Lewis doesn't believe movie stars and other well-known persons are always
properly deemed public figures. Lewis thus sees as mistaken the 1940
decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Sidis
v. F-R Publishing Corporation. The case arose when James Thurber,
writing under a pseudonym for The New Yorker, targeted a former boy
"genius," William James Sidis, who was then a quiet, eccentric,
middle-aged man living in obscurity. Sidis sued for libel, but the Court
ruled, in effect, that a person who once was famous is always famous.
Lewis disagrees, emphasizing . . . that courts must balance the competing
values of personal privacy and the public's right to know."
Feb. 29, 2008