Sir Cliff triumphs in privacy claim against the BBC
Privacy / August 2018

PRIVACY Broadcasting   Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sir Cliff Richard has won his privacy battle with the BBC and has won a substantial damages payment from the state broadcaster.   You will probably remember that this litigation spewed from the BBC’s coverage of South Yorkshire Police’s (SYP) raid on Sir Cliff’s Berkshire home in 2014. The raid was the result of a claim against Sir Cliff for historical sexual abuse. Whilst the BBC have already claimed the result of the case is a blow to press freedom, it must be remembered that no arrest was made, and ultimately resulted no charges were brought.   The BBC was tipped off about the time and date of the raid by SYP and went on to break the story as an exclusive on the 1 o’clock news. Scenes of the raid were filmed from both the ground and a helicopter. Following the BBC’s coverage, the story rapidly spread around the World.   Originally SYP was a named as a defendant alongside the BBC. In this tranche of the claim Sir Cliff claimed that SYP had breached privacy and the Data Protection Act 1998 by disclosing that he was under investigation for sexual offences and the date…

BBC in pain over Sir Cliff’s legal bills
Artists , Privacy / June 2017

PRIVACY Broadcasting, Artistes     The BBC has hit out at Sir Cliff Richard’s legal spend after the broadcaster provided controversial live coverage of a raid on Richard’s Berkshire home by the South Yorkshire Police in an investigation into claims of sexual abuse that were made against the singer in 2014.  No charges were made in relation to the allegations of historical sexual assault, with the Crown Prosecution Service dropping the case because of insufficient evidence.  Richard claimed that the BBC’s coverage of the case, facilitated by South Yorkshire Police, breached his privacy rights and, in doing so, inflicted “profound and long-lasting” damage on the singer’s reputation. The case is ongoing, with the BBC denying any wrongdoing.  At a High Court hearing the legal costs were set out, with the singer having already spent £525,437 on the civil case, in addition to £369,414 spent on solicitors who dealt with the legalities around the police raid. The BBC’s lawyers argue that those costs are “disproportionate” for a case of this kind. Unless any settlement can be reached, the case will now proceed to a full court hearing. The BBC has said it will defend its coverage of the raid.

Parklife’s ‘from Mum’ text backfires big time
Live Events , Privacy / January 2015

PRIVACY Live events sector, telecoms   The Warehouse Project, organisers of Manchester’s Parklife Festival in Heaton Park have been fined £70,000 after they sent out a promotional text message ahead of this year’s event which was set to appear on the recipient’s phone as if it had come from the recipients’ ‘Mum’. Promoting a series of post-festival club nights, the text read: “Some of the Parklife after parties have already sold out. If your going, make sure you’re home for breakfast! xxx” There was then a link to a web-page listing the after parties. After a substantial number of complaints (not least from those whose mothers were ill or had passed away)  Parklife organisers initially responded in a flippant matter, tweeting – according to the BBC – “so this is what it feels like to be a jar of Marmite #LoveItOrHateIt” but then amended this and admitted that their text campaign may have caused “unnecessary personal distress” to some recipients and adding that they would like to “apologise to them directly”. They later added: “The communication was intended as a fun way of engaging festival-goers. However, the festival acknowledges that this was not an appropriate theme for everyone”. The promotion…

Adele’s son wins damages over papped photo
Artists , Privacy / August 2014

PRIVACY Artistes   The son of pop singer Adele has been awarded £10,000 in damages and legal costs after a privacy case brought by Adele and her partner Sumin Konecki against Corbis Images UK whose photographer had papped the 2 year old Angelo Adkins and his parents without their permission. In the Hugh Court the singer argued that the photographs infringed their child’s privacy. The legal action was launched after Corbis Images UK shopped a number of photographs featuring Angelo to the UK press. These, said Adele’s lawyer Jenny Afia of Schillings captured his “milestone moments, such as his first family outing and his first trip to playgroup, [and] were photographed and published worldwide expressly against his family’s wishes”. Afia added: “The parents’ view is that these images were of routine, everyday family occasions which the paparazzi has no right to intrude upon, profit from and file away in picture libraries for future reference and use”. The damages will be held in trust for Angelo, and legal costs, as well as agreeing not to use the photos again in future. The company also passed on the names of the freelance photographers who took the pictures, to whom Afia’s Schillings law…

One Direction lawyers cite privacy and copyright issues with leaked video
Artists , Copyright , Privacy / July 2014

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Artistes   Reps for One Direction have reportedly threatened legal action against Mail Online over the website’s ‘pop punks’ Peruvian pot puff’ exclusive after 1D boys Louis Tomlinson and Zayn Malik were seen and heard in a video, seemingly recorded on the former’s phone, smoking and discussing smoking cannabis, and possibly using a racial slur in the process. The band have alleged that the video was “stolen” from Tomlinson’s phone. According to the Press Gazette, law firm Lee & Thompson has written to the Mail and other news organisations stating that distribution of the video amounts to both an invasion of privacy (because the conversation happened in a private vehicle) and copyright infringement (because Tomlinson owns the copyright). The legal letter reads: “This video is a private ‘home’ video (filmed in a private vehicle) which has been stolen and the copyright in which is owned by our client Louis Tomlinson. Any publication of the video is unauthorised and unlawful and legal steps are being taken against the parties involved”. 1D member Liam Payne made a number of tweets saying  “I love my boys and maybe things have gone a little sideways, I apologise for that. We are only…

Paul Weller’s wife calls for new privacy laws
Artists , Privacy / July 2014

PRIVACY Artistes   Hannah Weller, wife of Paul Weller and mother of three of his children has called for a change in the law to make it a criminal offence for newspapers to publish photos of children without the consent of their parents. The Wellers had successfully sued MailOnline after it published photos taken in California showing the one-time Jam and Style Council frontman shopping with three of his children and his wife. The singer said the photos were “plainly voyeuristic” and a “blatant impediment to the natural social progress of children”, and were taken despite him specifically asking the photographer to leave them alone. The Mail argued that the paparazzi in question did not violate any Californian laws, the photos were harmless, adding that Weller had discussed his family in interviews, his wife had tweeted photos of their twin sons, and his teenage daughter had modelled with Vogue. The High Court ruled that the MailOnline was part of a UK based media group Associated Newspapers, was governed by European privacy law regardless of where the photos were taken, and that the website had breached those laws by publishing the snaps. Weller was awarded £10,000 in damages. Hannah Weller has…

CJEU upholds ‘right to be forgotten’
Artists , Privacy / June 2014

PRIVACY Artists   The Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled Google must amend some search results at the request of ordinary people in a test of the the application of the so-called “right to be forgotten” on the search giant. In a now already criticised ruling, the CJEU  said links to “inadequate, “irrelevant” and outdated (“no longer relevant”) or excessive data should be erased on request. The board of 13 judges ruled that information could be suppressed under the 1995 Privacy Directive and subject to data protection rules, even if it was ‘true, accurate and lawfully published’ saying “[T]he activity of a search engine consisting in finding information published or placed on the internet by third parties, indexing it automatically, storing it temporarily and, finally, making it available to internet users according to a particular order of preference must be classified as ‘processing of personal data’ within the meaning of Article 2(b) [of the Data Protection Directive] when that information contains personal data and, second, the operator of the search engine must be regarded as the ‘controller’ in respect of that processing, within the meaning of Article 2(d).”   According to the Court: “the operator of a search engine is obliged to remove from the list…

Paul Weller wins privacy action against the Mail Online
Artists , Media , Privacy / May 2014

PRIVACY Artistes, media   Paul Weller has won £10,000 damages after a number of pictures of his 16 year old daughter Dylan and then 10 month of twins John-Paul and Bowie were used on the Mail Online. The High Court in London ordered Associated Newspapers to pay the sum after Weller complained of an invasion of privacy on behalf of his family. Seven paparazzi photos were published in October 2012 under the headline “A family day out: Paul Weller takes wife Hannah and his twin sons out for a spot of shopping in the hot LA sun”. The couple said the shots were “plainly voyeuristic” : A paparazzo had followed the family on a shopping trip in Santa Monica, California, and took photographs without their consent despite being asked to stop. In court, Associated Newspapers argued the images, in which the children’s faces were not pixellated, were entirely innocuous and inoffensive and the Wellers had previously chosen to open up their private family life to public gaze to a significant degree. The High Court found that whilst the images could have been published legally in California, their appearance in the UK violated the right to privacy enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights and…

Harry Styles gains permanent injunction against four photographers
Artists , Privacy / April 2014

PRIVACY Artists   One Direction frontman Harry Styles has secured a permanent injunction to stop four paparazzos from following and photographing him. Styles went to the High Court last December to get a court order prohibiting photographers from following him around or waiting for him outside his home. The singer’s lawyer stressed at the time that this was an injunction to stop the activities of “a certain type of photographer”, and that he was “not trying to prevent fans approaching him in the street and taking photos”. Yesterday, Styles was awarded a permanent injunction against four specific photographers, who were not named in court, under the Protection From Harassment Act 1997. The four people were identified using vehicle records from the DVLA. They are now prohibited from following Styles by car or motorcycle, loitering within 50 metres of his home, or placing him under any sort of surveillance. Prior to going to court in December, the court was told that Styles had attempted to get the photographers to agree to stop following him voluntarily, but had been unsuccessful. All four had apparently eventually agreed to do so before yesterday’s hearing, though Styles still decided to seek the permanent injunction against…

Styles wins banning order on paps
Artists , Privacy / January 2014

PRIVACY & HARRASSMENT Artists   Harry Styles has won a court order that bans the paparazzi from pursuing the One Direction star in the street or stalking the singer outside of his home, an interesting move which has the potential to set new precedent with regards how the law can be used to control the paparazzi. The Styles’ injunction issued my Mrs Justice Nicola Davies bans unnamed photographers from pursuing the singer by car or motorcycle, placing him under surveillance or loitering within 50 metres of his home to monitor his movements. Efforts are being taken to identify all paparazzi involved in the harassment,  with a request having been mad to the DVLA to identify the owners of vehicles and enquires made with the photo agencies that use the paparazzi’s photos.  According to The Times, Style’s lawyer David Sherborne said: “This is not a privacy injunction. Mr Styles is not trying to prevent fans approaching him in the street and taking photos. He remains happy to do that, as he always has. Rather, it is the method or tactics which have been used by a certain type of photographer”. Mr Sherborne has also acted for Cheryl Cole, Lily Allen, Sienna…

Google says Gmail users have no right to privacy
Internet , Privacy / September 2013

PRIVACY Internet   CNET reports that “Google has made it clear that people who send or receive e-mail via Gmail should not expect their messages to remain private.” In a 39-page motion filed in June to have a class-action data-mining lawsuit dismissed, the Web giant cites Smith v. Maryland, a 1979 Supreme Court decision that upheld the collection of electronic communications without a warrant. The filing states “Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their emails are processed by the recipient’s [e-mail provider] in the course of delivery. Indeed, ‘a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties.’” CNET reports that the Plaintiffs in the case contend that Google’s automated scanning of e-mail represents an illegal interception of their electronic communications without their consent. However, Google, which uses automated scanning to filter spam and deliver targeted advertising to its users, noted that plaintiffs consented to the practice in exchange for the e-mail services. Google goes on to say that courts have held that all e-mail users “necessarily give…

EPIC calls foul over Jay-Z download
Artists , Internet , Privacy / August 2013

PRIVACY Artistes, internet, technology   The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC for short) has called on the US government’s Federal Trade Commission to investigate the app through which Jay-Z made his new album, ‘Magna Carta Holy Grail’, available to over one million Samsung mobile phone users ahead of its official release with EPIC saying “Samsung failed to disclose material information about the privacy practices of the app, collected data unnecessary to the functioning of the ‘Magna Carta’ app, deprived users of meaningful choice regarding the collection of their data, interfered with device functionality, and failed to implement reasonable data minimisation procedures”. Responding to this, Samsung said in a statement: “Any information obtained through the application download process was purely for customer verification purposes, app functionality purposes, and for marketing communications, but only if the customer requests to receive those marketing communications. Samsung is in no way inappropriately using or selling any information obtained from users through the download process”. Despite the give away, Jay-Z still managed to sell 527,000 copies of the new record in the US during its first week on sale – the second biggest one-week sales of the year in the American market – sending it straight…

Justin Bieber – talk about my parties and I’ll sue you for $5 million
Artists , Privacy / July 2013

PRIVACY Artists   “Here’s the good news … Justin Bieber wants to invite you to one of his house parties.  The bad news … if you talk about it, he’s gonna sue your ass for $5 million.” TMZ has obtained a copy of a document EVERYONE must sign before entering Bieber’s $6.5 million home in Calabasas, CA.  The document, a Liability Waiver and Release, warns that anyone who reveals about any of the “goings on”  inside the mansion will face legal action, and this extends to the “physical health, or the philosophical, spiritual or other views or characteristics” of Bieber or other guests.  Since more recently the Bieber does most of his idiotic stunts in public (to the annoyance of many including his long suffering fans and neighbours), one wonders what on earth DOES go on. Apart from an ongoing spat with neighbours about Beibers alleged habit of racing his cars around their private community, Photographer Jeffrey Binion has also reported Team Bieber to the police last week after a run in with the pop teen’s security in Miami on the 5th of June. Police have reportedly launched an investigation Binion was trying to take photos of the singer when, he claims,…

Anonymous hackers jailed for cyber attacks
Data Protection , Internet , Privacy / February 2013

PRIVACY / COMPUTER CRIME Internet   A student and a church volunteer have been jailed for carrying out cyber attacks with the hacking group Anonymous, including one online assault that cost the payments giant PayPal at least £3.5m. The attacks targeted anti-piracy and financial companies between August 2010 and January 2011. Christopher Weatherhead, a Northampton University student, was sentenced to 18 months in prison on Thursday for his part in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on PayPal, Visa and Mastercard in December 2010. Judge Testar also sentenced Ashley Rhodes, 28, to seven months in prison for his part in the activities of the self-styled “hacktivist” group. Rhodes, a church volunteer from Camberwell, south London, sighed and leant his head on the back wall of the dock as his jail term was read out at Southwark crown court. A third man, Peter Gibson, 24, was given a suspended six-month prison sentence for his part in the Anonymous attacks. The sentencing of a fourth man, Jake Burchall, 18, was adjourned. The Ministry of Sound estimated the cost of the attack on its sites as £9,000, while the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s costs were more than £20,000 and the British Phonographic Industry’s…

Warners face fine for violating young fans’ privacy
Internet , Privacy , Record Labels / November 2012

PRIVACY Internet, record labels   The Federal Trade Commission is proposing to issue a civil penalty against a unit of Warner Music Group Corp. The penalty will cost the major $1 million for violating a child privacy law in the operation of fan websites for artists including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Rihanna – the websites were actually run by subsidiary Artist Arena. Commissioner Edith Ramirez revealed the proposed settlement in a speech in New York on Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, a self-regulatory group for the advertising industry. A judge will need to confirm the settlement. Artist Arena still run the BieberFever website. “ got off to a bad start … and things got worse from there,” Ramirez said in prepared remarks. The site required visitors to input birthdates and other personal information, and required visitors under 13 to submit a parent’s email address for confirmation, according to a complaint filed  in U.S. District Court in New York, where Warner Music Group is based. But after a month of operation, it let underage visitors register and pay for membership without sending an email to the child’s parents, the complaint said. The actions violated the…

Google face record US fine for cookie crimes
Internet , Privacy / September 2012

PRIVACY Internet   Google will pay a record $22.5 million civil penalty to settle US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it lied to users of Apple’s Safari Internet browser when it told them it would not place tracking “cookies” or serve targeted ads to those users. The actions violating an earlier privacy settlement between the company and the FTC, struck last October. According to the FTC’s complaint, Google specifically told Safari users that the browser was set by default to block third-party cookies, and would continue to do so as long as they didn’t change their settings. In addition to the penalty, Google also must disable all the tracking cookies it had said it would not place on consumers’ computers. “The record-setting penalty in this matter sends a clear message to all companies under an FTC privacy order,” said Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the FTC. “No matter how big or small, all companies must abide by FTC orders against them and keep their privacy promises to consumers, or they will end up paying many times what it would have cost to comply in the first place.” Google have not admitted any wrongdoing.

Cookie Update: Simkins’ Early Warning 14/06/2012 – A tough cookie to crack – update on implied consent
Data Protection , Internet , Privacy / July 2012

DATA PROTECTION, PRIVACY Internet, Technology   Following on from Simkins earlier report (, the ICO’s grace period for cookie compliance came to an end on 26 May 2012. The ICO has now also revised its guidance on the use of cookies. The revisions consist of new commentary on the scope for reliance on implied consent. The ICO acknowledges that implied consent can be a valid means of obtaining the user’s informed consent – especially in the case of analytics cookies, where implied consent may be a more practical and user-friendly means of obtaining consent. If the site operator is to rely on implied consent, the user must take some kind of step (such as visiting a website, navigating to a certain page, or clicking on a particular button) from which the user’s consent to the setting of cookies can reasonably be inferred. Simply visiting a website is not enough to imply consent on its own: there must be a sufficient indication that the user understands and agrees that, in addition to providing content or services, the site operator may store cookies on the user’s device. Implied consent depends, therefore, on providing the user with clear and readily available information…

Big Brother IS watching you
Internet , Privacy / March 2012

PRIVACY Internet, Technology Apple has moved to quell a growing storm over privacy saying that it would ban apps for the iPhone or iPad that collected personal data from users without their prior approval. The move follows revelations that services were collecting personal data including contact email addresses, contract telephone numbers. Path, a social networking app apologised after a researcher discovered it had uploaded his iPhone contacts to its servers. Other offending services included Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and Yelp.  Twitter said it would make it more clear it collected the contact data and stored it for up to 18 months. Facebook said that when it collected data it made this quite clear. But Google has been accused of bypassing Apple’s privacy settings on Apple devices to track internet browsing habits, implementing new codes to override privacy settings on iPhones and iPads. Google has now disabled to code and said no personal information was collected. Remember, these firms are in control of the future of the internet. Frightening!  (The Times, February 17th 2012, p8).

Ryan Giggs’ case provokes new questions about ‘super injunctions’
Artists , Privacy / January 2012

PRIVACY Artistes, broadcasters, press The Ryan Giggs privacy case has ended up as a bit of a disaster for Giggs himself, a married father of two, his reputation in tatters, and hasn’t done much for the High Court’s seeming approval of so called privacy ‘super injunctions’ for celebrities – well, that’s according to those very same august organs of the press barred from initially reporting the story –  until Gigg’s name was leaked onto the internet, ‘tweeted’ 75000 times, published by the Sunday Herald in Scotland and his name mentioned in Parliament by John Hemming MP. Mr Justice Eady, who granted the order, had rejected a second application by News Group Newspapers to discharge a privacy injunction relating to Giggs, on the basis that to continue it would be “futile”, given recent widespread publicity about his identity saying “It has never been suggested, of course, that there is any legitimate public interest, in the traditional sense, in publishing this information” adding “The court’s duty remains to try and protect the claimant, and particularly his family, from intrusion and harassment so long as it can.” Giggs has now been forced to admit that some allegations about his former lover Imogen Thomas…

Internet companies challenge French data collection law
Copyright , Internet , Privacy / May 2011

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Internet The BBC reports that Google, EBay and Facebook are among a group of net heavyweights taking the French government to court – the legal challenge has been brought by The French Association of Internet Community Services (ASIC) and relates to government plans to keep web users’ personal data for a year. The case will be heard by the State Council, France’s highest judicial body. The law obliges a range of e-commerce sites, video and music services and webmail providers to keep a host of data on customers. This includes users’ full names, postal addresses, telephone numbers and passwords. The data must be handed over to the authorities if demanded. Police, the fraud office, customs, tax and social security bodies will all have the right of access. ASIC head Benoit Tabaka believes that the data law is unnecessarily draconian. “Several elements are problematic,” he said. “For instance, there was no consultation with the European Commission. Our companies are based in several European countries. “Our activities target many national markets, so it is clear that we need a common approach,” said Mr Tabaka. ASIC also thinks that passwords should not be collected and warned that retaining them could…

Has Pandora Been Breaking Internet Privacy Laws?
Internet , Privacy / May 2011

PRIVACY Internet ARTICLE LINK:  By Nicholas Jackson When the lawyers representing Pandora Media filed the papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to seek an initial public offering (IPO) “a dirty little secret got out”. After digging through the nearly 150-page document, various technology reporters noticed that the popular streaming music service has been issued a subpoena by a federal grand jury. The subpoena concerns how the company has been sharing personal data through its smartphone application. Read more at

Google executives convicted over privacy claim
Internet , Privacy / April 2010

PRIVACY Intenet An Italian court has convicted three Google executives of violating the privacy of a child with Down’s syndrome, after a video of the child being bullied in a Turin schoolyard was posted to the company’s YouTube video site. The executives were acquitted on charges of defamation, but received six-month suspended sentences on the privacy violation charges. Google said in a statement on its blog that it will appeal “this astonishing decision,” which the company said “attacks the very principles of freedom on which the Internet is built.” Google called the video in question “reprehensible,” and maintains that it “took it down within hours of being notified by the Italian police.” The company added that it worked with local police to identify the uploader who, along with several other classmates, was sentenced to community service. None of the Google executives convicted — senior vice president and chief legal officer David Drummond; former Google Italy board member George De Los Reyes; and global privacy counsel Peter Fleischer — reside in Italy or were present at the court proceedings. David Drummond, told the BBC: “I intend to vigorously appeal this dangerous ruling. It sets a chilling precedent. If individuals like myself…

Schwarzenegger signs anti-paparazzi law
Artists , Privacy / November 2009

PRIVACY Artists California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a new bill into law that will fine paparazzi photographers for taking pictures that invade a celebrity’s right to privacy. The new California law makes it a crime to take and sell unauthorized photos of celebrities in “personal or familial activity,” and also targets media outlets that purchase those photos, with violators facing fines of up to $50,000. The law is slated to take effect in January.  Last summer, as part of the Los Angeles Police Department’s more aggressive crackdown on the practice, two paparazzi photographers were arrested for staking out Britney Spear’s Hollywood home. Earlier that year, four paparazzi were arrested by the LAPD on suspicion of reckless driving after they followed Spears on a street in the San Fernando Valley, with police alleging that at least one had tried to run the singer off the road, seemingly in an attempt to get a prized picture of her in distress.  In 2005, Schwarzenegger, who once testified against two photographers who used their cars to surround him when he was picking his kids up from school in 1998, before he was governor, signed a bill that tripled damage celebrities could seek from…

Winehouse the latest celeb to get pap injunction
Artists , Privacy / June 2009

PRIVACY Artists Amy Winehouse has joined Lily Allen in getting an injunction to stop paparazzi from following her. The legal ruling specifically targets photographers affiliated to the London-based Big Pictures agency, though it also mentions “persons unknown” to include other photographers who frequent her private residence hoping to get a valuable photograph of the singer. The ruling means any photographer who stalks the singer or snaps pictures within 100 metres of her London home would breach the injunction and face court action. Sienna Miller had previously Big Pictures for harassment and invasion of privacy and won £53,000 in damages and costs and part of the court order forbade the agency’s photographers from pursuing the star. But the temptation remains for the paparazzi with the occasional headline grabbing shot raking in excess of £250,000 for the lucky photographer in an increasingly competitive pack of both professional and amateur snappers. From the Guardian 4th May 2009 Have celebrities finally snapped?

Lily gets pap protection
Artists , Privacy / April 2009

PRIVACY Artists Legal firm Carter-Ruck have been awarded two injunctions from the High Court under the Protection From Harassment Act in a bid to stop the paparazzi from following Lily Allen following an incident when one photographers’s car collided with Lily’s own car as she left her London home. The injunction orders two photo agencies, Big Pictures and Matrix Photos, and one specific photographer to make undertakings in court to not harass Allen in the future. Mr Justice Eady also issued an injunction “restraining further harassment” by other paparazzi photographers meaning that anyone considered a paparazzi cannot approach Allen within 100 metres of her home, photograph her at her home or the houses of her family and friends, or pursue her by road.

Sony pay $1 million to settle child privacy case
Internet , Privacy , Regulation / January 2009

PRIVACY / REGULATORY AFFAIRS Internet Sony BMG Music Entertainment has agreed to pay $1 million to settle charges that it violated US law by collecting personal information online from children under the age of 13. Sony BMG agreed to the payment as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over charges it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The FTC had alleged that Sony BMG, through its music fan Web sites, had improperly collected and disclosed personal information from thousands of children under the age of 13, without their parents’ consent. Users are required to submit their date of birth to register for the sites, the FTC said, and on 196 sites, Sony BMG knowingly collected personal information from at least 30,000 underage children without parental consent which also meant that this might allow children to interact with adults through comments, message boards and other forums.

Madonna claims five million pounds for privacy breach
Artists , Privacy / January 2009

PRIVACY Artists Madonna is demanding £5 million from the Mail On Sunday after they published photos of her wedding to Guy Ritchie which had been “deviously” copied at her Beverly Hills home. CMU Daily report that the Mail published photos of the Madonna/Ritchie wedding in early October as the couple began divorce proceedings. No photos of the 2000 wedding at Skibo Castle in Scotland had ever been previously released and only photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino took photos at the event, and the only copies of his pictures were given to the couple. Madonna seemingly kept her wedding album at her Beverley Hills home. It’s alleged that an interior designer working at the singer’s property found the album and took photos of the photos. It was those that were sold to the Mail. Madonna has sued for breach of privacy and copyright and her lawyer told the court that the pictures of a “wholly private” event were copied and supplied “surreptitiously”, and that the tabloid had “ambushed” his client by publishing the photos without first approaching her about them, because they knew if they did she’d seek an injunction to stop their publication. The quantum claimed is likely to raise eyebrows and…

Kanye’s camera crackdowncall
Artists , Defamation , Privacy / December 2008

PRIVACY / DEFAMATION Artists Kanye West has spoken out against the paparazzi after being arrested on Friday following his latest altercation with the snappers, this time in the UK. Following his arrest in LA last month after a run in with a photographer at the city’s Airport, this time West was taken in for questioning after causing a photographer’s nose to bleed in Newcastle. He wasn’t actually charged on either occasion. West wrote on his blog this weekend: “Who’s winning, me or the media? Regardless of how much light I put out, there are people working just as hard to only deliver darkness. If you listen to my music, how could I deliver so many positive uplifting messages and be the monster that the media paints? Paparazzi give real photographers a bad name”. Commenting specifically on the Newcastle fracas, he continued: “I put my hand up to the camera in self-defence! Here’s what happened…when I left the club, I was encountered by a thirsty paparazzi as usual. He felt he had more rights to my space than me, so I put my hand up to prevent him from taking my image. I didn’t assault him but merely putting my hand…

Google ordered to hand over YouTube logs in Viacom litigation
Copyright , Internet , Privacy / August 2008

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Internet Google has been told to hand over logs of every video ever watched on its YouTube video sharing platform, plus details of the user names and/or IP addresses of the people who have watched them. Google have been told to make the logs available by District Judge Louis L Stanton as part of its ongoing legal fight with MTV owners Viacom. As previously reported, Viacom are suing the video site for copyright infringement, because of the amount of content from its channels available on YouTube without their permission. YouTube have put forward the standard defence – that they do not personally make unlicensed content available, and that they remove any unlicensed content uploaded by punters if and when content owners make them aware of it. YouTube say that under current US copyright laws that policy means they are not guilty of infringement – though that interpretation of the law is so far untested in court, and this case could be the first to do so. Unlike other record companies and broadcasters, Viacom have not seemed interested in doing a licencing deal with YouTube – something that the video site has managed to do when most other…

Mosley beats the World! Max Mosley wins record damages in privacy case
Artists , Privacy / August 2008

PRIVACY Newpaper publishing, Artists Mosley beats the World! Max Mosley wins record damages in privacy case: Mosley v News Group Newspapers Ltd (2008) EWHC 1777 (QB) From the IPKat Max Mosely, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) since 1993 and a trustee of its charitable arm, the FIA Foundation, objected to the publication of an article in the News of the World newspaper. This article, headed ‘F1 BOSS HAS SICK NAZI ORGY WITH 5 HOOKERS’, was billed as an exclusive and ran under the subheading “Son of Hitler loving fascist in sex shame”. The article in question concerned an event, described as a party by Mosley and as an orgy by the newspaper. The text was accompanied by images taken from clandestine video footage and a concealed camera at the event itself. A sequel, published the following month under the banner “EXCLUSIVE: MOSLEY HOOKER TELLS ALL: MY NAZI ORGY WITH F1 BOSS”, was mainly a purported interview with one of the women who participated in the event, who had filmed it with a camera supplied by the newspaper and concealed in her brassiere. Mosley alleged breach of his of privacy under Article 8 of the European Convention on…

High Court awards £22,000 for victim of Facebook slur
Defamation , Internet , Privacy / August 2008

DEFAMATION / PRIVACY Internet A fake Facebook site set up about businessman Mathew Firsht has resulted in an award of £22,000 in damages against instigator Grant Raphael, an estranged friend of Mr Firsht. Using real details about Mr Firsht Mt Raphael then put in false details about his sexual orientation and political beliefs ending with a company profile with was titled ‘Has Mathhew Firsht lied to you too?”. The High Court damages break down at £15,000 for libel against Mr Firsht, £2,000 for invasion of his privacy and £5,000 for libel against his company, Applause Store Productions.

MySpace wins $230 million from spammers
Copyright , Internet , Privacy / June 2008

COPYRIGHT / PRIVACY Internet MySpace has won a record $230 million (approx £118 million) legal judgment against ‘spam king’ Stamford Wallace and business partner Walter Rines over junk messages sent to Myspace customers which directed them to online gambling and porn sites. District Judge Audrey Collins in Los Angeles made the order after hearing how 700,000 messages were sent to MySpace users and bolted on an prohibition against Wallace and Rimes similar activities in the future.

The cat is out of the bag – so Max Mosley fails to gag News of the World
Artists , Privacy / June 2008

PRIVACY / CONFIDENCE Artists The IPKat has come across a case in which Max Mosley attempted to enjoin the News of the World from showing video footage of his allegedly Nazi-themed orgy with five prostitutes. The footage was posted on the News of the World’s website at the end of March. It was then voluntarily taken down on 31 March, by which time other websites had copied and posted the footage. On 3 April the News of the World gave notice that it intended to repost the footage. Mosley applied to the court for an injunction to stop this. According to Eady J, Mosley’s Art.8 right to privacy was in conflict with the News of the World’s Art.10 right to freedom of expression. In balancing the two, the court has to take the following into account:   i) No Convention right has, as such, precedence over another; ii) Where conflict arises between the values safeguarded under Articles 8 and 10, an “intense focus” is necessary upon the comparative importance of the specific rights being claimed in the individual case; iii) The Court must take into account the justification for interfering with or restricting each right; iv) So too, the proportionality…

David Murray (by his litigation friends Neil Murray and Joanne Murray) v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd [2008] EWCA Civ 446
Privacy / June 2008

PRIVACY All areas Again from the IP Kat, news of JK Rowling’s son David Murray’s action for privacy. David when 20 months old, was photographed by Big Pictures, using a telescopic lens, while he was being pushed along the street in a buggy by his parents. The photograph, published without the family’s knowledge or consent, subsequently appeared in The Sunday Express magazine with accompanying text – attributed to JK Rowling – setting out some thoughts on her approach to motherhood and family life. The quote was genuine but out of context, having been made in relation to David’s big half-sister Jessica. The Express having compromised the Murrays’ claim, the action proceeded only against Big Pictures. On behalf of David it was argued that Big Pictures had acted in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights Article 8 and in breach of confidence; it was also claimed that the company was in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 since it held photographic data about David while unregistered as a data controller. Suing via his parents as best friends, David sought damages and an injunction against further publication of the piccie. Big Pictures moved for summary judgment or a strike-out of David’s…

House of Lords finally decide Douglas & Others v. Hello! Ltd & Others [2007] UKHL 21
Artists , Privacy / June 2007

PRIVACY / CONFIDENCE Artists From David Pearce at the wonderful the IPKat blog The House of Lords decision in the case of Douglas v Hello! has resulted in a split (some might say fractured) decision. The Douglases and OK! have won on the issue of breach of confidence, with Lord Hoffmann taking the majority 3:2 view on the issue, restoring the earlier High Court judgment, saying: “In my opinion Lindsay J was right. The point of which one should never lose sight is that OK! had paid £1m for the benefit of the obligation of confidence imposed upon all those present at the wedding in respect of any photographs of the wedding. That was quite clear. Unless there is some conceptual or policy reason why they should not have the benefit of that obligation, I cannot see why they were not entitled to enforce it. And in my opinion there are no such reasons. Provided that one keeps one’s eye firmly on the money and why it was paid, the case is, as Lindsay J held, quite straightforward It is first necessary to avoid being distracted by the concepts of privacy and personal information. In recent years, English law has adapted the…

CASE LINK: HRH Prince of Wales v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2006] EWCA Civ 1776
Artists , Privacy / February 2007

PRIVACY Artists  CASE LINK: HRH Prince of Wales v Associated Newspapers Ltd [2006] EWCA Civ 1776 The Prince of Wales’ successful action in preventing the contents of his journals being circulated. Here the protection of an agreed contractual term preventing an ex-employee circulating the journals was held to be of importance by the Court of Appeal adding an new element to the tension between the article 8 (right of privacy) and article 10 (freedom of expression) in the Human Rights Act 1998.

As a ‘famous sportsman’ has his right to privacy upheld, the Court of Appeal confirm a right of privacy in Niema Ash v Loreena McKennitt and Prince Charles keeps his journals private
Artists , Privacy / January 2007

PRIVACY Artists Both these cases involved Mr Justice Eady and in the first case, simply known as CC v AB, he had to decide whether or not to allow injunctive relief to prevent a certain ‘AB’ spilling the beans about sportsman CC’s adulterous affair with AB’s wife (N). Once AB knew about the fling he decided to go public both for revenge on and of course to get some money. CC sued for interim injunctive relief to stop AB spilling the beans on the basis that any such communication would either be a breach of confidence or harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 (AB had allegedly made a number of calls to CC and this matter was not resisted). The article 8 right to privacy under the Human Rights Act 1998 was also argued (against the context of the Article 10 rights to a freedom of expression). AB argued that an adulterer (ie CC) could never prevent the release of information about an adulterous affair. Eady J did not agree with this final point and said that there could be no blanket rule that an adulterer could never restrain the publication of matters relating to his adulterous relationship and even an…

High Court ruling to protect Canadian folk singer follows Von Hannover v Germany
Artists , Privacy / March 2006

PRIVACY Artists, publishers In the clearest statement yet that the UK courts will follow the precedents of the European Court of Human Rights when looking at the right to individual privacy under Article 8 of the HumanRights Act 1998 (and the European Convention for Human Rights) Mr Justice Eady issued an injunction against publication of a book about Canadian folk singer Loreena McKennitt and awarded damages of £5,000 against Neima Ash, the author of Loreena McKennit, My Life as a Friend. Ash had been a close friend and confidante of McKnnitt for over 20 years but following the precedents set in the ‘Princess Caroline’ case Mr Justice Eady made it clear that even celebrities has ‘the legitimate expectation to have their private lives protected’ and just because events could have been witnessed in a public place does not make them any less private. There would need to be a high level of misbehaviour before the courts would apply the ‘public interest’ defence for publishers showing how far the law has moved to protect privacy at the expense of press freedom to publish in the last few years. The Guardian 13 February 2006 (from an article by Rupert Elliott) Von Hannover v Germany see Music…

Diana paparazzi convicted of invasion of privacy but must only pay nomimal damages
Artists , Privacy / March 2006

PRIVACY Artists, broadcasters, press Three paparazzi photographers who took pictures of Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed leaving the Ritz Hotel and at the scene of the fatal car crash in Paris where the couple died must pay nominal damages of E1 each as well as the cost of advertisements announcing the verdict in newspapers. The French Appeals Court found that the couple’s privacy had been invaded on both occasions – at the hotel and at the scene of the crash. The convictions of Jacques Langevin, Christian Martinez and Fabrice Chassey, based on unpublished photographs, are thought to be very unusual in France. The Telegraph, 23 February 2006

EFF Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Sony BMG: Company Should Repair Damage to Customers Caused by CD Software
Copyright , Internet , Privacy , Record Labels / January 2006

COPYRIGHT, PRIVACY Internet, record labels, technology The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) along with two leading national class action law firms has filed a lawsuit against Sony BMG, demanding that the company repair the damage done by the First4Internet XCP and SunnComm MediaMax software it included on over 24 million music CDs. EFF say that they are pleased that Sony BMG has taken steps in acknowledging the security risks caused by the XCP CDs, including a recall of the infected discs. However, these measures still fall short of what the company needs to do to fix the problems caused to customers by XCP, and the EFF says that Sony BMG has failed entirely to respond to concerns about MediaMax, which affects over 20 million CDs – ten times the number of CDs as the XCP software. ”Sony BMG is to be commended for its acknowledgment of the serious security problems caused by its XCP software, but it needs to go further to regain the public’s trust,” said Corynne McSherry, EFF Staff Attorney. “It is unconscionable for Sony BMG to refuse to respond to the privacy and other problems created by the over 20 million CDs containing the SunnComm software.” The suit,…

Canadian nightclub’s scanning of ID found to violate Alberta’s privacy legislation
Health & Safety , Live Events , Privacy / December 2005

HEALTH & SAFETY, PRIVACY Live Music The Alberta Privacy Commissioner has found that the scanning of patrons’ identification at the door of a nightclub violates the province’s Personal InformationProtection Act (PIPA). The report concluded that purposes for which the personal information was collected were not reasonable, contrary to section 11 of PIPA. The widespread practice of photo-scanning ID in nightclubs was apparently intended to deter violent or criminal behaviour.  However, the Commissioner found that Penny Lane Entertainment, the owner of the nightclub, failed to demonstrate that the collection of this type of personal information would in fact address this issue. The complaint was filed by the author of this summary, Deeth Williams Wall summer student Nyall Engfield. The decision calls for Penny Lane Entertainment to purge the data that has been collected and cease the practice.  Such a decision is not binding, but if Penny Lane Entertainment does not comply with the finding, then an inquiry that could result in a binding order will be launched. Also see: From a Summary by Nyall Engfield in E-TIPS, a publication of Deeth Williams Wall LLC. E-Tips is edited by Richard Potter QC . To review past issues of the E-TIPS ® newsletter, visit:

Privacy v Piracy
Copyright , Internet , Privacy , Record Labels / November 2005

COPYRIGHT/PRIVACY Record Labels, Internet ARTICLE: by Mark Watts & Myles Jelf of Bristows, Solicitors An interesting article on which investigates some of the concerns online users have where their basic privacy rights are being eroded away by the state, software companies and internet service providers amongst others but in the context of rampant software and music piracy: “the distribution of intellectual property content such as books, films, and music is increasingly electronic and new technology, such as Digital Rights Management (DRM), is becoming more popular amongst copyright owners, enabling the monitoring of private ‘consumption’ of their content. Also, the possibility of significant IP infringing acts taking place at home is increasing, through the popularity of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) file-sharing networks. Now, more than ever before, both sets of rights need to be considered together. Are they heading for a collision?” Please read this article online : See also the EFF articles on the ‘warden’ software which can read all of a user’s computer files (including every process on a gamer’s computer, any URLS open and his and his/her email address books) to ‘prevent cheating’ by users of the hugely popular online game World of Warcraft (all gamers who sign up must allow…

EFF criticises plan for restrictive new cell technology
Copyright , Internet , Privacy / November 2005

COPYRIGHT/PRIVACY Telecoms, Internet Having just returned from the In The City Conference, the importance of mobile cell phones in the music and entertainment industries as well as the IT and telecoms industries cannot be underestimated. This is why they will now become the new ‘battleground’ between companies seeking to achieve dominance in the new market and also between consumers who wish to have choice and retain privacy and companies who wish to maximise commercial growth and ‘lock in’ customers to preferred applications, software and pricing plans. The Electronic Frontiers Foundation has criticized a plan for restrictive new cell technology put forward by the Trusted Computing Group (TCG), an industry consortium developing controversial computer security specifications. TCG has released a wish list of applications of TCG technology to cell phone security. Unfortunately the EFF says, much of this “security” aims to help cell phone carriers cement their control over their customers …TCG is proudly offering to help cell phone carriers lock down your phone,” said EFF Staff Technologist Seth Schoen. “The proposals described today aim to help your cell phone company decide who can publish software or media for your phone, whether you can load your own documents, and even whether…

Is a new Universal Data Protection Law possible?
Internet , Privacy / November 2005

PRIVACY Internet Earlier this month, Privacy Commissioners from forty countries met in Switzerland for the 27th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC). The Commissioners adopted a declaration in which they agreed to collaborate with governments and international organizations for the development of a universal convention for the protection of personal data. The various universal data protective principles the Commissioners agreed to promote are set out in the declaration and in its written declaration, the ICDPPC appealed to the United Nations to prepare a legal binding instrument identifying the rights of data protection and privacy as enforceable human rights. To review a copy of the two resolutions and declaration, see: From a summary by Lenni Carreiro in E-Tips: E-Tips is a publication of Deeth Williams Wall and edited by Richard Potter QC. To review past issues of the E-TIPS® newsletter, visit:

Window upgrade policy raises privacy concerns
Internet , Privacy / September 2005

PRIVACY Internet, Technology Microsoft’s new policy of scanning computers for illegal software when they contact the site for upgrades or downloads could have serious privacy issues. Microsoft says that 35% of the software in use worldwide is counterfeit, at a cost to the software industry last year of $1 billion. Users of the estimated 100 million computers worldwide running illegal copies of the operating system will not receive the upgrades and can only receive security patches. However if the purchase of the illegal software was unintentional and the users fills out a piracy report for Microsoft the software company will provide Windows XP to the user. Microsoft also collects data on software being used as well as data on the flow of information between the operating system and other hardware, such as printers. No personally identifiable data will be collected, says Microsoft, and information will remain completely anonymous. For Microsoft’s statement on its data collection see: From an article by Nvall Engfield in E-TIPS. E-TIPS is a publication of Deeth Williams Wall LLP and edited by Richard Potter QC. To review past issues of the E-TIPS newsletter, visit: For comment by the EFF of the Federal Bureau of Investigations use of National…

Douglas v Hello (2005) The Court of Appeal has its say
Artists , Privacy / June 2005

PRIVACY Artists, Newspapers, Broadcasting ARTICLE:  By Jonathan Coad, solicitor The long running battle over the publication of Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones’ wedding photographs has reached the Court of Appeal, which handed down judgment on Wednesday on the various appeals before it. The wide range of issues permitted the court to lay down guidance on a number of principles in the sphere of privacy – the central battleground between the rights of the individual and those of the corporate publisher. After a very hard-fought trial Mr Justice Lindsay had found both for Douglas/Zeta-Jones and OK! magazine, awarding OK! approximately £1 million in damages for its commercial loss by the Hello! spoiler, and the Douglases £14,750 for distress and inconvenience. Hello! were also faced with a bill for around £1 million in costs. Hello! appealed the award in favour of OK! both as to liability and the amount. This appeal was upheld. The court found that the economic torts relied on by OK! magazine concerned activity which had actually been directed at the claimant (the Douglases), and that the purpose of the conduct must be the causing of economic loss to the claimant. The court found that this was not…

In a pre Douglas v Hello! case the Beckhams lose right to gag ex-nanny on grounds of public interest
Artists , Privacy / June 2005

PRIVACY Artists David and Victoria Beckham failed in a legal attempt to gag the UK’s News of the World. The Beckhams launched a court bid to prevent the paper from publishing revelations from their former nanny Abbie Gibson, 27. Lawyers of the couple applied for an emergency injunction from High Court judge Mr Justice Langley on the grounds of confidentiality. They argued that Abbie had signed a contract guaranteeing that she would not speak out about their lives. But lawyers acting for Abbie and the News of the World convinced the judge that the story was in the public interest. The court decided the News of the World was entitled to publish Abbie’s account about the state of the Beckhams’ marriage and David’s affairs on Sunday April 24th. The News of the World, represented by Richard Spearman QC, was given the green light to publish at 8:30pm in the evening on Saturday 24th April following a 90 minute hearing. The newspaper’s Legal Manager Tom Crone said: ‘The Beckhams have spent a lot of their lives basking in a warm glow of publicity which they have created for themselves. For the first time the world can now read an insider’s detailed…

The Right Way to Fight Spyware
Internet , Privacy / June 2005

PRIVACY Internet ARTICLE: By Wendy Seltzer, Electronic Frontiers Foundation Special Projects Coordinator The New York State Attorney General’s office has filed suit against Intermix Media for deceiving people into installing and using spyware. The lawsuit is a step forward for users’ rights to control their own computers. It also demonstrates the right way to address the spyware problem: with lawsuits, not new laws. The New York complaint runs through a veritable catalogue of deceptive acts and practices: interception of web requests; installation of hidden programs, unrequested toolbars, mechanisms that report user activity back to Intermix and display advertising, etc. All of this was done with minimal notice and no genuine consent from users. Attorney General Eliot Spitzer charges Intermix with violating New York state’s prohibitions on “deceptive acts or practices” and “false advertising,” provisions common to state and federal law. He also charges the company with “trespass to chattels” for interfering with the use of personal computers onto which the software was downloaded. The complaint is only the beginning of a lawsuit, of course, but the screenshots and descriptions leave little doubt that promoting spyware in the guise of a screensaver or game is indeed a “deceptive act.” If the company…

City employees sue Dr Dre after ‘secretly’ filmed footage appears on DVD

IMAGE RIGHTS/COPYRIGHT/PRIVACY Film & Televison, Artists Lawyers for US rapper Dr Dre (Andre Young) have asked a judge in Flint, Michigan to dismiss a legal action concerning video footage filmed at a concert in July 2000. Three former Detroit City employees were filmed arguing boisterously with some of Dr Dre’s representatives. The trio are suing Dr Dre, Time Warner Inc and Best Buy Co claiming they were unaware that the footage would be used in a documentary released in 2002. The action is centered on a concert at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena on 6 July 2000 which formed part of Dr Dre’s “Up in Smoke” tour. The footage in question records a conversation between tour organisers and Detroit city officials that took place after Dr Dre was forced to drop two sexually explicit videos from his act. Former Mayoral spokesman Greg Bowens, Paula Bridges and Gary Brown claim a camera and a microphone was used to record the meeting without their knowledge and claim that they did not authorise their subsequent appearance in the 2002 documentary “Detroit Controversy”. But the defendant’s legal team claim that all involved knew that cameras were rolling. Time Warner is being named in the action…