Smile you are (legally) protected!
Taking and broadcasting photos has never been simpler since the internet became part of our lives. And questions relating to the right of personal portrayal have never been asked as much as they are today. In Belgium, there is no general law devoted to this subject but the subject is mentioned in a series of legal texts. Marc Isgour, lawyer and lecturer at ULg, has just published a work which reviews the questions raised on the subject and explores all the facets of the right of personal portrayal.
Numerous problems and costly court cases
Today, everybody runs the risk of finding themselves on a blog, a social media site, media, banner or video-hosting site without their knowledge. Technological developments will not result in a reversal of this trend. After all, each street and house in the Kingdom of Belgium is visible on the web with one click and drones may one day make it possible to spy on one’s neighbor directly from above…
In his work, The right to personal portrayal, recently published by Larcier(1), Marc Isgour cites some amounts recently awarded by the Belgian courts. The magazine Ciné-Revue was ordered to pay 2,000 Euros for publishing topless photographs of Mylène Farmer on holiday. La Meuse journal was ordered to pay 3,500 Euros for publishing an out-of-context front-page photo of a local trader who was involved in a dispute with his customers. An online blog was ordered to pay 5,000 Euros for publishing photos of a person taken when the individual concerned was in an uncompromising position and accompanied by unpleasant comments… Even though it is true that the amounts being awarded are rising steadily, we are far from the excessive amounts sometimes mentioned during legal proceedings brought by certain individuals in France or elsewhere.
(1) Marc ISGOUR, Le droit à l’image, Bruxelles, Editions Larcier, juin 2014, 392 pages