”Exploiting Images and Protecting Privacy: Has the Time Come for the Law to Recognise Publicity Rights?” This was the name of a talk given on Wednesday by Dr Edgar Forbes (Centre for Intellectual Property Policy & Management, Bournemouth University) at the Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute. Edgar also masterminds the Media Beak weblog, which takes a sharp and critical look at contemporary British media and policy issues

Speaking to an audience of IP enthusiasts in a packed seminar room, Edgar sought to show how an individual’s personal rights might be characterised having either a private or public dimension. He contrasted the protection given to a person’s financial interest in preserving his property-publicity-image-commercial persona with that given to his private-human right persona. At present UK law lacked either a clear-cut right of publicity or a clear-cut right of publicity. Creation of a formal right of publicity would leave the way clear to develop a strong privacy-oriented human right.

Edgar considered important recent cases, including Wainwright and Douglas and Zeta-Jones v Hello!. These decisions suggested that, while some judges may identify privacy as a value and as a justification for the protection of the individual against intrusive raids on the integrity of his private life, that justification does not of itself constitute a legal right. Right now the relationship of the privacy principle to the legal relief granted so as to restrain a breach of confidence created a muddled sort of “prividence”.

Anyone interested in pursuing this topic further is encouraged to contact Edgar direct.

The IPKat muses on the seeming reluctance of British courts to evolve consolidatory rights in the field of intellectual property. The law of passing off continues to spread in all directions. In one direction it has not yet become a law of unfair competition while in another direction it has failed to become a right of publicity. Likewise, the equitable remedy of breach of confidence continues to blossom, but still doesn't metamorphose into a right of privacy. but the law has edged so far in each of these directions that it just needs a tiny nudge to push it over the brink and into the new conceptual labels that lie in wait.

How privacy doctrine works: click here, here and here
Rghts of publicity here, here and here
Unwanted privacy here and here
Unwanted publicity here, here and here
Personal secrets here, here and here
Click for paparazzi here, here and here

PRIVACY IN THE UK: HAS THE TIME COME? PRIVACY IN THE UK: HAS THE TIME COME? Reviewed by Jeremy and Ilanah on Friday, February 06, 2004 Rating: 5

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