Peck v. Tribune Co.
Annotate this Case
214 U.S. 185 (1909)
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U.S. Supreme Court
Peck v. Tribune Co., 214 U.S. 185 (1909)
Peck v. Tribune Company
Argued April 29, 30, 1909
Decided May 17, 1909
214 U.S. 185
The publication of a portrait with a statement thereunder imports that the original of the portrait makes the statement even if another name be attached to the statement. Wandt v. Hearst's Chicago American, 129 Wis. 419; Morrison v. Smith, 177 N.Y. 366, approved on this point.
Publication of the portrait of one person with statements thereunder as of another, by mistake, and without knowledge of whom the portrait really is, is not an excuse. A libel is harmful on its face, and one publishing manifestly hurtful statements concerning an individual does so at his peril; and, if there is no justification other than that it was news or advertising, he is liable if the statements are false or are true only of some one else. See Morasse v. Brochu, 151 Mass. 567.
An unprivileged falsehood need not entail universal hatred to constitute a cause of action; to be libelous, a statement need not be that the person libelled has done or said something that everyone, or even a majority of persons in the community, may regard as discreditable; it is sufficient if the statement hurts the party alluded to in the estimation of an important and respectable part of the community.
A woman whose portrait is published in connection with an endorsement of a brand of whiskey may be seriously hurt in her standing with a considerable portion of her neighbors, and she is entitled to prove her case and go to the jury.
Quaere, and not decided whether the unauthorized publication of a person's likeness is a tort per se.
154 F. 330 reversed.
The facts are stated in the opinion.