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Naked bike ride video prompts lawsuit

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

The Philadelphia Naked Bike Ride happened two weeks ago but its effect still lingers. The loosely organized Labor Day weekend event attracted about a thousand people to take off their clothes and ride bicycles through the city. But now, a lawsuit is brewing.

Several thousands of photos were taken by major news outlets, bloggers, and the riders themselves. But Naked Bike Ride organizers are taking issue with a video production company selling DVDs.

Wild About Philly TV shot footage and interviewed riders for a documentary it is now selling over the internet. Ride organizers characterize the video as prurient and sexual – not in the spirit of the event. They’re asking riders to take action against Wild About Philly TV for using their image without consent.

Steve Shapiro a media lawyer with Schnader Harrison Segal and Lewis, says the riders may not have much of a legal case.

“Anyone has a right to photograph anything they see from a public location. Seems to me it would be difficult for someone who rode through the streets of Philadelphia to argue that they had a reasonable expectation of privacy to do that.”

Regardless of privacy issues, Shapiro says Free Speech rights make it highly unlikely a court would prevent Wild About Philly from selling DVDs. Ride organizers will ask the company to pull the video voluntarily.

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