Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Right To Privacy

ECHR's rejection of Max Mosley's claim should be celebrated.

Those who seek to injunct the world from knowing their business all seem to be successes in the worlds of sports or entertainment. These industries, and all those who work in them, depend upon public goodwill for their entire income. No accurate financial value can ever be placed on goodwill until it has gone. The media images of sportsmen and entertainers are now carefully manufactured; if they were not, the public relations industry would not require to exist. We have laws to prevent the peddling of defectively manufactured washing machines and electric toothbrushes. We have laws which prohibit the making of spurious claims in advertising. It appears to me that in publishing stories about some celebrities' outre lives, our tabloids perform the same role of policing the peddling of defectively or dishonestly manufactured items, namely those celebrities' public images, as the local Trading Standards department does in respect of imitation Rolexes on a barrow at the local market.

In 'The Final Days', Woodward and Bernstein recorded that one of the arguments advanced against the release of Nixon's types was that to do so would constitute an invasion of the public's privacy, of its right not to know. When the public, the crowd, the audience, whatever you care to call them, are paying your bills from income which has already been taxed, it is hard to see how a similar case can be made for the private lives of celebrities. It might be more honest, and would certainly be much more legally intelligible, for those who pursue claims for breach of privacy to pursue the available remedies for trademark infringement instead. After all, in both instances what's at stake is the preservation of brand value, although for some reason that's described as a reputation when you're referring to the brand value of a human being.

To put it another way - when a married actor consorts with a prostitute very much younger than himself, he may believe she is gagging for it; but it is unreasonable of him to believe that she should be gagged for it.



Blogger Paul said...

Hi Martin!

Hope all well!

Inspired by such as you have dipped toe in the blogging water -


Thoughts re the privacy and injunction issues.

I have a long way to go to be anywhere near as good or productive as you, but first step taken.

Catch up with you soon, and regards to all of the team.


24 May, 2011 00:55  
Blogger Martin said...

"I've done you before, haven't I?"

29 May, 2011 21:44  

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