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LETTERS

81/10/26:  "Dream House, Time, at 4:

"I greatly enjoyed Lance Morrow's Essay "Downsizing an American Dream" [Oct. 5]. While he recognizes the frustration of those who can't afford the type of home their parents owned, he neglects the plight of those whose parents were forced or chose to live in apartments. I am a second-generation rent-paying apartment dweller who has reconstrued the American dream to be a lofty one-bedroom, with Betamax and Jacuzzi, overlooking the lights of midtown Manhattan.

"Lawrence Savell
New York City"

88/04/26:  "'Right to Privacy,'" Manhattan Lawyer, at 13:

"To the Editor:

"As one who has studied and written on New York's right of privacy (see Savell, 'Right of Privacy--Appropriation of a Person's Name, Portrait, or Picture for Advertising or Trade Purposes Without Prior Written Consent:  History and Scope in New York,' 48 Albany Law Review 1-47 (1983)), I wish to correct some inaccuracies in Leonard Marks' otherwise excellent April 12 article 'Granting Publicity Rights to Heirs Protects Performers' Privacy Rights.'

"First, contrary to Mr. Marks' assertion (and that of the Court of Appeals in the 1902 Roberson case), Warren and Brandeis titled their seminal article (which was actually published in 1890) and the right it advanced 'The Right To Privacy,'  although in succeeding years the 'right of privacy' became the common expression of the concept used by courts, legislatures, and commentators.

"Second, nowhere in the record or opinions in Roberson is there any support for Mr. Marks' statement that, among the plaintiff's other injuries, 'Abigail complained that she became . . . sore, lame, [and] disabled'--although the equally legendary Mrs. Palsgraf may have expressed such complaints.

Finally, the statement that '[w]ithin a year of the Roberson decision, New York adopted the Civil Rights Law providing for a misdemeanor (Sec. 50), injunctive relief and damages (Sec. 51)' is technically inaccurate.  While today the statutory  protection is found in the Civil Rights Law and in those cited sections, such protection was initially enacted as 1903 N.Y. Laws chapter 132, with section 1 containing the language of current section 50 and section 2 containing only the first sentence of current section 51.  The actual Civil Rights Law was not enacted until 1909 N.Y. Laws chapter 14.  Moreover, while Mr. Marks is correct in stating that '[t]he legislature was quick to respond,' it was apparently not responding to the Roberson decision per se but to the resulting great public sympathy for the plaintiff which led to a storm of professional and popular disapproval reflected, among other ways, in a flurry of articles in lay periodicals and law journals criticizing the court of appeals' decision.  Indeed, as reported in an unusual Columbia Law Review article by Court of Appeals Judge Denis O'Brien, who had joined in and was then defending the Roberson majority opinion, a prior bill aimed at 'prohibiting the use of pictures and photographs without the consent of the person represented' had been viewed as 'the most unpopular bill that had made its appearance in the legislature for many years,' resulting in its and its authors' defeat.

"Lawrence Savell
Chadbourne & Parke"

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93/06/29: "Cautionary Note On Wireless Systems," New York Law Journal, at 2:

"I would like to add one cautionary note to Randolph J. Burkart's informative article, "Jamming on the Airwaves as Legal Technology Gets Mobile" (NYLJ, June 22). Lawyers using or contemplating wireless communications systems and mobile data systems for transmitting sensitive and confidential client data and information should keep in mind the potential for such transmissions being intercepted or monitored by unauthorized third parties. There may be ways to reduce the chance of such appropriation (such as, for example, by encrypting the communication). But lawyers, entrusted with keeping private matters private, need to be aware of the potential security limitations of this developing technology."

 

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