Who Owns Your Face? Privacy Issues in the Internet Age

You do, but not necessarily the images. Abigail Robinson – “Flour of the Family”On December 15, 1890, Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren published an article titled “The Right to Privacy” in the Harvard Law Review. This became the basis for the development of privacy law in the US. In 1900 the first privacy case was filed in NY State. In Rochester NY, Franklin Mills produced some 25,000 lithographic advertising posters (new technology at the time) with the headline “Flour of the Family,” using a portrait of teenaged Abigail Robinson. It had been obtained from a photo studio and used without her consent. Robinson claimed to be greatly humiliated by the jeers of people who recognized her face. She was treated by a physician for severe nervous shock and confined to bed. Hence, a lawsuit was filed against Franklin Mills and Rochester Folding Box Company for creating the ad. After an initial win and reversal on appeal, the law was quickly changed in 1903 in NY State followed shortly by most of the other states.

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