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No Invasion of Privacy Claim for Poem Poached from Published MySpace Posting

A California college student who posted an unflattering “ode” to her home town on her MySpace page could not assert a state law invasion of privacy claim after her high school principal saw the posting and forwarded it to the editor of the local newspaper, who printed the piece as a letter to the editor.  Never mind the death threats against her family that ensued, and the shot fired into her parents’ home. Or the fact that her father had to close down the 20-year-old family business after suffering severe losses following publication. “Having been published on myspace.com, the Ode was not private,” wrote a California appeals court. And the fact that the student expected only a limited audience would view her MySpace page did not alter the analysis. Does such a ruling give employers carte blanche to use information gleaned about employees via social media? Hardly. Even in the case at hand, an unpublished portion of the opinion resuscitates the plaintiff’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (Moreno v Hanford Sentinel, Inc, CalCtApp, April 2, 2009).

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