Media law & portrait rights

Media law – is a publication permitted or not?

Suppose you find out that on (a Dutch newspaper) a very negative news article has been posted about your company, in which various untruths are mentioned. Then it is important for your company that the article is taken offline again as soon as possible. But how far can a newspaper go in the context of freedom of expression?

In media law, it is usually about the question of what should weigh more heavily: the importance of freedom of expression or the (possible) consequences of a publication for the company or person whom that publication is about. If a (future) publication in the media is harmful to your company, it is possible to take action against it. This can be done in advance, by bringing a claim prohibiting publication (for example, a certain newspaper article or a TV broadcast). But removal and rectification can also be requested afterwards.  BVDV’s lawyers can help you to ensure that the publication cannot cause (further) damage.

Portrait rights

A special part of media law is portrait law. Portrait rights were a relatively unknown part of intellectual property law for quite some time. Since the various lawsuits on this subject between Max Verstappen and Picnic, portrait rights have come to the foreground in recent years. Portrait rights are a specific part of copyright law.

When can you use someone’s portrait?

That depends on whether there is a reasonable interest of the person who does not agree with the use of his portrait.

According to the Copyright Act, no permission for the use of a portrait is required, unless a reasonable interest of the person portrayed opposes the disclosure. What qualifies as a reasonable interest can be deduced from previous court rulings on the matter. A reasonable interest may be, for example:

– privacy (GDPR);

– the reputation of the person whose portrait is used; or

– a commercial interest.

The competent court will ultimately have to weigh up the interests of the party using the portrait and the interests of the person whose portrait it concerns.

The lawyers of BVDV are happy to think along with you about all your questions and challenges in the field of media law.