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Understanding the ethical and legal constraints within the media

In this report I will be discussing my understanding of the Human
Rights Act 1998, Privacy Law and Copyright Law. These are all really
important as they give people rights and also keep them safer.
The Human Rights Act is a UK law that was passed in 1998. The
meaning of it being that you can defend your rights in the UK courts
and that public organisations (including the Government, the Police
and local councils) must treat everyone equally, with fairness,
dignity and respect. It gave people a freedom of expression.
The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film. The film
tells the story of a young girl who is possessed by a demon.The film
had courted controversy in the US where it had supposedly
provoked fainting, vomiting and heart attacks in cinemas. The BBFC
considered that The Exorcist was suitable for an X certificate to be
issued without cuts. As the BBFC's Secretary, Stephen Murphy, said
at the time, "It is a powerful horror movie. Some people may dislike
it, but that is not a sufficient reason for refusing certification''. The
film then went on to be put against other acts such as the Protection
Of Children Act 1987 and Video Recordings Act due to certain
scenes. The BBFC continued to debate whether the film was suitable,
within the meaning of the viewing in the home'. Therefore, at the
beginning of 1988, the video was removed from the shelves (after
nearly seven years of free availability) and was to remain
unavailable for 11 years. Despite the prohibition on the video
version, the film continued to play occasionally in cinemas, its
existing X certificate being replaced by a new 18 certificate - for
cinema release only - in 1991.
Privacy law refers to the laws that deal with the regulation of
personal information about individuals, which can be collected by
governments and other public as well as private organizations and
its storage and use. Privacy laws are considered in the context of an
individuals privacy rights or reasonable expectation of privacy.
The news international phone-hacking scandal is a controversy
involving the News of the World. Employees of the newspaper were
accused of engaging in pone hacking, police bribery and exercising
improper influence in the pursuit of stories. More than 4,000 people
have been identified by police as possible victims of phone hacking
by the NoW. The alleged targets have included politicians,
celebrities, actors, sports people, relatives of dead UK soldiers and
people who were caught up in the 7/7 London bombings. An
investigator working for the News of the World allegedly hacked into
the mobile phone of murdered girl Milly Dowler.Mark Lewis said
police told her parents that Glenn Mulcaire hacked into her

voicemail while she was missing. The Guardian has claimed he

intercepted messages left by relatives and said the NoW deleted
some, which gave her parents false hope she was alive. The claims
about Milly Dowler are significant in the overall phone hacking
inquiry, which has until now focused largely on the intrusion into the
private lives of celebrities.
The current act is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Rights covered. The law gives the creators of literary, dramatic,
musical, artistic works, sound recordings, broadcasts, films and
typographical arrangement of published editions, rights to control
the ways in which their material may be used.
Joe Satriani sued Coldplay saying they used substantial, original
portions of his 2004 song If I Could Fly on their track Viva La
Vida. Following Satriani's claim in December, Coldplay said in a
statement that Grammy-nominated Satriani, 53, "did not write or
have any influence on the song". "If there are any similarities
between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental and
just as surprising to us as to him," the statement said. Lawyers for
the band argued that any similarities between If I Could Fly and Viva
La Vida did not warrant damages. Although there is no evidence that
Chris Martin and Coldplay directly copied Satriani's song, court
precedents make copyright infringement cases very sticky.