Technology and Business Law Blog

Privacy Rights of Celebrities and Others

When it comes to publicity and privacy rights it can be a fine dividing line. Madonna the famous singer has won a case against the U.K tabloid the Mail for publishing her wedding pictures.  Madonna is a celebrity and as such does not normally have privacy rights to her pictures that were taken by someone even without her permission.  This statement would have been true if the pictures were taken when she was in a public place, but the fact that the wedding was an private affair where no pictures were taken and the ones taken were by a photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino and they were presented to Madonna as a gift. These pictures were never published and were kept in her house away from the eyes of the public.

Even celebrities have a right to privacy and in terms of the copyrights on the photographs, if Madonna had hired the photographer then she would own the copyrights to them even if the photographer chose not charge for them and gifted them to Madonna, but if the photographer on his own accord took the photos and then gave them to Madonna as a gift then he will still own the copyrights to the photographs.

Another privacy issue is the searching of digital devices like cell phones and laptops at the U.S borders when one enters the country. Objecting to this practice, civil rights groups have filed cases, claiming racial profiling, invasion of privacy and unreasonable search and seizer without probable cause.  Now a handful of bills have been introduced that could pass next year.

One measure, sponsored by Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., chairman of the Constitution subcommittee, would require reasonable suspicion of illegal activity to search the contents of electronic devices carried by U.S. citizens and legal residents. It would also require probable cause and a warrant or court order to detain a device for more than 24 hours. And it would prohibit profiling of travelers based on race, ethnicity, religion or national origin.

Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., is sponsoring a bill in the House that would also require suspicion to inspect electronic devices. Engel said he is not trying to impede legitimate searches to protect national security. But, he said, it is just as important to protect civil liberties. Read here.

This in my opinion is good since, under the Bush Adminstration, under the Patriot Act, laws were streatched and many of our constitutional rights were under seige. Hopefully, under the new  adminstration there will be more of a balance and ordinary people will not be harrassed just because there have different sounding last names or because they look different.


December 8, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized |

1 Comment »

  1. Celebrities are people too, and they have their own right to privacy. Just let them entertain us with their own talents.

    santa monica attorney

    Comment by santa monica attorney | October 6, 2011 | Reply

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