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Is a ‘selfie’ a portrait?

FEARLESSLY exploring the crunchy corners of copyright law, the Freelance asks: in how many ways did the freelance journalist who created a Fakebook page to ensnare libidinous MPs offend against it?

On the face of it, they breached copyright by reproducing images from real women's Facebook pages. At least one of the women objects, as reported by the Guardian and Telegraph.

But do they have the right to object under possibly the most obscure corner of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 - the "fourth moral right"?

85 Right to privacy of certain photographs and films.

(1) A person who for private and domestic purposes commissions the taking of a photograph or the making of a film has, where copyright subsists in the resulting work, the right not to have -

(a) copies of the work issued to the public,

(b) the work exhibited or shown in public, or

(c) the work communicated to the public;

This was intended to stop wedding photographers selling pictures to the papers, for example. (The first three "moral rights" are the right to be idenfified as author, the right to object to false identification, and the right to defend the integrity of a work.)

But would "commissions" include taking the pic yourself? Probably. Does posting the pic on Facebook grant an implied licence to the Mirror? Almost certainly not.

Last modified: 01 Oct 2014 - © 2014 contributors
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