The Canadian Privacy Law Blog: Developments in privacy law and writings of a Canadian privacy lawyer, containing information related to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (aka PIPEDA) and other Canadian and international laws.
The author of this blog, David T.S. Fraser, is a Canadian privacy lawyer who practices with the firm of McInnes Cooper. He is the author of the Physicians' Privacy Manual. He has a national and international practice advising corporations and individuals on matters related to Canadian privacy laws.
For full contact information and a brief bio, please see David's profile.
The views expressed herein are solely the author's and should not be attributed to his employer or clients. Any postings on legal issues are provided as a public service, and do not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. The author makes no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained herein or linked to. Nothing herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of competent counsel.
This web site is presented for informational purposes only. These materials do not constitute legal advice and do not create a solicitor-client relationship between you and David T.S. Fraser. If you are seeking specific advice related to Canadian privacy law or PIPEDA, contact the author, David T.S. Fraser.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Canadian folk singer Loreena McKennitt has obtained an injunction in the United Kingdom to prevent the publication of some revelations in a biography. For some reason, McKennitt went to court so that nobody would know "what was under the lino of the house in Ireland, how many bunk beds were put up when visitors came to stay and what happened when McKennitt was aroused from sleep". Sounds pretty mundane to me.
But this case is important as it suggests that celebrities, who depend upon being in the public eye to a certain degree, can call upon the European courts to seek protection from the glare of the spotlight. According to the Times of London:
For the first time a British court drew on a 2004 ruling at the European Court of Human Rights that said photographs of Princess Caroline of Monaco shopping in a public place or in a swimming costume at a beach club breached her right to privacy. The judge claimed there was a “significant shift” taking place between, on the one hand, the right of freedom of expression and the corresponding interest of the public to receive information and, on the other hand, “the legitimate expectation of citizens to have their private lives protected”.
He said information about an affair between two people could be protected even if one of them decided to reveal it to the public; incorrect information could breach someone’s right to privacy; and the fact that something was already in the public domain did not always mean it could be published again.
Ash has lodged an appeal and the media organisations are seeking to join in the action when it is heard later this year.McKennitt has said in an interview: “Privacy is integral to people’s emotional and psychological wellbeing. It doesn’t matter if you are a so-called public figure.”
Media lawyers say the case has wider ramifications than the long-running one brought against a tabloid newspaper by Naomi Campbell, the supermodel. She won £3,500 damages from the Daily Mirror after it revealed her fight against drug addiction. The Court of Appeal overturned the award but the House of Lords then allowed the model’s appeal against that judgment, saying the newspaper had gone too far in detailing her medical treatment.
As a Canadian aside, PIPEDA does not offer any protection in these circumstances as it does not apply to artistic or literary endeavours. The common law may be called upon, but I don't think you'd get very far here.
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