Aug 312011
 August 31, 2011  Posted by  Misc

Steven Rosen reports:

People have long romanticized the 1950s — Marilyn Monroe’s windswept dress, Sun rockabilly 45s, beatnik coffeehouse gatherings, Madison Avenue martini lunches.Larken Design in Cincinnati is selling artwork and notebooks with police mug shots from the 1950s, raising concerns about the privacy rights of individuals and the disposal of public records.

But old, forgotten mug shots? What is appealing about that?


But as the business grows, it raises questions with no clear answers about the legality and propriety of distributing government property like mug shots, which are increasingly popular enticements to Web sites like The Smoking Gun.

Should there be privacy protection for the subjects, as well as safeguards to the way public agencies dispose of potentially embarrassing “hard copies” of records, in an age known for using digital technology to recycle found images into art? And, even when it is not the intent, does finding a new use for material like an old mug shot amount to profiting off someone else’s ancient misfortune?

Read more in the New York Times.

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