Privacy and Personality Rights: Commercial Exploitation and Protection

By Blackshaw, Ian | The International Sports Law Journal, January-April 2010 | Go to article overview

Privacy and Personality Rights: Commercial Exploitation and Protection


Blackshaw, Ian, The International Sports Law Journal


By Robert Deacon, Nigel Lipton and Robert Pinker, Jordan Publishing Limited, 2010, Bristol, pp 692 + XLVIII, ISBN 978 1 84661 186 5, price [pounds sterling]120

We are living in an age obsessed with celebrities - whether they are film stars or sports personalities! Indeed, sport is now firmly an integral part of the world entertainment industry and sports stars enjoy the same adulation as film stars and also earn equivalent mega salaries and financial benefits.

Although this Book is concerned with celebrities from all walks of life including super models, such as Naomi Campbell - and the authors, a barrister, a solicitor and an international consultant to the UK Press Complaints Commission respectively, quite rightly make the point that all celebrities are public figures but not all public figures are celebrities - the Book draws on several examples of cases involving sports personalities. More and more their activities on and off the field of play are attracting the attention of the world's media, as the extra-marital affairs of Tiger Woods and the dalliance of John Terry, the former England Football Team Captain, have clearly demonstrated recently.

The Book deals with the fascinating subject of the law on privacy, reputation and the commercial exploitation of the image rights of celebrities, as well as the self-regulation of the print media through the UK Press Complaints Commission (PCC), which regulates unlawful and unjustified intrusion of the Press into the private lives of persons in the public eye. The text of the PCC Editors' Code of Practice, which the PCC is charged with enforcing, is set out in one of the Appendices to the Book.

In a Foreword, the internationally well-known 'publicist', Max Clifford, describes the Book as timely and providing a "comprehensive guide to all of the many often complex legal issues regarding famous people's relationship and dealings with the media." And your reviewer would entirely agree with him.

However, he goes on to say that the Book is the first of its kind to deal with this developing area of the law, but your reviewer would not agree with him on this point. In fact, the first Book on the legal protection and commercial exploitation of image rights was the Book 'Sports Image Rights in Europe', published five years ago in the TMC Asser International Sports Law Centre Series of Books, of which your reviewer and Dr Robert Siekmann, the Director of the Centre, are the Editors and of which, it may be added, a second edition of this Book is currently in preparation.

Of particular interest to sports lawyers, administrators, agents, marketers and promoters in the Book under review is the comprehensive coverage of the case in 2008 of Max Mosley, the former President of the FIA - the World Motor Sport Governing Body - whose extracurricular activities were "exposed" by the British 'News of the World' Sunday Newspaper.

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