In this article we are going to analyse the recent judgement of the Supreme Court sentencing Mediaset España 15,000 euros to an amateur boxer whose image was used without his consent to illustrate a story about an inmate beaten to death in prison. of Soto del Real by another boxer nicknamed "Chato" or "El Nene". The judgment considers that there was unlawful interference with the applicant's fundamental right to his own image and honour, by falsely associating him with the perpetrator of the criminal acts and causing him serious personal and professional harm.
Background to the case
The facts date back to 2018, when television channel Cuatrowhich belongs to Mediaset España, issued on its midday news a report on the murder of an inmate in the Soto del Real prison in Madrid, as a result of the beaten by his cellmate, who happened to be a boxer muay thai fighter known as "Chato" or "El Nene". To illustrate the news, the television channel used footage from a boxing championship in which the complainant participated.which had nothing to do with the event, and which had been uploaded to the platform. Youtube by the complainant himself. The report showed the complainant's image for four seconds, without pixilation or blurring of his face, and identified him as the boxer who had committed the murder.
The complainant, having become aware of the broadcast of his image, brought an action against Mediaset España for infringement of his rights. rights to honourto personal privacy and the right to own imagerequesting that his identity details, images and all references to him be removed from the series and that he be ordered to pay the costs. 50,000 euros in compensation for damages.
L'Hospitalet de Llobregat Court of First Instance no. 6 upheld the application and declared the existence of an unlawful interference infringement by Mediaset España of the applicant's right to honour and to his own image, ordering it to pay compensation 50,000, plus interest, and to publicly acknowledge the mistake made.
Mediaset España appealed the judgment before the Barcelona Provincial Court, which partially upheld the appeal. and reduced the compensation to 10,000 euros.The Provincial Court held that the plaintiff's right to honour had not been violated, but only his right to his own image. The Provincial Court held that the news broadcast was of general interest and that the plaintiff's image had been obtained from a public source such as YouTube, so that there had been no unlawful interference with his honour.
The applicant brought an appeal on a point of law against the judgment of the Court of First Instance. before the Supreme Court, alleging that the Audiencia Provincial had infringed the Articles 7.5, 7.6 and 7.7 of Organic Law 1/1982 of 5 May 1982 on the civil protection of the right to honour, to personal and family privacy and to one's own imageby failing to recognise the infringement of his right to honour, in addition to his right to his own image.
The Supreme Court ruling
The Supreme Court upheld the appellant's appeal and set aside the judgment of the Audiencia Provincial, finding that there had been a unlawful interference with both the applicant's right to his own image and his right to honour by Mediaset España.
- The complainant's image was used without his consent to illustrate a news item that had nothing to do with him.The fact that he was the perpetrator of a murder, creating the false appearance that he was the perpetrator of a murder, brought him into obvious personal and professional disrepute and disrepute.
- The complainant's image was not ancillary, but appeared as the protagonist of the information.He or she is easily recognisable and immediately and logically associated with the alleged offender.
- The complainant's image was taken from a totally unrelated context and detached from the news story.It was used for a completely different purpose for which it was not necessary.
- The fact that the complainant's image would have been uploaded on Youtube did not imply a waiver of his right to his own image or an authorisation to use it indiscriminately, but rather should be assessed from the perspective of societal uses and the context of public access to content.
- The news broadcast had no public relevance. or social justifying the interference the applicant's right to his own image and honour, since it was not a question of a public figure or a matter of general interest, but of a morbid and sensationalist event.
- Interference on the applicant's right to his own image and honour caused non-material damage which should be compensated in an appropriate and proportionate manner, taking into account the seriousness of the interference, the dissemination of the news, the audience of the media and the personal and professional damage suffered by the applicant.
Victory for the boxer
The Supreme Court ruling is an important precedent for the protection of the right to one's own image and honour. of individuals whose fundamental rights are violated by the misuse of their images by the media. The judgment establishes the criteria for weighing up the right to information against the right to one's own image and honour, and sets a reasonable and dissuasive compensation for cases of unlawful intrusion. At Honoralia, as experts in online reputation management and the right to be forgotten, we welcome this judgement and we are pleased to announce that we are pleased with it. we offer our services to help individuals and companies in similar situations to that of the plaintiff, defending their rights and removing negative content that harms them on the internet.