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Thursday, January 09, 2014

Courts - "Websites will no longer bill to remove mug shots"

John Seewer of the AP reports today in a long story that begins:

TOLEDO, Ohio – Two Internet sites that make money by posting millions of mug shots of people who’ve been arrested have agreed to stop charging them to take down their photos as part of a settlement in a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit came about after a number of complaints from people who said the websites were charging hundreds of dollars to remove the mug shots even if the cases against those arrested had been dropped.

The settlement in U.S. District Court in Toledo doesn’t apply to all of the mug shot sites that can be found online, just two – BustedMugshots.com and MugshotsOnline.com.

Similar lawsuits have been filed in Florida, Illinois, and Pennsylvania while legislators in Georgia and Utah have passed laws aimed at stopping the sites from charging to remove arrest photos. Lawmakers in California are considering a similar proposal.

But efforts to rein in the sites have been complicated by questions about whether the attempts infringe on First Amendment rights and the difficulty of tracking down who owns the sites, some of which claim to originate from outside the country.

For background, see this long list of earlier ILB posts.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 9, 2014 10:07 AM
Posted to Courts in general