THE RIGHT TO BE LEFT ALONE: PROTECTING PRIVACY AND PUBLICITY
You know something about the law of defamation if you've read Chapter 5. (If you haven't, do it now, so you'll have some background for what's to come.) You know it's dangerous to publish untruths about a person that injure that person's reputation for chastity, good health, business competence, honesty, and the like. Unfortunately, however, even though your words are true, they may leave you open to a lawsuit if they create a damaging false impression about another. Worse, your truthful words may cause you problems if they seriously invade the privacy of a person out of the public eye, or if they discuss a famous individual who wants to trade on his own fame without your help. And even if your reporting is impeccable, in the sense that it meets all ethical and legal standards, the way you go about obtaining your facts may cost you dearly if you illegally violate the privacy of another.
These fact situations give rise to several challenging legal doctrines that commentators often lump together under the heading "invasion of privacy." A better label for them is "protection of personality rights." Under either name, however, the important thing to understand is that several distinct rights, which differ from one another dramatically, are involved.