Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

Boring suit over Google’s Streetview

A couple by the name of Boring from Pittsburgh Pa is suing Google over a street view of their house.

Google’s Street View is a means by where you can get street level pictures of areas throughout selected areas in the united states.

Their shark in a suit… er lawyer, is asking for over 25 grand in damages. I have some mixed feelings about this. The suit claims that they are on a private lane that is ‘clearly marked’. If it is, the markings don’t stand out when you follow the street view pictures. If the ‘private lane’ sign was there and was visible, then the driver should not have gone down that lane. However, when you look at the pictures on the street view, it is difficult to tell where the public road ends and where the private road begins. Also, there doesn’t appear to be any recognizable pictures of people on the property.

I can just picture the late night ads now “I’m Joel Cheetum of Dewey Cheetum and Howe. Is a picture of your house shown on Google? If so, I can get you MONEY!!. Call now. 1 800 CONTINGENCYFEE . If we don’t collect, you don’t pay”.

I’ve found the street view feature to be extremely useful, especially when planning trips. You can see the features before you get there which means that you are less distracted when driving. It’s also good for getting an idea of the type of neighborhood where a hotel or B&B is located.

I’m not a lawyer (praise be to God) but as far as I know, photographs of buildings taken from public property are usually publishable with some exceptions (trademarked buildings such as the flatiron building) . I suppose some of the questions that will come up will be (1) is he road public or private (2) if it is private, is it clearly marked as such

My fear is that if this suit is successful, then lawyers all over the country looking for a couple of quick bucks will follow the lead of Dennis M. Moskal Esq. and file lawsuits.

One other consideration that the esteemed barrister apparently didn’t consider was that Google Maps also provides high res (approx 1 meter) satellite photos of the area. Will they start trying to have their individual property blocked out from the satellite view.?

Shakespeare had two quotes that come to mind

1. Much ado about nothing
2. What to do with all the lawyers (Henry VI)

The smoking gun has the court filing

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