Afterword [Overcomers]

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Legal Questions and Answers

These points are personal views of the editor and not legal advice. Feel free to submit corrections.

This section will probably be moved to its own page.

Q. If you post photos that came from people's social media pages, does that mean that the social media com­pan­ies own them?

A. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But it doesn't really mat­ter. See the next ques­tion.

Q. Don't you need permission to post photos that some­body else owns? Isn't it against the law to do so with­out per­mis­sion?

A. If the circumstances meet the con­di­tions for some­thing called Fair Use, no, cer­tain­ly not.

The rights-holder can demand a temporary take-down through a DMCA filing but a web­site editor can file a counter-notice. The rights-holder then has 14 days to file an actual law­suit or lose the case.

DMCA must be filed by the rights-holder, not some­body who simply feels aggrieved. It can be a pros­e­cu­table crime to do a DMCA filing under false pre­tenses.

Q. Isn't it illegal to post some­body's street address, either office or resi­dence, online with­out their per­mis­sion?

A. In the general case, no. In fact, you can post more sig­ni­fi­cant information such as Social Security Num­bers. The editor for this web­site has done so on Haggis Hell.

However, some important rules apply.

There are special cases such as professions that are pro­tect­ed from the dis­closure of resi­dence addresses per se. For example, it's illegal in some States to post the resi­dence addresses of judges, pro­se­cu­tors, and/or law enforce­ment officers.

It can also be highly illegal to disclose personal infor­ma­tion of most types if you're a State or Federal employee or a health-care work­er or simi­lar employee and you obtain such informa­tion from pro­tect­ed docu­ments.

One rule which applies to the general case is that legi­timate and reason­able pur­poses are a shield against most civil and/or crim­inal alle­ga­tions that an aggrieved subject might try to make. Not an abso­lute shield, but a pret­ty good one.

It's certainly legal to post a street address or other factual infor­ma­tion, short of some­thing such as a photo that falls sep­a­rate­ly under copy­right rules, which the sub­ject of the infor­ma­tion has post­ed them­selves.

One interesting legal point is the ques­tion of how far the pre­ced­ing rule goes.

If Person A is in a protected status of some type, for exam­ple, and they make their street address pub­lic, it should be legal for Person B for link to the pub­lic dis­closure and/or to post a screen­shot of it.

However, Person A would disagree. The problem with Person A's position, in this case, is that sub­se­quent to the initial disclosure, viola­tion of pro­tect­ed status is basical­ly a thought crime. The defin­i­tion of what does and doesn't con­sti­tute a viola­tion would seem to get into some sticky areas.

The editor, OldCoder, encoun­tered the preceding situ­a­tion per­son­al­ly in 2012. He was dir­ec­ted by a Court not to “seek” the street address of his father. The prob­lem with this was that the order came in a docu­ment which had his father's street address in it right on the first page. So, natur­al­ly, OldCoder post­ed a screen­shot of that and asked the other side to com­ment.

Oddly, no comments were ever received.

This is a stand-alone essay related to the Overcomers project itself. To jump to the start and the index, click here.

site_reflections.txt · Last modified: 2022/11/02 23:32 by poikilos