Privacy in a Public Place: “Droit d’image”?

Often, I’ve heard it said that the general public, while going about their daily lives in a public place, can have no expectation of privacy from filming, particularly if a documentary programme is being shot around them. However, a new ruling by Ofcom, the UK’s broadcasting regulator, has upheld a complaint of intrusion of privacy made by a worker, filmed in a public place, who asked a programme maker not to include his footage; and yet it was still shown.

The full ruling is here¬†(search for ‘David Gemmell’ in the text). It would be sensible for film-makers to take the greatest care to keep records of requests made by their subjects, whether featured or not, and to abide by commitments made in correspondence with them.

Note that this was not a case of a consent/clearance form not being obtained: it was a particular objection to broadcast, which the programme-maker stated, in writing, would be respected. This ruling, also, does not raise the spectre of UK regulations mirroring the French concept of droit d’image¬†which is shared by some other jurisdictions.

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