Tiger Woods Gags UK Media; Alerts World To Nude Photos

from the yikes dept

It really was just a couple months ago that a ton of press coverage came from the ridiculous attempt by British oil company Trafigura to gag the UK press. All that did was turn what had been a minor story not many people were paying attention to into a huge story that everyone knew about. But what if the story is already huge? Tiger Woods (and we’d gotten this far without having to talk about him…) has apparently taken the same path as Trafigura and has gagged the UK press from writing about certain details of his personal life. Woods apparently had lawyers in London take action to get a court injunction against the press reporting certain things about his personal life — though, they’re still free to write about this ridiculous injunction, and they’re certainly wasting little time in doing that.

So what, exactly, is the UK press barred from discussing? Well, none of the UK articles say — obviously. But, since we live in the US, it’s not hard to find reports that say the specific injunction bars the the publication of any nude photos or images of Woods having sex. And, even though the court order states “this Order is not to be taken as an admission that any such photographs exist,” it certainly sounds like a very loud clanging bell announcing exactly that. And, of course, this means the race must now be on for various tabloids/celebrity gossip sites and the like to find exactly those photos and videos.

Given the Trafigura situation, though, would you think that someone in Tiger’s camp — or among his UK lawyers — would recognize how incredibly badly this would backfire? Not only does it continue to make the UK look like a laughingstock when it comes to freedom of the press and free speech, it only calls that much more attention to what, apparently, Woods would like to remain hidden.

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Comments on “Tiger Woods Gags UK Media; Alerts World To Nude Photos”

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Peter Banbury says:

Re: Re: Re: Privacy law in UK

It’s not the UK’s fault we have a privacy law! It’s because the European Court of Human Rights passed a judgement giving some privacy (to Princess Caroline of Monaco) – and the Declaration of Human Rights is part of our law, and like the USA we have a law system based on precedent, the judge probably had to grant the injunction.

So what do you criticise – human rights or your law system?

SpurredoninDublin says:

Re: Re: Re:

As a Brit who has happily departed the country of my birth, I have to agree with Anonymous Coward.

What makes Britain so preposterous, is that they are granting injuctions to prevent people finding out what the injunctions are about, but as they cannot control the Internet, those who know a little about the WWW, can find out in any case. It’s like shutting a door in a snowstorm, and then opening all the windows. That has to be srupid behaviour in anybody’s book.

What Techdirt has failed to mention is that the Trifigura case went even further than this. In that case, the High Court banned reporting that an injunction had even been obtained. Lawyers for Trifigura, successfully argued that if it was reported that an injunction had been obtained, people might think that their clients were trying to interfere with Press Freedom.

Think about it; an injunction was sought to inhibit press freedom, but the plaintiff than gets a second injunction to prevent reporting that they have obtained an injunction to stop the press, in case some thinks that they were trying to srop the press. Alice in bloody Wonderland!

The real point about the Trifigura case, was that if thsy stopped it being reported in the media that they had obtained an injunction, then nobody would know about the case, so they couldn’t look up the details on sites such as these.

Harry says:

In this case...

This is a little ridiculous to say that this will “backfire” on Tiger. There is a full court press on anything out there on Tiger, no matter what he does, there’s big money that will be paid off to make sure they get out in the public. I’m sure Tiger’s lawsuit isn’t what alerted TMZ or the Enquirer to the photos. They’ve probably been bidding on it for weeks. It’s basically impossible right now to call more attention on Tiger Woods. Good way to get an article in on something Tiger related though.

Rory Wellington says:

Tiger Woods Injunction

I live in the UK and like every other fellow citizen who values freedom of speech I have been trawling the US media sites to find out exactly what it is we are not allowed to talk about. I have even seen a full uncensored copy of the injunction.

The strange thing is that as often happens, issuing the injunction has had the very opposite effect of what was intended. Presumably Mr Justice Eady thinks that Twitter is a noise made by birds, and that the internet is something used by fishermen.

Oh and a big thankyou to the USA for showing some common sense in revealing the full details of this story.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

I’m sorry Mike, but I’m fairly certain that freedom of speech and freedom of the press were never meant to cover publishing naked/sex pictures of people who did not consent to having those pictures published. It makes a lot of sense that privacy laws would enable you to prevent rag-sheets from publishing your private information.

And, publishing random tidbits of Tiger Woods’ personal life is NOT just an expression of the right of the public to know. The “public” does not have a right to know about who sleeps with whom and who is flirting with whom and whose marriage is going how. I’m endlessly surprised and disappointed by the extent to which even supposedly reputable news channels such as CNN report on such stories. It is NOT news that you should talk about. It’s gossip on someone’s private life. If you absolutely MUST talk about it, 10-30 seconds is plenty of time to tell people that he had a mild car crash and suffered a minor injury. Bringing up the story day after day after day is just disgusting in my opinion.

And honestly Mike, do you really think that there would have been less of a buzz if instead of such pictures being covered by a gag order, they had appeared on the front page of whatever tabloid got their hands on them? (if they exist)

SpurredoninDublin says:

Re: 27

I tend to agree with what you say, except for the fact that he has made hundreds of millions of dollars because of his “clean image”.

Normally, I pity those people who must know all the salacious gossip about celebrities, whether they be A-list or Z-list, but if the public are being presented with an image that we should buy a product because “Mr Butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth” (not a reference to TW in particular)endorses it, and it turns out that the poster boy, is a drug crazed, psychotic, wife beating paedophile,
the it becomes a public interest story.

The real problem as I see it regarding TW’s right to privacy, is the distinction between what is in the public interest, and what the public are interested in.

If TW uses his public image to earn money, and that image is tainted, and that has yet to be established, then he can hardly complain, that the only image he wants the public to see is his good side.

As for the alleged photos, I assume if they exist, that they were taken with his consent. Once you agree to have your photo taken, unless you are pretty stupid, you have to consider that there is a real possibility, that one day those photos may come back to haunt you.

Michael (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“but I’m fairly certain that freedom of speech and freedom of the press were never meant to cover publishing naked/sex pictures of people who did not consent to having those pictures published”

Fortunately, the US Supreme court disagrees with you. Censoring information based on taste is a horrible precedent to create. If the freedoms of speech and press are to be worth anything, they need to be entirely unfettered.

As far as your opinion of what is news and what isn’t…well, that is your opinion. I agree with you that Tiger’s personal life is not news TO ME. However, most apparently, it is interesting news to a lot of people. The world seems to like to gossip. The public decides what is and is not it’s business whether you like it or not. Giving someone the power to tell the press what is and is not the business of the public is a recipe for horrible censorship.

Finally, if the pictures were found and published, there would be as much or more buzz about it than there is now. That seems like a big “if”. By getting the gag order, the public has basically been told that such pictures exist and every tabloid in the world has been set off on a hunt for them. It is probably only a matter of time before someone finds them now. Before the gag, there was a chance that the pictures would not come out and nobody would know about them.

Tony says:

National enquirer is just down. “Page unavailable/under construction”. If it’s being blocked it certainly hasn’t been done from the UK side (that would be impossible anyway – even if the IWF did it (which would be the end of the last shred of their credibility if they did) there are plenty of ISPs who aren’t in bed with them, including mine.

Jimr (profile) says:

I think that is the last thing I would like to see when I do a search for “Tiger Wood’s Club”, or “Tiger Wood’s Stroke”, or… oh the list goes on. I guess no more searches about Tiger Wood. So Tiger’s tactic of stopping me via fear of what I might find has put an end of my ‘Tiger’ searches.

I am sure there will even be tons of faked ones out there. I with the tabloids thirst and cash offerings some photo shop creative individual will do a smashing good job to create a passable fake.

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