Mainz Media Forum: Privacy Law and New Social Media – A Comparative Analysis

New social media, including social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, present considerable challenges for the protection of privacy. The social and legal issues were highlighted in Australia in late 2010, when a Melbourne teenager posted nude photographs of prominent Australian footballers to Facebook. The explicit photographs, which bore the caption ‘Merry Christmas courtesy of the St Kilda schoolgirl’, were posted as part of the teenager’s personal campaign against a football club. While the Australian Federal Court promptly ordered removal of the photographs, inevitably, the photographs were soon virally distributed to other Internet sites.

Although the case subsequently settled, this presentation will use the facts of the case to explain and analyse the issues that arise in protecting privacy in new social media under Australian law. As such, the presentation will explain how, in the absence of an action specifically aimed at protecting privacy, plaintiffs must rely on a range of other private causes of action, including breach of confidence, copyright and defamation.

The second half of the presentation will focus on recent proposals made by law reform commissions in Australia to introduce a new statutory tort of privacy, and on how these proposals have been met by Australian media interests. In reviewing these proposals, appropriate comparisons will be drawn with the position under German law.

Die Veranstaltung hat am 17. Juni 2011 in Englisch stattgefunden.


Professor Dr. Dieter Dörr
Direktor des Mainzer Medieninstituts, 
Universitätsprofessor am Fachbereich Rechts- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz


Dr. David Lindsay 
Monash University, Australia

Dr. Normann Witzleb
Monash University, Australia