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High Court rules in favour of celebs right of privacy

Tue 6th Dec 2011

The Spanish High Court has ruled in favour of the possibility of claiming for damages in cases of private recordings of celebrities without their consent, based on the infringement of the 'Right of Reputation Act' and of the Data Protection Act. The issue was brought to the courts as a result of a recording made by some paparazzi to certain celebrities who were at that time inside their own private house.

The recording was broadcast on 2 TV programmes despite the celebrities contacting the TV stations in advance to object to what they believed to be an infringement of their right of reputation.

The celebreties also tried to execute their right of access in accordance with the Data Protection Act, however, this was denied by the television channel.

The Celebrities first brought a claim for damages for infringement of their rights of reputation, which were then followed bya further claim for damages for infringement of their right of access, rectification and cancelation of their personal data.

The TV station defended the claim, arguing that : (i) that the Civil Courts were not competent to deal with the claim if, given that the Spanish Data Protection Law Agency had not stated that there had been an infringement of the Data Protection Act; and (ii) that the claimants should had brought the actions for infringement of the Data Protection rights jointly and in the same proceedings that they started intended to discuss the infringement of their rights of reputation.

With reference to the first argument, The Spanish High Court ruled that the Civil Courts were competent to make a ruling on the case.

Regarding the second issue, the Spanish High Court agreed that both actions are asking for damages, and as they are related to the same issue, should be brought before the courts jointly.

The Spanish High Court therfore confirmed that it is possible to seek damages due to the infringement of the Right of Reputation alongside the claim for damages for the infringement of the Data Protection Act, stating further that these matters shall be discussed in the same Court proceedings.

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