back to article Woman loses Bebo privacy case against lad mag

A magazine did not intrude into a young woman's privacy when it published photos that she had uploaded to social networking site Bebo when she was 15 because the images had already been widely circulated online. The woman complained to press self-regulatory body the Press Complaints Commission (PCC). She said that an article …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pics or it didn't happen.

    that is all

  2. Gordon is not a Moron

    A question for the lawyers in the house.

    The original photos were this woman's property, that then went into wide circulation via 3rd parties before Loaded got hold of them. The judgement means because to the route from the orginator of the material to the final user was indirect, that the woman has no rights over the original material.

    Does the same argument hold for the Freetard nation? Original material is put into wide circulation by someone other than the original producer\owner, freetards picking up this content are not infringing the original creators rights as the material made it's way from creator to freetard in a non-dtrect manner.

    1. Steven Jones

      Not a copyright case...

      This was a privacy case, not a copyright one. As I read it, this judgement did not go into whether the complainant (or, indeed somebody else). held a valid copyright or has, in effect, given it up to the public domain.

      Material copied in breach of copyright will still be that, but the difficulty would be enforcing if its thousands of individuals. Also, there may be certain actions that might effectively put an image into the public domain.

    2. Just Thinking

      Not the judgement

      The judgement was nothing to do with copyright, it wasn't even a legal case. It was a PCC ruling on privacy. She put the pictures online herself, and they had already been widely circulated, which made it much more difficult to argue that her privacy had been invaded.

      Copyright is another matter, as is the fact that she was apparently 15 when the pictures were taken.

    3. EvilGav 1

      If . . .

      . . . she appears in the photo, then the photo was taken by someone else. Copyright for the photo lies with the person who took it, not with the subject of the photo.

      As such, the girl herself is in breach of copyright, unless she gained permission to put this on her Bebo page. If I was the photographer, at this point i'd be asking the magazine publisher a fee for using a photo for financial gain without my permission.

      1. The First Dave

        @EvilGav 1

        "Copyright for the photo lies with the person who took it"

        Not necessarily - if she asked for them to be taken, and there was no written contract, then they are hers.

      2. Arclight


        Unless she signed a waiver or contract, her image is owned by her and she has equal claim to the photograph/image

        1. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

          Re: Nope

          I haven't read the small print, but I strongly suspect that the Bebo terms of use will include words to the effect that anything posted to Bebo becomes the property of Bebo.

        2. MrJP


          ...there's a great paraphrase of a previous court ruling somewhere concerning who "owns" a photograh of you, it goes a little like, "You do not own the light that bounces off of your face!"

          To go a little further, you don't own the light, or the lens it hits unless the camera is yours, in which case the photos are your responsibility. Some people should examine that word closely sometimes too, *responsibility*.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            Unless they have given it up the copyright of an image remains with the author of the image. So if this were a copyright case the ownership would depend upon the person who took the photograph, not the people who are subjects of the photograph. So the complainant may not own the copyright of the images, if the photographer believes their copyright has been breached it's up to them to take action. Curiously enough a lot of people publish images of themselves on line and are, in doing so, effectively breaching copyright since it's the photographer who owns the copyright and not the subject.

            Under the Mandybill these images would probably be considered orphaned since it's unlikely that the images obtained by the magazine even had any of the original metadata attached. This tell us what's wrong with that part of the Mandybill. Under it's terms there is no onus on the publisher to attempt to resolve the copyright of an image which does not come with the information attached. This is a massive problem for freelance photographers since it would be pretty easy to get hold of an "orphaned" copy of any image published on the interwebs.

            WRT the privacy issue there is another more sensible route the young lady could have taken. Rather than trying to claim the magazine had invaded her privacy she could have claimed that the magazine had used her image in a commercial context without paying her a fee. OK so she wouldn't have made a fortune in damage settlements, but she could have at least received their standard modelling fee.

            Sounds like she received bad legal advice. If they had published the images without the attendant story she might have had a case, whether or not the images had appeared widely online. But with the story they became reportage.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Down

          @Arclight; 'Fraid not...

          Quite the opposite is true, in fact the ownership is the photographers and not the subjects. The subject has no claim to any form of copyright of the image *unless* is was negotiated first, in which case evidence of such will need to be provided.

    4. Professor Tinklepants

      Hang on just a minute!

      The two situations are not comparable. The photos weren't put online by a third party - SHE did it!

      If the original owner of something (pics or music etc) puts it online, freely available to all they can't then complain when every other bugger takes it and uses it.

      Yes, she put them up under her Bebo account and so, presumably, only friends should have been able to see them but anyone who still holds the delusion that online privacy mechanisms are reliable and will stop pictures of you in your smalls sweeping the web....well, they're idiots - aren't they?

    5. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Copyright or not

      IANAL, but I think the problem with your point is that from the sounds of it, she didn't complain that they breached any copyright, rather she said that they breached her right to a private life. The argument against her was that she no longer had that private life, after putting her pics online and them subsequently leaking.

      As far as her original copyright goes, maybe she would have a claim, but probably the a**holes at Bebo are like those elsewhere who say that you give the copyright on the images to them once you send them. In any event, she would probably have to take a claim of copyright infringement through a different route.

      Although possibly a way around this is for her dad to say that HE owns the copyright and that she therefore couldn't give it away, so Bebo et al are still responsible for copyright infringement.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Epic boobs

      It was the Epic Boobs girl. No wonder they ruled against her, the pics are *everywhere*

      1. Chris Collins


        They truly were epic. I'd be proud to have tits like that. If I were a woman.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Steady there!

      Of naked 15 year old girls? You do realise there are laws against this?

      Surely if the pictures in question were of her when she was 15, they constitute or border on the old CP laws?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Steady there!

        She's not naked (or even topless). She doesn't need to be.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If so she goes to prison first

        Under the current law it is only if in the images, she was naked or engaged in a sex act, under the age of 18. But if people do want to get all PC about it and start arresting people for having these images, then she get's arrested first for posting what can only be described as 'look at my boob's' shots at that age. But I would like to see loaded having their colars felt, just so that they will checkout pictures they are posting better in the future....

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Epic Boobs"

    That's all I have to say.

  5. Russ Tarbox

    Come on Reg!

    I had to open a new tab and spend 5 seconds Googling to get to the good stuff. Must try harder...

  6. robert 15
    Thumb Up

    Epic Boobs!

    Nuff said ;)

  7. Edward Clarke


    Do a google image search on "Epic Boobs". I can't believe she's 15 in those photos.

    Bawdy jokes? Hell no, it's more likely stunned silence.

  8. The BigYin

    Does copyright not apply?

    Whether or not they invaded her privacy, surely they breached copyright by using her photos without her permission?

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think there is a difference between claiming your privacy has been violated when it is clear no such privacy exists; and wanting to claim the rights to things you have created and expect to have a continuous income stream for, because the law allows that under copyright, whereas the rest of us are paid once for a job and have to work again if we want more income.

    1. David Barrett


      What you are saying is that people shouldn't be allowed to resel non tangible products?

      Say she blew them up to a1 framed them and sold them you'd make her give them away after the first one sold? No it's no different with a copywritten item, it belongs to the owner all loaded would do would be to pay her to use it. This is how istock corbis etc make money.

      However as has been pointed out this was a privacy issue not a copyright one.

      If I was her I'd get a requst in to loaded for the fee...

      Actually as a side do bebo do the same as fb? When you upload an image it becomes theirs?

  11. Andrew 103

    Everyone knows it: "The Epic Boobs girl"

    "A woman complained to the Press Complaints Commission that an article headlined "Wanted! The Epic Boobs girl!", published in the February 2010 edition of Loaded, intruded into her privacy in breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors' Code of Practice."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    be careful what you post on-line. It may come back and haunt you.

    Trouble is - you don't realise this when young

  13. ph0b0s

    Aren't we all now pedos?

    According to the law aren't we all pedos now for get hot about these photos? It's a mine field, I don't want to be a pedo, she's only 15, but look at that pair... AAARRGGGHH!

  14. Arclight


    does this mean that any photo's or Prince placed on the interwebs by himself or his promoters, and have been already widely circulated around the internet, are now open season for any magazine or website to post/print?

  15. French Tickler


    The "Epic Boobs" girl is named Alix Bromley. Photobucket yielded several pics of her including the infamous poster.

  16. adam payne

    Rule number one

    Never put personal pictures of yourself on the internet as you never know where they're going to end up.

    1. Walking Turtle
      Thumb Up

      Which is why Walking Turtle... closely resembles Sitting Bull here and there. {;-)

  17. Nano nano

    In future

    Watermark all your photos before posting them online - then at least you'll have a copyright case.

    pedant corner:

    "aren't we all p[a]edos now" - well since she appears to be sexually mature, technically, no.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge


      That's what you are...

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What is important is not whether you can sell a non tangible asset, but whether it should be considered so important that you can charge for the same work again and again millions of times. I suggest it is self evident that is wrong. For work on more tangible assets it wouldn't be allowed. If one lays a path does everyone who walks on it have to pay you each time ? So... it is immoral and a legal rip off. One should be paid in accordance to the contribution made. In the case of say a photograph the posing is next to no effort. Paying for the nice frame and selling it is worth something, but that has to be done time and again. The whole system needs throwing out and revisiting, but there are too many with too much to lose overthrowing the status quo.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      One would say her assets are quite tangible.

    2. Galidron

      Walking down a path

      Do you not have toll road's on the other side of the pond? I didn't think that was something the US invented.

    3. asiaseen

      If one lays a path ...

      Ever heard of a toll road?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Umm no.

      I may have misread your message but thats not the way that it works..

      If she sold the images to Loaded they would be paying to use those images, it would be up to the two parties to agree a licence, whether they pay to have them in one publication or to have the rights to publish them repeatedly would be up to them.

      What the above would and should not do is stop her selling the same image to another publication, your original message seemed to suggest that this should not be allowed...

      And your example of tangible assets and the path.. Been on the M6 past birmingham? Driven to Skye? I think you will find plenty of examples where a tanigble fixed asset can and has been charged for multiple times.

      As with so many things perspectives shift based on your position, based on your messages I assume that you are a consumer of products and services and not a supplier. I cant imagine that there are many suppliers who would agree with the philosaphy that you can only sell something once (With the noted exception of Open Source Software, but even then most will charge for supported "Professional" versions and Ill bet they have a licence that says you cant copy and redistribute it)..

      Regardless, Its not a copyright case its privacy, and with this Id have to side with her, I mean it was pretty dumb posting them online and why is this the first time she has objected... but at the same time who at FHM though "I know Ill grab some images off the net and use them... "

      Unless this means that FHM wont be too bothered with me scraping the images from their site and re-publishing them on mine....

      I think the lesson here is : Dont post on line ANYTHING that you dont want to be public.

  19. Inachu

    Judge used flawed logic to benefit companies.

    This is the same methodology that was used so that MAsterCard could win and use an idea that was created by 2 guys that created those PRICELESS photos and MasterCard took the idea and copyrighted it even though they did not OWN the prior art they won control of it.

    So big business is there to screw over the little guy at any and every opportunity.

  20. heyrick Silver badge

    Epic boo^H^H^Hfail!

    So under current law, the way things are, two perfectly normal consenting adults can take pictures of themselves doing the rumpy-pumpy, only to be arrested and labeled pervy-paedos because while the age of consent is 16, the age of the indencent pictures of children is 18.

    Yet a magazine was able to publish, without permission, pictures of a FIFTEEN year old? In this context? And, in light of the facts, get away with it...?!?

    Copyright (screw copyright - it's an "orphaned image", right?) and circulation issues (if an MP3 of my favourite track is available from twenty sites, can I use this excuse when I download it?) aside, surely this whole "epic boobs" thing is straying way into the domain of "Think of the children!".

  21. Rob 9

    It doesn't matter!

    It WASN'T a copyright case - it was about privacy invasion. Copyright law has no bearing on this case whatsoever....

  22. Alfred 2

    But ....

    So if she was 15 yrs 11 months and 29 days anyone looking at those pics and enjoying them for her ... erm .. appearance is a pervert.

    But if she was 16yr and 1hr it's OK 'cos you'd see the piccies on Page 3 anyway.

    *Waits for the PedoFinder General to make an appearance.*

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nope would stil be in trouble...

      The current law is she would have to be over 18 for you to legally enjoy them. Under 18's are classed as 'children' by child porn laws. I think the law should match the age of consent and there should be a separate law to cover 16 - 18 that discourages pornographic exploitation of them. I mean if a lads mag cannot get the age of someone in an image right, something they deal with all the time, what hope for the rest of us....

      But academic anyway as she would have to be naked or performing a sex act for the child porn law to kick in, I believe. But I do think it is interesting that images of a 15 year old having become pin up fodder in a lads mag, has not got too many people jumping up and down, where as if an individual was found with such pictures would probably get a lot more stick....

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