When are you Considered Famous enough for a Privacy Injunction?

The recent successful obtaining of a privacy injunction by Ned RocknRoll against The Sun raises interesting questions regarding the definition of when someone is considered to be significantly in the public’s eye (or famous enough), to warrant the need for an injunction.

Generally the test is that the more you are in the public light, and the more famous you are, the less privacy you are afforded, because you are already in the public eye anyway, hence making it that much harder for you to obtain a privacy injunction (which is why professional footballers find it so hard at times). However, in Mr RocknRoll’s application for a privacy injunction, this was deemed not to be the case. The fact that Mr RocknRoll is married to Kate Winslet, and is the nephew of Richard Branson was considered by the Court to be insufficient to bring him into the public eye in his own right (despite The Sun’s lawyers arguing to the contrary), and therefore his right to have his privacy protected was increased. This in turn meant the Court was more comfortable in granting him a privacy injunction to prevent the publication of photos, apparently showing him semi naked during a private fancy dress party. Had Ms. Winslet been seeking the same privacy injunction in her own right, the result may well have been different, as the Court may have considered her right to privacy to have been diluted by the fact of her own unarguable global fame.

In summary, the true magnitude of a person’s fame in their own right, not simply by their relationship/marriage to or connection with an obviously famous person (such as Oscar winning actress Kate Winslet) is an issue that is thoroughly considered by the Court, alongside other issues, such as whether the applicant for a privacy injunction could have reasonably expected a degree of privacy from the photos when they were taken, when an application for a privacy injunction comes before it.

John Spyrou

Head of Internet and Media Law @ Pinder Reaux

Pinder Reaux & Associates