Sherrina Nur Elena bt Abdullah v Kent Well Edar Sdn Bhd

Kota Kinabalu High Court Suit No.: K22-187-2009-I

The Plaintiff, who was a beauty queen, sued the Defendant for publishing, without consent, her photograph and image appearing on packaging of the Defendants’ products, particularly packages of rice being displayed and sold in various retail shops, grocery stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets in Kota Kinabalu.

The Plaintiff also discovered that her photograph and image on the Defendant’s packagings appeared on a large advertisement board
located at Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The Plaintiff sued for for copyright infringement and invasion of privacy.

The High Court held that:-

  1. The Plaintiff’s action for copyright infringement fails because she is not the owner of the copyright. The photographs of her were created by organizers of events where she attended or by the photographers who took them. Therefore, she has no locus standi to initiate the action.
  2. In Malaysia, the law on the invasion of privacy has developed. It is desirable especially in this internet era of Facebook and YouTube where lives can be destroyed by such unwanted invasion of privacy.
  3. Although the Plaintiff is at liberty to sue the Defendant for invasion
    of her privacy, in the instant case the Defendant did not intrude
    onto private property and took the photographs of the Plaintiff
    without her consent.
  4. The photographs were taken many years ago by someone else at beauty pageants where she participated willingly as a contestant and in public. It was not a private affair on a private property. The photographs as exhibited were also not offensive.
  5. The Plaintiff did not complain then that she had been humiliated or ridiculed or scandalized by the photograph or image.
  6. From her affidavits, these pageants were reported and the photographs were published in the local newspapers. The particular photograph or image which the Plaintiff complained was an invasion of her privacy was also published in the book by the Sabah Tourism Board in 1992. It was reproduced by the Defendant on its products. These photographs are in the public domain and cannot amount to an invasion of her privacy.

[Full Judgement: Download]<

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