Attorneys for Barbra Streisand Friday morning (June 6) filed a suit in Los Angeles Superior Court seeking to stop millionaire software tycoon Kenneth Adelman from using her name on his website. This specific identification is prominently featured on Adelman’s website showing every home, nuclear power plant and almost all sensitive defense sites, even though over 11,000 other coastal dwellers are accorded full anonymity in the publication of purchasable detailed photos of their homes.
A statement released by her lawyers notes that Ms. Streisand is undertaking the suit to protect her own household from stalkers and stalkerazzi who have plagued and endangered her in the past. “We first asked Mr. Adelman simply to remove my name so as not to specifically identify my home,” the statement quotes Ms. Streisand. “I asked only for the minimal respect for my safety which he had accorded thousands of others whose homes he photographed without authorization from his personal helicopter. I’m sure some of the others have vulnerability concerns, too, because their homes and sometimes even their children’s whereabouts are depicted in detail in this mass internet invasion of privacy.”
Streisand’s attorney, John Gatti, noted that “Mr. Adelman after great length responded with derision and contemptuous refusal when first advised that his use of Ms. Streisand’s name created very real safety and privacy concerns.”
Upon Adelman’s refusal to stop using her name, the publicity-shy Streisand last week instituted an invasion of privacy suit against Adelman, a software mogul who retired in his thirties after selling his software firms for $445,000,000. Streisand’s representatives filed the suit “under seal,” meaning that only at the court’s discretion could it be released to media, but it was widely and immediately leaked to the press after papers were given to Mr. Adelman. Any proceeds from that ten million dollar action,” Gatti states, “will be directed by Ms. Streisand to organizations that protect the environment. Although Mr. Adelman purports to have undertaken the his photography for environmental reasons, his website does not attempt to explain how depicting Ms. Streisand’s home together with her name serves any environmental purpose.”
A known environmental activist, Streisand has given or raised more than twenty million dollars through her Streisand Foundation, most of it for preservation of the environment, as well as donating her prior home to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy for environmental studies.
Prof. Daniel J. Solove of Seton Hall Law School, a noted privacy rights expert and a consultant for Streisand’s lawyers, observed, “This case involves a privacy issue with very important implications – the ability of people to protect the privacy of their homes and the locations in which they live. The law has provided very strong protection to the privacy of the home. The location of one’s home can be an urgent matter for many people, who have very compelling reasons to maintain the privacy of this information, such as avoiding stalkers, paparazzi and threats of violence. For many people, privacy is essential to being safe and secure in their own homes. Courts and legislatures around the country have protected the privacy of home addresses in many instances, especially where there is the potential for harassment or danger.”
Mr Gatti further remarked, “With malicious intent, Mr. Adelman has used Ms. Streisand’s name to promote a website which has provided potential kidnappers, stalkers, home invaders or even terrorists valuable data not only on tens of thousands of private homes on the coast and well inland, but also on all vital defense sites (with the exception of Vandenberg Air Base which wisely refused to allow Adelman’s overfllight) including all nuclear sites on the southern two-thirds of America’s Pacific coast.”