Images of Celebrity: Publicity, Privacy, Law
Media & Arts Law Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, 2005
24 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2006
Celebrity has been a notable focus in recent media and cultural research, with work considering its textual construction as well as its production, circulation and consumption. Concurrently, celebrities' claims for privacy from certain media publications have been important in English, European and New Zealand case law - law which has significance beyond those jurisdictions and has received considerable Australian attention from lawyers and commentators. In light of themes about celebrity from cultural and media research, this article examines an illustrative legal claim by celebrities where privacy was sought from particular media coverage; namely, the long running Douglas v Hello! litigation. The authors explore ideas about the celebrity as a commodity and the treatment of photographs in privacy-related claims, and draw out two points. The first concerns legal awareness of what could be called the celebrity industry and its role in the construction and circulation of media content. In some situations, these industrial aspects of celebrity may carry doctrinal weight for issues such as when reasonable expectations of privacy exist. The second raises matters about the uses of celebrity content in terms of subjectivity - uses which are suggested in contemporary media and cultural research - and the role of privacy itself within identity formation, which has been raised recently within Australian legal commentary on privacy.
Keywords: celebrity, privacy, law, publicity, media, culture, commodity, photograph
JEL Classification: K1, K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation