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Meredith Making Money from Subscribers’ Private Info Washington Class Action

Meredith Corporation is an international media company that publishes many familiar magazines, including Better Homes and Gardens, People, Sports Illustrated, and Southern Living. But it may not make all of its revenue by selling magazines. The complaint for this class action alleges that Meredith also shares the information of its subscribers, including their gender, ethnicity, and religion, to parties like data aggregators, data cooperatives, and list brokers.

The class for this action is all Washington residents whose names and/or identities were contained on or in any of Meredith’s data brokerage products.

Information is valuable. It can be sold, but it can also be rented or otherwise shared. The complaint alleges, “By renting, exchanging, or otherwise disclosing—rather than outright selling—its magazine subscribers’ identities, Meredith is able to misappropriate (and profit from) their identities time and time against to countless third parties.”

The complaint alleges that this sharing of information for profit is both unlawful and dangerous, “because it provides malevolent actors with the tools needed to target particular members of society.”

What law does this sharing violate? The complaint claims that it violates the Washington Right of Publicity Statute.

The complaint quotes that law as saying, “Any person who uses or authorizes the use of a living or deceased individual’s … name … on or in goods, merchandise, or products entered into commerce in this state … without written or oral, express or implied consent of the owner of the right, has infringed such right. An infringement may occur under this section without regard to whether the use or activity is for profit or not for profit.”

According to the complaint, “Selling the names and subscriber information as detailed above clearly constitutes using a person’s name ‘in goods, merchandise, or products entered into commerce in this state, or for purposes of advertising products, merchandise, goods, or services.”

The complaint contends that Meredith does not get its customers’ consent, in any form, before it shares their information. In fact, it says, customers are often not aware that their identities and private information are being rented and exchanged with third parties.

This is because when consumers buy subscriptions to Meredith’s magazines, the complaint alleges that Meredith never asks them to read or agree to terms of service or privacy policy, “let alone one that would allow it to misappropriate their property rights with impunity.” Meredith therefore does not get any kind of consent from its customers for sharing their information, nor does it tell them that it is doing so.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Privacy

Most Recent Case Event

Meredith Making Money from Subscribers’ Private Info Washington Complaint

November 5, 2021

Meredith Corporation is an international media company that publishes many familiar magazines, including Better Home and Gardens, People, Sports Illustrated, and Southern Living. But it may not make all of its revenue by selling magazines. The complaint for this class action alleges that Meredith also shares the information of its subscribers, including their gender, ethnicity, and religion, to parties like data aggregators, data cooperatives, and list brokers.

Meredith Making Money from Subscribers’ Private Info Washington Complaint

Case Event History

Meredith Making Money from Subscribers’ Private Info Washington Complaint

November 5, 2021

Meredith Corporation is an international media company that publishes many familiar magazines, including Better Home and Gardens, People, Sports Illustrated, and Southern Living. But it may not make all of its revenue by selling magazines. The complaint for this class action alleges that Meredith also shares the information of its subscribers, including their gender, ethnicity, and religion, to parties like data aggregators, data cooperatives, and list brokers.

Meredith Making Money from Subscribers’ Private Info Washington Complaint
Tags: Sharing Personal Information with Third Parties, Using Your Private Information Without Consent, Your Privacy