Media-whore Hollywood stars wanting it all their own way

http://www.ananova.com/entertainment/story/sm_580173.html?menu=

This refers to Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones suing a UK magazine for printing “unauthorised” photos of their wedding. I cannot see - even if wedding guests signed some disclaimer on receiving their invitation, and/or were strip searched for photographic gear on arrival (as at the Posh/Becks horror) - how this disgustingly overrated and greedy Hollywood twosome have a leg to stand on.

Since when do independent media organisations have an obligation to only print “high quality” photographs of people in the news?

Since when are independent media organisations only allowed to print “authorised” photos?

Why should rich, powerful, overpaid Hollwood [expletives] be afforded any greater protection than the average person-on-the-street in only having flattering images of themselves published in newspapers?

And how can they claim “their private lives were violated” when they had already sold their wedding to another magazine?

I hope this case costs them millions and they go down in flames…

Istara, a few points:

  1. First, quite obviously, exclusive photos of the Douglas- Zeta-Jones marriage had value. If they didn’t have value, Hello! wouldn’t have offered 2 million pounds for exclusive rights, and OK! wouldn’t have offered 1 million. (What is it with these exclamation points!!)

  2. As the exclusive photos had value (as Hello! itself acknowledged by offering 2 million for them), Hello! stole a valuable property.

  3. I’ll acknowledge that the “poor quality” business is kind of silly, but the rest of the causes of action aren’t.
    A wedding is a private event. The fact that Douglas and Zeta-Jones partially lifted that privacy by allowing particular pictures to be taken does not mean that their right to be protected from invasions of privacy was waived. News organizations cannot invade that privacy.

  4. Hello! tortiously interfered with the couple’s contract with OK! It lessened the value of OK!'s pictures.

Sua

Is this a debate, an opinion, a question or a rant?

But while it reamins in GD, I’ll ask; what does the OP want us to debate? I have opinions on copyright and right of image which I could share, but the specifics of the OP can only be answered the way Sua already has.

Respectfully

Sparc

I think the OP just wanted to grouse about media celebrities. SuaSponte has already covered the relevant points, IMO.

It was a debate. A heated, rant-style debate, but I wanted some lawyer types like Sua or just anyone with an opinion/argument to follow up.

What I don’t get is, why Hello! has any duty of care towards the Zeta-Jones/Douglas/OK! contract. It’s up to them to protect their interests. Are wedding photos a private thing? Is a photo I take with my camera at my friend’s wedding a private thing and should I need their permission to publish it?

This whole thing reminds me of the ambush marketing that went on during the Sydney Olympics, most noticeably between Qantas and Ansett. IIRC Ansett wanted to sue Qantas but didn’t in the end. At that time, most marketing experts I spoke to were of the opinion the onus was on Ansett to protect and promote their official sponsorship of the Games.

Likewise here, it’s up to OK or the couple to safeguard their deal (making guests sign something on entry, maybe) - they can’t expect other media to “bow out gracefully.” That’s just not how it works. Even with expensively exclusive sports coverage, other networks can still show results as part of breaking news (there’s a time period they have to use the coverage for to fit in with this) or for “comment or review.”

This is essentially a money issue, not a privacy issue, and if I were OK! I would sue the couple for not taking enough precautions to ensure the contract of exclusivity was honoured.

That makes about as much sense as a burglar sueing homeowners because their house wasn’t secure enough. The magazine that published the unauthorized photos fully realized that there were rights to be secured, because they themselves offered a bid for those rights, and lost.
In other words, first they tried to do it legally, implying that they knew what the rules were, and were willing to follow them. When their bid fell through, they then tried to say that there weren’t really any rules, and proceded to break the rules they had previously agreed to follow.

Imagine a couple agreed to do that TLC show about weddings. If another network filmed their own footage without permision. The other network can release there own “Weddings Caught On Tape” or some such before TLC, costing the company and the couple. Clearly the other network is in the wrong just in this, plus however they got the footage.

This is no different. Because they are famous they are likely to have this happen to them. It doesn’t make it any less wrong. If I was famous and getting married I would make a deal with a respectable magazine to cover it if they wanted. For two reasons. The first is to prevent having it overtly invaded. With a deal you can regulate how much is being published. The other is that if someone is making money of my wedding I better damn well be getting some of that money. Especially as it will help cover the costs of keeping unwanted guests out and lawsuits for those that do come in and take pictures.

One point the OP may have right is that by selling the media rights to their wedding to one newspaper, Douglas and Jones may have forfeited the legal right to claim their wedding was protected as a private event.

But the rest of their legal argument has merit. Photos of the wedding have recognized commercial value and Douglas and Jones are entitled to have control of their images as commercial products.

One question I have is that if Hello’s original offer was twice that of OK’s, why wasn’t Hello the “official” photographer in the first place?

Maybe Douglas and Zeta-Jones didn’t trust them…and for good reason, it seems.

to me, this suggests that $$ alone was not the deciding factor to Douglas/Zeta-Jones. Which, of course, strenghtens their legal position.

for a celebrity who wishes to get married these days, the choices seem to be " pick your poison" (as in select the ‘approved’ media outlet) or be prepared for an absolute nightmare (as in the Sean Penn/Madonna nuptuals where helicopters were buzzing overhead etc.).