The topical issue that the Czech Municipal Court will deal with in a few month time (the judgment delivery is expected in June) is the matter of the use of the photos from the Facebook public profile in the news.
Even more desirable is the judgment as the claims by the Claimant whose image from the public profile was used rise. As the examples serve the claim of the currant MP (former Senator) and very successful Czech businessman with Japan roots Mr. Tomio Okamura. He has been very active in the business area for more past fifteen years mainly in tourism and at the moment also in are of Japanese restaurant and food. He also became politically active and after his victory in Senate he created the political party which was successful in the election in autumn 2013. As a tool to be close to the public, his public Facebook profile consist of each day commentary of the political situation, poll for his supporters whether they like his speech or the proposal he did in the Parliament, additionally he posts his news regarding some discount or special offer of his Japanese shop or news where supporters might be able to buy his new cook book. Lastly he also posts images of his new girlfriend or son. He posted several images when he and his girlfriend occurred in public but also as they have spent the holiday in Maldives (in swimsuit, or on jet ski) with caption that he is very thankful his girlfriend that she had persuaded him to take a long holiday and a description what they did on holiday or on romantic dinner.
The Defendant – Czech magazine issued several critical articles about the political programme and populist behaviour of the Claimant and as an addition the magazine published also some of the pictures. Mr. Okamura brought a claim claiming the infringement of his dignity and reputation in respect of the content of the articles but also made a claim that the magazine infringed his privacy when publishing photos of his girlfriend what he only posted on the Facebook not in the news.
The second case concerns the husband of the women who killed her four children. The murder is still surrounded with the questions as despite the women is imprisoned the motive is missing, one version is that her husband wanted to leave her and she was in desperate situation. The Claimant (husband) posted on his Facebook public profile cover picture from the bed with his new girlfriend only after six months after the murder. A year after he posted news that he married again and images of his new wife and scan image of his new child was posted as well. He than brought the claim against the newspaper which wrote an article about the news that he very shortly remarried and is being a father. In the claim he claimed the infringement of the privacy as many people in their private are area disagree with the situation. He also claimed that the images breached their privacy.
First of all, from the Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities one has to be aware that when one publishes content or information using the Public setting, it means that is allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture). For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
Secondly, when one voluntarily uses the public profile for increasing his or her popularity by posting private images or share the information with more than 1,000 friends the expectation of the privacy is missing. The picture is already in public domain and therefore cannot infringe privacy of the people concerned.
The judgement is need to be issued to resolve finally the matter to prevent such claims as in my opinion the legal reasoning for the such claim is missing.