July 30, 2014

Splash settles with five-figure sum over celebrity family images

Celebrity photo agency Splash have paid a five-figure settlement after singer songwriter Adele Adkins took them to court for photographing and distributing images of her two-year-old son Angelo whilst on his first family outing and his first trip to play group in June and November 2013.

Here’s the ‘Statement In Open Court’:

My Lord, in this action I appear on behalf of the claimant, Angelo Adkins. His parents, Adele Adkins and Simon Konecki, have taken legal action on his behalf against Corbis Images UK Limited trading as Splash News and Picture Agency. Corbis Images UK is a well-known photographic agency which carries on the business of procuring and acquiring photographs of well-known individuals and their families, including from paparazzi photographers, which it then sells, licences or syndicates onto the media, or otherwise exploits or distributes for commercial gain.

As a world famous singer and songwriter, Adele accepts and even embraces her public profile. She is extremely grateful to the public and press for their support in helping her achieve international acclaim.

But she is emphatic that her two-year-old son Angelo is not, and must never be, “public property”. It is a matter of profound sadness that many of his milestone moments, such as his first family outing and his first trip to play group, were photographed and published worldwide expressly against his family’s wishes. Adele and Simon never encourage such photos. Quite the opposite.

This lawsuit concerns certain photos of Angelo with Adele which Corbis Images UK made available for publication in the English press. The parents’ view is that these images were of routine, everyday family occasions which the paparazzi has no right to intrude upon, profit from and file away in picture libraries for future reference and use.

In the interests of settling the dispute amicably Corbis Images UK Limited has offered to pay damages and legal costs to Angelo and has also agreed not to use the photos at issue again.
Corbis Images UK Limited has also confirmed the names of the paparazzi, not employed by Corbis Images UK Limited, who took these photos. Schillings have written to these men explaining legal action will be taken if they photograph Angelo again in circumstances that breach his privacy and/or violate his rights under the Data Protection Act. On this basis, the claim is withdrawn against the Second Defendants.

Adele and Simon are pleased this matter has been resolved. They continue to do all they can to protect Angelo’s rights in relation to the paparazzi, including taking legal action where necessary. They will be holding the damages on trust on behalf of the Claimant for this purpose. They will also continue efforts to improve the laws relating to paparazzi and children generally, building on the successful campaign Adele helped fund in California resulting in far stricter harassment laws.


Jenny Afia, Partner at Schillings, comments: “Being in the public eye doesn’t mean your children are public property. Our laws provide full protection against the paparazzi and more parents should make use of them. These images were taken during private, recreational time unconnected with professional or public engagements. They represent a clear infringement of our client’s right to privacy. As this case shows, taking photos can be as intrusive as publishing them. This case also emphasises a dividing line between celebrities who strive to keep their children out of the spotlight and those who make them part of their brand. The children of famous parents are not celebrities. The law can, will and should protect them.”

• Nothing in from Corbis or Splash yet.

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