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Feed Techdirt: Pittsburgh Couple Sues Google Over Photos Of Their House (techdirt.com)

The term "the Streisand Effect" was coined back in 2005 in reference to Barbara Streisand's decision in 2003 to sue an aerial photographer who, in the process of photographing the entire west coast from a helicopter, took a photo of her house. Not only did she lose the case (and have to pay lawyers' fees), the photo of her house, that no one had paid any attention to, got a ton of traffic. If she had any claim at all (which she really didn't), it would have to do with her being a public figure. However, the situation is even more ridiculous when you're dealing with non-public figures.

Yet, here we are in a nearly identical story. Aaron and Christine Boring are a couple who live in Pittsburgh and apparently have freaked out that Google's "Street View" offering includes a photo of their home. In fact, they've sued Google claiming that the photos of their home violate their privacy and "devalue" the property. They also claim that it was trespassing because there was a clear sign saying that the road was a private road. Of course, as the AP article notes, most of the info is already public, including photos of the house which are available on the The Allegheny County real estate Web site. Of course, looking over the sets of photos, it looks as though the Google street view team may have driven up the couple's driveway a bit, which perhaps (just slightly) explains the complaint. Still, Google says that if anyone wants photos of their property removed, they just need to ask Google and prove that they own the property in question. No lawsuit needed. In the meantime, of course, just as with Streisand, the Google photos of the Borings' house are now widely available and getting a lot more attention. Apparently, the Borings don't listen to NPR.

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