July 23, 2008

Brad Pitt Sics His Lawyers on the Prying Paparazzi … A Little Too Late

Brad Pitt’s loudmouthed attorneys at Lavely & Singer are, preemptively, trying to clamp down on a series of photos that “were surreptitiously taken of Mr. Pitt and his family as they engaged in familial activities on private property, namely, in the privacy of the estate in which they are presently residing in France and where they had a reasonable expectation of privacy.” Not content with issuing a cease and desist letter after the pictures’ publication, L&S want to make sure these photos never make it into the public eye. (Too late, as you’ll see.)

Supposedly, the publication of these photos — showing Pitt and wife Angelina Jolie with the kids — infringe not just on Pitt’s privacy rights in the State of California, but also in France!

Except, according to one understanding of the law, this is wrong. Oh, and also? In Touch already published the pics.

In the U.S., aerial photos of private property haven’t exactly been viewed as invasions of privacy. If those cameras are aimed through windows to snap pictures indoors, well then maybe. But outdoor pics? Less so.

In France, the rules are much stricter, as we’ve noted before. The French take citizen privacy, even for celebs, much more serious, and make it a crime to publish pictures without consent, even when celebs have limited to no expectation of privacy. Except the rules might only matter when the pictures are published in France; the photos, if snapped in France and published elsewhere, are generally un-actionable.

This isn’t the first, nor the last time we’ll see Hollywood firms like Lavely & Singer protecting their clients’ photo privacy. The bulldog law firm went down this road before when topless sunbathing photos of Pitt’s own ex-wife Jennifer Aniston surfaced. Perhaps forecasting where Pitt’s own matter will end up, most web publications pulled those photos.

Indeed: Bauer-Griffin, the paparazzi agency behind the photos that today’s Lavely & Singer cease and desist letter is about, has taken their pictures down. But not before selling them to In Touch. We can’t find the pics on their website, but anybody can find the 20+ pictures in this week’s issue, on newsstands now.

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