No publicity, please!

So, last week I did a firewalk for charity, at Edinburgh Zoo. Due to the ‘delightful’ roadworks going on in Edinburgh for, ohhh, eternity, I arrived at the event at 7pm just as the briefing started, instead of the planned 6.30pm for registration.

Apparently, in the few minutes before the briefing officially started, it was announced that a daily news show crew were there to film us, and if anyone objected to being filmed, could they make themselves known. It seems like nobody did, because we were all filmed by the crew at various points, usually in the background to the presenter.

I have absolutely no desire to be on TV, particularly during a stressful event, so I was not best chuffed to find out by questioning other firewalkers that what I thought was perhaps going to be a promotional clip for the company organising the firewalk, or for the Zoo itself was actually going to end up on national telly. Added to this was the fact that I had not been asked about my agreement to the filming, and had not given permission either verbally, or in writing.

I’ve viewed the report, and can clearly see myself at one point, although others might not recognise me. I have no way of knowing what other footage that I may have been in was cut.

So, my questions are…
Since I was repeatedly filmed in a private place (the seminar room of the Zoo) without my permission, could I justifiably have objected to the use of the footage?
Is the firewalk area of the Zoo (a grassy public area in the middle, after opening hours of the Zoo) also a private area?
Is it legal to film people like this when they haven’t given any sort of proveable agreement?

It’s a moot point now, as the footage is out there, but it’s something that annoyed me, as I think you can tell!!

Author: Jennie

Law, libraries, books, crafts, and general geekery.

4 thoughts on “No publicity, please!”

  1. Main issues here:Are there contractual rights to photograph you?What is a public place?If it was public did you have a legitimate expectation of privacy?Ditto, to some extent, in a 'private' place.From an English law perspective I'd want to know:Did the agreement with the promoters have a publicity clause? Did you make yourself known when they asked for objections? If so did they film you anyway?Permission, england, sought or given need not be in writing – oral is sufficient.In the seminar room, and in the absence of a contract and prior notification of filming: possibly.Privacy right in the Firewalk area?: Very doubtful. Still essentially 'public' even though it was after hours & by invitation only.Generally proveable agreement is helpful: the absence of it is not definitive is saying whether there is a right to film or not. General privacy law would apply.

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  2. I couldn’t make my objection known, as when they asked, not all participant (me included) had arrived yet. So they asked a majority of participants to agree on behalf of everyone, including, apparently, total strangers who were not in the room, and not informed when entering the room of what was going on.I could not agree to something I had not been asked, yes?There was no publicity clause – the only doc I completed was a health issues / disclaimer in event of injury doc.I felt the firewalk area was a public space, but I could feel the lights of the camera panning over the room / me when we had been told to close our eyes for a visualisation exercise in the seminar room – to think you’re being filmed in that situation, without permission, then to find it may be on TV…not nice, hence my discomfort.

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  3. “I could not agree to something I had not been asked, yes?” no. Ad since no contract could be a problem: they could argue it was implicit but that seems dubious.I think in terms of the seminar room you’d have an arguable legal claim. In the Firewalk area I’d say you hadn’t.

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