John Caniglia reports that there’s been a settlement in one of the lawsuits filed over online mug shots sites that require payment for removal of the mug shot:
An Ohio lawsuit that gained national attention over Internet sites that make money off jail booking photos has been settled, though a plaintiff’s attorney says he continues to seek out the owner of a key player in the industry.
Three residents sued companies in U.S. District Court in Toledo, claiming the web sites, including BustedMugshots.com and mugshots.com, post the photos and then charge people — in some cases hundreds of dollars — to take them down.
The lawsuit was one of several filed across the country involving the web sites and their use of the photos. Others have been filed in Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania.
The notice of the settlement, filed Dec. 27, was signed by U.S. District Judge Jack Zouhary but does not go into any detail.
Joseph Centrich, an attorney for Citizens Information Associates LLC, said the agreement called for his client to pay $7,500 and agree to stop charging for the removal of the photos, something he said the company already had done.
Read more on Cleveland.com.
While I’m sure this is good news for the plaintiffs, their suit was not able to address the biggest web site involved, mugshots.com, as they are registered in Belize could not be served in Ohio. And since this is a settlement, we’re still without any precedent as to whether the sites’ conduct was lawful or not – although that might not be a bad thing should it turn out that the First Amendment might protect their offensive behavior.