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Privateness, Celebrities and the Media



Media has at all times been a pacesetter in speaking with the individuals, no matter any explicit type of media. Media needs to be cautious in evaluating earlier than posting the information on the general public domain and will depart no query as to its truthfulness. It’s the media’s ethical responsibility to serve the nation with correct and truthful information. If malafide data or the slightest doubt arises from the telecasted data, it might have an hostile impact. The media finds it their constitutional proper to report and inform the general public about all problems with ‘public curiosity’ as envisaged in Article 19 of the Structure below which the ‘freedom of the press’ is integrated. Alternatively, the individuals below Article 19 have the ‘proper to data’ or ‘proper to know’.

Celebrities’ proper to privateness is being persistently violated of misappropriation by others in lots of respects. With the exponential development of media, consumerism, and celebrities, the safety of celeb rights in India wants further focus and applicable laws. This text additionally offers with cures accessible to forestall such misuse of celebrities’ names, work, signature, and many others.


The phrase media, which is the plural of medium, refers back to the technique of communication by which we disseminate information, music, movies, formal training, promotional messages, and different content material. This contains of newspapers, journals, television, radio, cell, twitter, fax, and many others. It describes the other ways through which we talk inside society. Media may be divided into two classes –

        i.        Print Media consists of many sorts of media like newspapers, magazines, journals, articles, and information. That is the oldest type, and a major proportion of the number living nonetheless makes use of it despite deprivation after the arrival of the web.

      ii.         Broadcast Media applies to radio and television, which joined the image within the early and mid-20th centuries respectively. Many viewers now gather their information from television and radio outlets- but it surely received’t be lengthy till internet media seize management.

The media performs a vital position in establishing molding and relating the general public opinion of each democratic society. Immediately the media impacts nearly each a part of our public life. Media performs a key and actually vital operate in enlisting and informing the number living. Data of quite a few rural growth schemes, the utilization of the media may propagate the dissemination of household unit planning. Media has an incredible job of bringing social change from enjoyment to all the continued points in no matter matter it covers.

In Romesh Thappar v. The State of Madras, it was held that the liberty of speech and expression consists of freedom to propagate concepts, and the identical is ensured by the liberty of circulation. Subsequently, freedom of speech and expression below Article 19 embody freedom of media as effectively. However this proper shouldn’t be an absolute one and thus, cheap restrictions below Article 19(2) may be imposed by the legislation.


A star is somebody who works laborious all his life to be identified, after which wears glasses to keep away from being acknowledged.” – Fred Allen.

A star could also be described as ‘a person who has grow to be a preferred determine by way of his success, recognition or method of life, or by taking on a occupation that provides the general public a real curiosity in his acts, affairs and character’. A star is a person that has achieved substantial recognition over the course of his life and is effectively acknowledged to the general public and the media. The time period celeb has been derived from a Latin phrase ‘celebritatem’ which suggests ‘the situations of being well-known’. Public opinion is the principal criterion for deciding whether or not or not a person is a celeb.


Celeb rights because the identify implies, apply to freedoms linked to a person’s persona. That is intricately linked to an individual’s proper to privateness and properties. That is particularly vital to celebrities, as totally different companies could simply exploit their names, photos and even voices in quite a few commercials to boost their income. Celeb rights are a difficulty that has not earned the popularity it wants in our nation. With exponential growth within the nation’s digital media over many years, it has grow to be attainable to introduce a person’s non-public life into the general public domain. There was a major rise in circumstances what place celebrities’ privateness rights have been compromised and breached by most people and the media. The rights loved by celebrities are a bundle of rights together with rights of persona, rights of publicity, and rights of privateness.

       I.            Character or Picture Rights

Character Rights indicate an individual’s proper that pertains to his/her persona. The persona of a person is a manner by which one particular person acknowledges one other and determines his or her place inside society. This can be lined below an individual’s proper to privateness or as a property of an individual. That is vital for celebrities as a result of individuals use their identify or {a photograph} to promote their commerce and this influences their gross sales. In India, there is no such thing as a laws or regulation per se that protects the liberty of persona. However, India has already began to acknowledge such rights by multiple vital choices these days.

Until the Supreme Courtroom issued the judgment of Justice Okay. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India in 2017, persona rights had been largely drawn from the widespread legislation train of thought of ‘passing off’, much like that of the UK. Now, such rights have been raised to the standing of constitutional rights with the 2017 determination of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul supplied this rights elementary validity by stating:

“Each particular person shall have the best to train management and safety on their very own life and fame as offered to the world and monitor the business utilization of their identify. It additionally ensures that a person might be allowed to forestall anybody from utilizing his/her {photograph}, identify and different private data for business utilization, with out his / her permission.” (Para 477)

Additional, in ICC Improvement (Worldwide) Ltd. v. Arvee Enterprises and Anr., it has been held as follows

“The correct to publicity arises from the best to privateness which can be in a person or within the persona of a person similar to his identify, persona attribute, signature, voice, and many others. No particular person may be monopolized. The correct to publicity vests in an individual and he alone has the liberty to learn from it.” (Para 14)

Thus, whereas there is no such thing as a legislation associated with the best of persona in India, however the Courtroom’s objective has at all times been to acknowledge and protect these rights. Thus, solely the illegal and unlawful use of persona rights with unjust intent is punishable by legislation. 

   II.            Privateness Rights

In sharp comparability to the best to publicity, the best to privateness is the best to be left alone and to not have one’s identification mirrored overtly with out consent. What a proper empowers a public determine to assert for privateness infringement, to acquire damages and injunction towards somebody who violates the persona rights of the general public determine. The correct to privateness is predicated on the precept of individuality. Celebrities attempt to hold their private life as a secret. Indian structure acknowledges the best to privateness as a constitutional proper below Article 21. The stated proper shouldn’t be expressly talked about anyplace within the Structure. The 4 separate freedoms protected by the best to privateness rubric are:

1.      The correct to keep away from public disclosure of personal rights.

2.      The correct to intrude upon an individual’s isolation and to forestall some form of prying in an individual’s non-public affairs.

3.      Keep away from pretend gentle publicity, and

4.      Curb misappropriation of the identify and likeness of a person.

Maybe the Courtroom accepted the Proper to privateness of celeb for the primary time below in

R. RajaGopal v. State of Tamil Nadu, the courtroom held that nobody may publish something concerning households, marriage, procreation, motherhood, childbearing, and education amongst others with out the person’s permission. If he did so, he’ll breach the person involved proper to privateness, and might be responsible for compensation in an motion (Para 28). That is the primary case through which the courtroom dominated that the best to privateness might be infringed whether or not, for instance, the identification or look of a person had been used with out his permission, for commercial or non-advertising functions or for another matter. (Para 9)

The correct of celebrities to make decisions in regards to the publicity ranges they want to settle for and to reap the benefits of publicity in the event that they select to is a well-recognized train of thought within the West. Nonetheless, in India, the best to privateness ensuing from declarations of judicial pronouncements shouldn’t be geared up to guard the rights of celeb.

Within the landmark case of Justice Okay. S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) v. Union of India in 2017, the hon’ble Supreme Courtroom held that-

“The correct to privateness is protected below Article 21 as a vital part of the best to life and private liberty and is likely one of the freedoms secured below Half III of the Structure.”

Individuals of excessive profile, dignitaries, individuals in authority, celebrities, and many others. are generally on the receiving finish on account of reckless allegations, principally made anonymously, which may mar their respective careers and wipe out their pointless involvement in circumstances. The scrutiny of public figures by media mustn’t additionally reach a degree what place it results in harassment to the general public figures and their relations they usually should be allowed to dwell and lead their life in peace.

“It should be acknowledged that the liberty of the press and the widespread legislation proper to the privateness to guard private data symbolize elementary civilized ideas. Neither may be allowed full impact with out constraining the opposite. The correct to privateness that sits on the epicenter of an abuse of belief motion should be weighed towards the liberty of the media to provide the general public with data. Opposite to that, the media’s freedom to transmit information to the general public should be weighed towards the dignity that should be accorded to personal life.”

“When a stability is to be discovered between the liberty of the press and a person’s proper to privateness, when one is put towards the opposite, the concern as to what may be of supreme arises. Whereas contemplating the best to freedom of expression and speech pursuant to Article 19(1)(a), the Apex Courtroom held that such proper shouldn’t be abolished except the conditions created by permitting for freedom are urgent and the pursuits of the neighborhood are at stake. The courtroom additionally dominated that it isn’t essential to reconcile the 2 priorities as if they’re of equal weight.” (Para 159)  

III.            Proper to Publicity or the Merchandising Rights

The Worldwide Trademark Affiliation defines the Proper to Publicity, as “a type of mental property proper that protects towards the misuse of an individual’s identify, likeness and maybe different private identification for business profit.”

The correct to make use of the financial worth of the celebrity and identify of a celeb is called publicity rights. Publicity proper is the ‘pure proper of each human being to control the business use of his/her identification’. The correct to take advantage of the financial worth of a person’s identify and fame is known as the best of publicity for claiming this proper, it’s essential to ascertain that fame is a type of merchandise and any act that impedes these rights thought-about to be unfair business apply.

In Titan Industries Ltd. v. Ramkumar Jewellers, the Delhi Excessive Courtroom noticed that-

“When a celeb’s picture is utilized in ads with out their consent, the argument shouldn’t be that nobody can commercialize their picture however that the ability to resolve when, and the way their identification is used needs to be vested within the celeb. The correct to control the business use of human identification is the best to publicity.” (Para 14)

Within the case of Ali v. Playgirl, it was held that “a particular function of the widespread legislation proper of publicity is that it acknowledges the business worth of the image or illustration of a distinguished particular person or performer, and protects his proprietary curiosity within the profitability of his public fame or persona.”

Sourav Ganguly v. Tata Tea Ltd., what place Sourav Ganguly discovered himself extraordinarily disturbed when he discovered that Tata Tea Ltd., what place he was appointed as a supervisor, was advertising the 1-kilo tea packet by giving customers the chance to go with Sourav with a postcard positioned inside every tea container. This was performed to encourage the promoting of its tea packet on the Indian market what place Sourav had gained vital prominence. The courtroom dominated in Sourav’s favor, accepting his status and recognition as his own mental property.

Furthermore, the Labour Concept as propounded by John Locke supplies {that a} factor (res) is the property of the one that produces it or brings into existence. Equally, a celeb deserves all of the rewards he may earn as a result of he labored laborious, and created a worthy persona.

Nonetheless, the legislation with this regard continues to be not pretty developed, particularly in India, i.e. promoting /merchandising rights of celebrities. Courts within the varied worldwide international locations have taken a unique approach to help this proper, however no common justification has but been crystallized.


Sure legislations what place celebrities can search refuge are-

1.      Trademark: A trademark is a mark which may be depicted graphically and which might differentiate one particular person’s services or products from these of others as supplied below Part 2(1)(zb) of the Act. The identify and likeness of it can be conveniently registered and used as a trademark by the celeb. On this manner, trademark safety permits the celeb to manage its identify, picture and similarity. Many celebrities have began to register their identify and likeness as emblems to keep away from misappropriation by others. The names of Akshay Kumar, Amitabh Bachan, Sachin Tendulkar, Kajol, Shahrukh Khan, A.R. Rehman, Sanjeev Kapoor and lots of others had been registered as emblems. Additional, below Part 2(m) the definition of mark consists of names as effectively. Celebrities can also invoke Part 14 of the Emblems Act to forestall unlawful use of their names. Part 14 of the stated acts forbids the registration of a mark which falsely signifies a relation with a dwelling particular person or an individual who died to register the mark inside 20 years of the date of utility.

The legal guidelines grant the registered trademark holder sufficient safety. Will this imply that those that haven’t declared their commerce mark have the best to take action? Really, that isn’t true. Those who haven’t registered a commerce mark may prohibit the opposite particular person from utilizing the identical or equal commerce mark by way of the Doctrine of Passing Off.

2.      Passing Off:Pursuant to widespread legislation, the passing off rule in India is particularly designed to guard the goodwill linked to unregistered emblems. One mustn’t revenue from one other particular person’s work and that is based mostly on the fundamental train of thought of legislation. Passing off is roofed below part 27(2), 134(1)(c) and 135 of the Emblems Act. The cures accessible as regard to Passing off are Injunctions, Damages and Compensation or Account of Earnings.

In July 2008, a authorized discover let go by BCCI  to Kothari Merchandise Ltd for unlawful and unauthorized utilization of Indian cricket photos and images in its Pan Parag business.

Rajat Sharma v. Ashok Venkatramani, the commercial clearly takes digs on well-known TV journalist Rajat Sharma within the guise of introducing the ‘anchor-less’ information channel Zee Hindustan It refers to Rajat Sharma, India TV’s chairman and editor-in-chief, and suggests that folks will now not watch his widespread long-running show Aap Ki Adalat. Such ads prompted Mr. Sharma to file a case towards Zee Media for a everlasting injunction. The Courtroom affirmed well-known ideas of celeb rights and their proper to publicity. The discovering was that the aforementioned promoting was prima facie unconstitutional and that the stability of comfort was within the plaintiff’s favor. The courtroom restrained Zee Media from publishing any ads within the print media bearing Rajat Sharma’s identify.

3.      Copyright: A copyright grants the proprietor an unique proper to breed, subject, carry out, adapt, translate and retailer the work so protected by copyright any varieties. Copyright may be performed to guard Authentic literature, dramatic, musical and inventive creations, movies for the cinematography, and sound recordings. The Copyright Act doesn’t immediately outline the time period ‘Celeb’, but it surely does outline a ‘Performer’ below part 2(qq) of the Copyright Act, 1957. Additional, part 38 and 57 of the stated act present for the treatment to the plaintiffs. All of the manifestations of a celeb within the context of an authentic literary, dramatic, musical and inventive work; or in cinematograph/ sound recording obtain computerized safety below the copyright legislation. A well-known fictional character could generate immense financial income if appropriated right into a merchandising commodity.

4.      Defamation: When celeb data is included in a narrative or picture in such a manner as to painting the celeb in a false gentle, this may be defamation. It’s a legal offence below part 499 of the India Penal Code, 1860.  The legislation offers each particular person the best to uphold and defend his fame in a neighborhood. The correct to fame is acknowledged as a private proper inherent in any particular person.

The appellant Sampat Pal lodged a criticism in search of a everlasting injunction and damages in Delhi Excessive Courtroom claiming violation of privateness and defamation of the claimant. The swimsuit was filed to restrain Sahara One Media & Enjoyment & Ors. for which she claimed her life story was tailored into a movie. She stated she was defamed and humiliated by the depiction of the characters within the movie together with the opposite leaders of the group. She additional alleged the movie defamed her and portrayed her work with swords and sickles in a foul gentle and horrifying method. The Delhi Excessive Courtroom issued an order limiting the discharge of the movie till the subsequent listening to. The movie was printed with a discover explaining that it has little to do with Sampat Pal’s life and actions and together with her group.

Training Delhi Excessive Courtroom Advocate, Mohit Singh has positioned a defamation authorized discover on India Immediately Group Chairman, for ‘demeaning’ the Indian Cinema artist’s tragic demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. India Immediately Group’s Aaj Tak information channel flashed a Headline, supposedly evaluating the actor’s demise to a “hit-wicket” throughout a cricket match. “In accordance with the phrases used, the act of committing suicide is a shameful act and one which needs to be regarded down on. Such acts of public platforms, notably these with a excessive profile, have the potential to inflict unimaginable ache to a big a part of the Indian neighborhood”, the discover stated.

Media intrusions into the non-public life of people close to to celebrities, i.e. spouses, youngsters, dad and mom, and different family and friends, have additionally expanded privateness violations to the celebrities.

The Press Council of India’s Norms of Journalistic Conduct

Media serves as a bridge between individuals and authorities, in addition to a really robust instrument in a position to make and destroy public opinion. It might change expectations, or elicit feelings. That’s the reason it received widespread belief. Press is what governs the hearts and minds of residents by the various types of magazines, media, and flicks.

1.      Warning towards defamatory writings

Newspaper mustn’t print data that’s defamatory or libelous, additionally there needs to be ample motive/proof to conclude it’s correct and its publishing needs to be for the larger curiosity, following due diligence. Freedom of the press doesn’t grant a publication a license to malign a authorities determine or to print fraudulent and defamatory writings.

2.      Criticism of Public Figures

An actor or musician acting on a public stage submits his work to the viewers’s judgment and as such the remarks of the viewers with robust relations with the efficiency of artists can’t be deemed defamatory. The writers, nonetheless, ought to chorus from writing one thing that may very well be saw as throwing a cloud on the non-public fame of the artist remotely.

3.      Privateness of Public Figures

Proper to privateness is a elementary proper and is inviolable. The diploma of privateness additionally varies. The general public one who works below the general public eye as a public official can’t assume the identical diploma to be given, as supplied to a personal particular person. His acts and conduct as they’re of public curiosity may be dropped at public consideration through the media. Nonetheless, the press has a reciprocal obligation to insure that information concerning these actions and the general public particular person’s actions of public curiosity is collected by cheap means, is duly checked after which appropriately printed.

4.      Proper to Privateness

The general public determine household unit shouldn’t be a professional journalistic topic, extra so if the youngsters are included in its protection. The Press shall not intrude or violate a person’s privateness except it’s outweighed by professional public curiosity. Additionally, the precept of PRIVACY consists of topics pertaining to an individual’s residence, household unit, identification, faith, well being, orientation, private life and personal affairs.

5.      Proper to Privateness – Public Figures and the Press, 1998

There’s a heated discussion between the privateness of the general public particular person and the best of the general public to find out about his/her private actions, conduct, and traits traits, impeding or harming the general public curiosity, the latter being pressured to provide in. The precise tips described above could strike a compromise between the liberty of the press to acquire data and the best to privateness of public individuals.


1)      Articles 9 to 14 of the TRIPS Decision, 1994, offers with copyright and related protections. In particular, Article 14 supplies such freedoms for phonogram producers, broadcasting rights for dwell performances and protects the liberty to revive, replicate, transmit and re-broadcast by way of digital means and to speak to the general public. India is a signatory to the 1994 TRIPS Agreement and incorporates all of the options of the above privileges in its copyright legal guidelines.

2)      One other expansive transfer in securing allied artist rights was the WPPT, 1996. The WPPT concentrated totally on preserving the pursuits of performers and phonogram producers towards violating their privileges all through the digital age, as a result of there was a legislative void all through this space. The treaties additionally acknowledged the fixation of output on the visible media and its dissemination and communication. In respect to the privileges of performers, different financial rights had been bestowed on performers, that’s, the best to duplication, sale and leasing in addition to ethical rights.


The legal guidelines in impact don’t authorize a celeb’s identification for use with out specific permission from the celeb. The identical was reaffirmed by totally different courts. Safety is obtained below laws pertaining to privateness, tortuous legal responsibility and mental property rights. A star’s identify, face, and look has a market which means that’s linked up to him due to his work. The business exploitation that derives an financial profit is his proper and no unauthorized particular person can misappropriate the identical and profit unjustly from it. I feel it can be crucial for legislators to enact new celeb rights laws that may implement, talk about and embody safeguards towards the abuse of celeb rights and on the identical time grant them privateness. Additionally, one of the simplest ways for corporations to guard themselves towards authorized actions is to get correctly written approvals from celebrities earlier than utilizing their public photos, names, likeness and the like. Within the absence of those signed permissions, it’s strongly advisable to include ample authorized disclaimers with a view to lowering legal responsibility within the case of authorized disputes.


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