure chance, and I have to admit...the kid knows how to push the limits. He's no dumbass off the street who just decided to throw up a website bashing his ex-girlfriend. Tucker Max graduated from Duke Law school and made an archive of sorts of all of his premiscuous adventures around the country. Debauchery galore, it's actually a pretty interesting read if you're into mysogonistic humor (so I'm appreciate vulgar stories...sue me).

    Regardless, it's a fine line sometimes between what's libel and what isn't. I'm a huge fan of First Ammendment rights, and even if it comes at the cost of someone's pride, then so be it.

    • by rycamor (194164) on Monday June 02, 2003 @11:32PM (#6102754)
      Maybe I'm an old-fashioned kind of guy, but I don't know what's scarier: the implications of this lawsuit to free speech, or the fact that this narcissistic blowhard of a guy is now being celebrated by wanna-be's all over slashdot.

      The humor is definitely Beavis & Butthead quality, IMHO.
  • by kaltkalt (620110) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:10PM (#6102195)
    Just to play devil's advocate here, what would you guys think of this if you could clearly see inside her house. Ya know, with one of those 600x zoom, infra-red heat-sensing 10,000 megapixel digital cameras that are just around the corner. Then would she have a case worthy of trumping the first amendment right to put said picture on the internet?
    • by liquidsin (398151) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:38PM (#6102398) Homepage
      I don't really think this is a first ammendment issue. This is about reasonable expectation of privacy. A photo taken from a public place of the outside of a building shouldn't be considered to be violating a reasonable expectation of privacy. A photo taken through and uncovered window probably would violate that privacy. By the same token, using strange magic to photograph the inside of the home is probably a violation of privacy too. Would you want the cops too see straight through your walls and catch a glimpse of the bong on the table? Probably not...
      • by kaltkalt (620110) on Monday June 02, 2003 @11:06PM (#6102602)
        If the court (the government) is going to enforce a judgment making this guy take down his picture (restricting speech) then it is a first amendment issue. If they both sign contracts to go on "Judge Judy" to have the dispute resolved (the contestants on those court shows sign contracts agreeing that they will abide by the mock-judge's ruling; failure to do so is breach of contract) then it would not be a first amendment issue. As far as I know, Barb is suing in a real "gubment" court. Note that first amendment and right to privacy are not mutually exclusive issues.

        If the cops looked through my walls it would violate the 4th amendment, unless they had a valid warrant. No first amendment issue, no right to privacy issue. Solely a 4th amendment search and seizure issue.
  • by Hao Wu (652581) on Monday June 02, 2003 @10:29PM (#6102332) Homepage
    She totally reminds me of the "Luanne" character.... if you know what I mean.
  • by Maxwell'sSilverLART (596756) on Monday June 02, 2003 @11:13PM (#6102649) Homepage

    An interesting angle on the Barbara Streisand suit:

    The photographer claims to have taken his pictures "from a helicopter flying over the Pacific Ocean." This could present a jurisdictional issue.

    SCOTUS precedent holds that the federal government has sole jurisdiction to the airspace over the US, as well as to lands off the coast (United States v. State of Texas, 1950, for the latter decision, which was used to support the former as well; a previous case, US v. California, also deals with offshore rights, and was used to support US v. Texas). If the location from which the picures were taken was outside the jurisdiction of California, then California would have no claim; in this case, he may have been twice out of their jurisdiction: once offshore, once in the air. Without jurisdiction, the State of California can blow and go all it wants, but can't bother the photographer. 'Course, he'll probably have to fight in Federal court to establish that, but it's still an interesting position.

    You'd think the First Amendment would take care of such things, but it wouldn't be the first Amendment (no pun intended) to be ignored in California....

    (IANAL, but I did help write a textbook [ou.edu] on Aviation Law; US v. Texas is discussed in Chapter 7.)

  • Katy Johnson mirror (Score:3, Informative)

    by touretzky (215593) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @12:42AM (#6103062) Homepage
    The Google cache doesn't last forever, you know. That's why I made this mirror [cmu.edu] of the disputed essay.

    It will be interesting to see how long this case survives now that Mr. Max has legal representation.

  • by bmasel (129946) <bmasel@BOHRtds.net minus physicist> on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @01:32AM (#6103265) Journal

    It's invalid because it was issued without giving him an opportunity to contest. From [findlaw.com]
    CARROLL v. COMMISIONERS OFPRINCESS ANNE, 393 U.S. 175 (1968)


    "The 10-day order here must be set aside because of a basic infirmity in the procedure by which it was obtained. It was issued ex parte, without notice to petitioners and without any effort, however informal, to invite or permit their participation in the proceedings. There is a place in our jurisprudence for ex parte issuance, without notice, of temporary restraining orders of short duration; but there is no place within the area of basic freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment for such orders where no showing is made that it is impossible to serve or to notify the opposing parties and to give them an opportunity to participate."...


    and citing A Quantity of Books v. Kansas, [393 U.S. 175, 182] Ê 378 U.S. 205 (1964)." [findlaw.com]


    " In the latter case, this Court disapproved a seizure of books under a Kansas statute on the basis of ex parte scrutiny by a judge. The Court held that the statute was unconstitutional. MR. JUSTICE BRENNAN, speaking for a plurality of the Court, condemned the statute for "not first affording [the seller of the books] an adversary hearing." Id., at 211. "



  • by TygerFish (176957) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @05:21AM (#6104002)
    Of the two people in the man story, Johnson is by far the more scary. In fact both of them are *way* scary followed by the judge in the case who is scary AND ignorant.

    Tucker is a creep. The man is an IQ-test for women living in a modern, pluralistic society where women are free to choose sexual partners. In any place like the United States or Western Europe where women can choose one, many, or no sexual partners, women learn to avoid the Tuckers of the world, usually in high school, or they fail to and it isn't anyone's business.

    The fact that Johnson hadn't learned it and didn't avoid Tucker is telling with respect to her... a cautionary tale about classic prudery and its abstinence-as-ignorance-as-virtue attitude. In the real world, Johnson got off lucky in that She could have gotten more than just a Tucker: she could have gotten a Tucker with a disease.

    The judge in the case is a horror who in a better world would wake up covered in a sweat of realization and retire from the bench after reversing herself .

    Yes, Tucker's portrayal of Johnson is painful to Johnson. Tucker is an egotistical turd, a man an earlier age would have called a cad, but the judge's decision sacrifices Tucker's right to free speech -- and by precedent, anyone's who comes before a court in a similar case -- in order to protect Johnson's right to hypocrisy; essentially, her right to foist on young women a standard of behavior that she herself obviously coudln't live up to and that was just as obviously harmful to her.

    Johnson couldn't keep her legs closed when a Tucker rolled around, and she is selling the same set of attitudes that made her situation possible to impressionable young women; basically setting them up with the same sexual ignorance and social naivete that lead to her experience. Tucker's rebuttal, as nasty as it might be, would have provided a counterbalance to Johnson's B.S. and denial, working exactly as our free-speech provision is supposed to, and the judge shot that down. Honestly, that judge shouldn't be a judge anymore.

    I can't stand the Tuckers of the world but I can only hope he appeals and wins.

  • by pdjohe (575876) on Tuesday June 03, 2003 @08:40AM (#6104624)
    After spending quite a long time reading that Max Tucker story and then looking through Katy's website, I believe I have a good picture of the mentality of this woman's life.

    1. Overprotective parent (mother from what I've read)
    2. Easily taken in by an agressive male 'player'
    3. Because of the strict rules placed on her, she is eager to rebel and gets carried away with the sex and booze.

    4a. Eventually realizes (as most people figure out later in life), that her parents might have had some good points growing up - create a website with their rules to make her parents proud and hide her past experiences.
    4b. Feels that she has been taken advantage of and makes a website that can help other girls who might fall into similar situations.

    Judging by the way she handles situations in the Max story, she doesn't appear to catch on quickly what's going on (polite 'dumb blond' statement). I would venture to guess it is the same with many of the guys she's dated - unable to know if they are in it for just sex and then dump aside. It seems to me that due to her personality and her position as a beauty queen, etc, that men would generally be in a relationship to take advantage of her.

    I can easily understand why somebody who went through such relationship as she did with Max would try and publicize abstinence from sex and alcohol and from letting men take advantage of them. It seems like a defence mechanism to somehow correct her own mistakes.

    However I feel she should seek councelling herself and come to more of a balance between her inner desires/emotions and the rules she grew up with. From looking that the two websites, it seems like it is an all-or-nothing approach from her part.

    I honestly feel sorry for the woman. She is trying to help women out there - moreover, making somewhat of a career out of it. I think she would be better off to be somewhat honest with the audience of her website. Something like, I've been there, don't do it, instead of trying to hide her past with this lawsuit. Perhaps simply as Max to tone down the site, removing the profanity (i.e. "pull down my pants and eat my member for dinner"). If her website was more upfront about her own experiences, this Max guy might not have written the story to begin with. Although, I feel many of the cartoons on her site are probably somewhat auto-biographical.

    Nevertheless, I'm sure some therapy would help her.

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