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Hernandez with celebrity, Debbie Gibson, at Full Sail University, inside of The Daily Buzz studio. Photo Credit: Jessica Northey

Hernandez with celebrity, Debbie Gibson, at Full Sail University, inside of The Daily Buzz studio. Photo Credit: Jessica Northey

Lesson One: Expectations of Privacy  

You have the legal right to protect your privacy while using private electronic communication such as emails and texts messages. You may want to think again before you send a nude photo of yourself to another person. There is no guarantee your private image won’t be leaked onto social media. You have no rights at all if you publish private information to social media yourself. In addition, if a person is in the public eye it doesn’t always mean their private information qualifies as a newsworthy event. We all have a reasonable expectation of privacy against our private images or information being leaked across the Internet.

In an interview with Victoria Hernandez, Esquire and Department Chair for the Entertainment Business Bachelor of Science program at Full Sail University, shares information about celebrities’ privacy is protected in spite of how they’re famous. Hernandez says, “The public figure exception raises the burden of proof for defamation of celebrities requiring them to prove malice by the alleged defamer. The standard for invasion of privacy is not much different for celebrities. One cannot reveal things for which a celebrity would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.”

Lesson Two: Privacy Not Protected for Social Media

Hernandez states that, “electronic communication like emails between two people are still expected to be private unless there is a reason to believe one of the parties will forward it along to others. However, public communication like tweets and status updates would not receive the same protection.” If you experience an invasion of privacy, please research your state’s statues to learn about how to protect your rights.

Lesson Three: Must Provide Certain Facts

According to an article from the BuzzFeed.com website, Scarlett Johansson experienced a nude photo of her naked body leaked online that was not meant for the public. Her battle is against social media publishing sites, such as Reddit. Her private image spread to across the Internet into major media news. Johansson’s lawyer issued a takedown notice to the publications posting the private image. She spoke publically about how she did not personally publish her photo online.

There are specific facts that must be proven to win an invasion of privacy case. The majority of celebrities file their lawsuits from Los Angeles, California. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF, states that the California jurisdiction recognizes lawsuits regarding laws regarding publication of private facts. The elements that must be proven in court are as follows: “(1) public disclosure; (2) of a private fact; (3) that is offensive to a reasonable person; and (4) which is not a legitimate matter of public concern. Publication on a blog would generally be considered public disclosure.”

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