What are the Different Invasion of Privacy Laws?

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  • Written By: M. Lupica
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2020
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Invasion of privacy laws protect people from the intrusion into the personal life of another without just cause, which causes the person whose life has been intruded upon some harm. There are four types of invasion of privacy laws defined in common law: appropriation of the plaintiff’s picture or name, intrusion upon the plaintiff’s affairs or seclusion, publication of facts placing the plaintiff in a false light, and public disclosure of private facts about the plaintiff. Though the privacy laws may vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the basic idea generally remains the same.

Invasion of privacy involving appropriation of the plaintiff’s picture or name generally requires that the plaintiff show an unauthorized use of the plaintiff’s picture or name for a commercial advantage. Typically, the plaintiff will have to show that his or her picture or name was used in an advertisement or promotion of a product or service. Just showing that the defendant received an economic benefit is not enough to prove this claim.

A plaintiff must generally show that there was an act of prying or intruding in a manner that would be objectionable to a reasonable person in order to make a claim for intrusion upon the plaintiff’s affairs or seclusion. This invasion of privacy must be committed in a private place, such as one’s home. There is no claim for intrusion upon the plaintiff’s seclusion in a public location.


False light invasion of privacy occurs when the defendant attributes to the plaintiff untrue opinions or actions taken by the plaintiff. Furthermore, the view or action must be something that would be objectionable to a reasonable person. The false light must also be made in a manner that is accessible to the general public to violate the false light invasion of privacy laws. In other words, the violation must have occurred in such a way as to make it publicly noticeable — not hidden from view.

Invasion of privacy involving public disclosure of private facts about the plaintiff generally requires that there is an unauthorized public dissemination of information about the plaintiff that was previously private. The public dissemination must also be objectionable to a reasonable person. The truth of the statement is irrelevant in the analysis as well — if it is a private fact that was unreasonably communicated to the public, it is a violation of public disclosure invasion of privacy laws.


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Post 4

@stl156 - I understand that some members of the paparazzi are not exactly good people for doing some of the things they do, but it comes with the territory of being a celebrity. That is why it is important for anyone famous to know what the laws are know when a member of the press or paparazzi is violating their privacy rights.

My advice to anyone that has any fame at all is to allow pictures to be taken and be friendly to those people that do so, because that is their job. Some people will try and take advantage of them and that is why it is important for them to know their rights and understand and accept what crosses the line and what does not just annoy them.

Post 3

@Izzy78 - I understand your assumption in that there are bad people in the paparazzi as there are bad people in any walk of life, but these people will always take advantage of a celebrity even if they have to portray them in a negative light.

The "dirt" as you describe is what makes the most money for a member of the paparazzi and they have no problem taking advantage of a celebrity in order to receive a big paycheck. Because of the amount of people doing things such as this the privacy laws are used to protect celebrities as much as they can to at least provide them some security from an unruly person trying to profit off of them

and portray them negatively.

However, the laws can only go so far and have to be consistent with other laws as well as the Constitution, and this is why the paparazzi continues to hound celebrities and profit off of them anyway they can.

Post 2

@matthewc23 - You are totally right. Even though people see the paparazzi as being leeches they do have a job and they are the ones that provide exposure and photographs of celebrities so that their fans can see them. If a celebrity is out in public a member of the paparazzi taking a picture of them is no different than a fan noticing them and taking a quick snap shot. The only difference is that it is the paparazzi's job to do this and they get paid for providing exposure to the celebrity.

Even though the paparazzi is seen in a negative light, they really help celebrities by providing them exposure and keeping them in the news. There are some members

of the paparazzi that try and find dirt on the celebrity in order to collect a big paycheck and this is of course illegal, however, most members of the paparazzi are only looking for anything that the celebrity provides and do not look for something that will provide negative press to the celebrity, that is of course, unless the celebrity does something bad that is newsworthy like push or shove one of them.

Post 1

Many people wonder if the paparazzi continually hounding celebrities constitutes an invasion of privacy. Since the paparazzi photographs the celebrity or bothered them out in public, they are not invading their privacy, only their personal space.

Although many celebrities will sue, or at least try and sue the paparazzi to get them away, they have to provide evidence, like the article stated that they were photographing them in a private place, such as their house, and not just out eating.

Some people have also wondered if the celebrity could sue because the paparazzi profited off their image with the photograph. This is of course not true because it is the paparazzi's job to photograph celebrities and if it were illegal to do so in a public place then you would not be hearing of the paparazzi.

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