Keeping a low profile

By Paul Brennan

You were aware of someone there with a video camera but were surprised when you appeared on the internet site, Youtube as “Drunken middle-aged fool dancing”. As the popularity of your video clip soars, people start to recognize you on the street.

Your lawyer tells you that you can’t stop it, even if you did not give your permission.

Before you vow never to go to another wedding-some things are private, even for celebrities and, therefore, protected:

  • When Naomi Campbell was snapped stepping out of the Narcotics Anonymous meeting, the papers were wrong in printing the pictures as it related to medical treatment.
  • Secret pictures taken of Ewan McGregor’s children.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones sold the right to take pictures of her wedding to OK! Magazine for GBP1M. A paparazzo sneaked in, took pictures and sold them to Hello Magazine. She was protected as she had made a prior deal.

Therefore, feigning a heart attack, involving your children and pre selling your drunken exhibition are all ways to stop your appearance on Youtube.  It may be worth a try to claim that a song you were singing at the time or your performance itself is a copyright work and ,therefore, protected.  A person caught on CCTV trying to commit suicide, unsuccessfully, was compensated when the pictures appeared in the press.

Whereas, an abattoir trying to stop pictures of their possum stunning procedure was not protected, even though taken by a trespasser.

What about affairs with neighbours,I hear you ask? Affairs and sexual indiscretions do not seem to be protected from press or,other interested parties-pictures or no pictures. Although, a Brazilian model who ,unexpectedly, discovered a video of her making love to her boyfriend on the internet was successful in having it removed. Therefore, an innocent couple’s lovemaking was something private on the same basis as rare footage of sex within marriage would also be protected.

So what is protected?

Well, it is a balance of your right to a private life against the video cameraman's or journalist’s often stronger right to freedom of expression. For instance, naked pictures of a young woman on a beach may not be protected. The same pictures in her bathroom, definitively yes. Naked pictures of a Judge (unless it is on a beach), hopefully yes.

Be warned your 15 minutes of fame awaits you.


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