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You know there was a time when your business was..well, your business. Now in the world of the internet and constant Facebook updates, and tweeting (I still feel uncomfortable saying that), your business is the business of 3000 of your closest friends, and a bunch of people whom you don’t even know. One effect of this a blurring of the line between private and public, especially in family or personal matters. Such as getting arrested.

For fun, think of someone you know who has been arrested and Google their name and without even putting in “arrest” or “mugshot”, their mugshot will come up on websites such as bustedmugshots.com and justmugshots.com. It’s all fun and games, until it is you. But really, it’s public record, and they did get arrested, and so in that situation, there isn’t much recourse or sympathy (after all, we all want this open lack of privacy world, don’t we??? )

But what about when a person’s record is expunged and effectively sealed from public record and declared as never having happened? Then what when you Google them and their arrest mug shot comes up or when their potential employer does (after all, they are able to check “no” on job applications for having any convictions, yet here is the unflattering arrest mugshot).

This scenario is actually current litigation. The issue of the litigation is not the mug shot per se. As I said, it’s public record (though I still personally think there is an issue when there is a sealing of a record and the arrest still comes up on a search, but I will leave that for another day). The issue is that these sites in the name of Capitalism charge people hundreds of dollars to remove their mugshot from the site. The problem is that we all have an interest in our persona, our publicity (like of a like a personal trademark). And so a site making a profit through the publishing of someone’s protected persona creates an infringement of publicity rights.

Or so the argument goes by Attorney Scott Ciolek of Ohio goes who has filed a class action suit on behalf of thousands of persons who have been affected by this arrest mugshot/publicity rights infringement issue.

I hope somewhere in argument to the court he shouts Busted!