Author J.K. Rowling has lost a landmark privacy suit over the rights of a photo agency to use a picture of her son reports the BJP.
Rowling had sued photo agency Big Pictures U.K. Ltd after one of its photographers took a snapshot of the Rowling and her son on a street in Edinburgh in November 2004, claiming that the child’s privacy had been invaded.
However, Justice Patten disagreed and said `It seems to me that the boundaries of what an individual can reasonably expect to remain confidential or private are necessarily influenced by the fact we live in an open society with a free press’.
If this case were to succeed it would essentially curtail all photography in public places because `if a simple walk down the street qualifies for protection then it is difficult to see what would not’ he said. ‘Any individual, not just celebrities, would be able to sue if they were photographed while not on `public business’.
The judge also recognised that this was a test case ‘designed to establish the right of persons in the public eye to protection from intrusion into parts of their private life even when they consist of activities conducted in a public place’. He went on to draw a distinction between a child or adult ‘engaged in family and sporting activities and something as simple as a walk down the street or a visit to the grocers to buy milk’.
Rowling is said to have lodged an appeal.