On September 14, 2020, the Supreme Court made a ruling by which it decided to reject Allan Gary Oolo’s appeal in cassation.
This means that relevant litigation has reached its conclusion with Estonian courts deciding Oolo’s reproach to Katrin Lust and the TV show “Kuuuurija” to be unfounded.
The decisions made in this case are of significant importance for every journalist. The dispute was remarkable in many respects. The dispute concerned the issue of whether and how it could be insinuated that Allan Gary Oolo was not a ‘doctor’ as well as the manner in which works created by other persons and images and the personal data of such other persons may be used in the press.
“The dispute was remarkable in many respects. The county court analyzed a number of legally complex issues on 42 pages and the district court in its turn confirmed and supplemented the county court’s reasoning. The dispute concerned the issue of whether and how Katrin Lust could insinuate that Allan Gary Oolo was not a ‘doctor’ as well as the manner in which works created by other persons and images and the personal data of such other persons may be used in the press,” Lust’s counsel Maarja Pild and Karmen Turk commented on the action.
Turk says that the courts first found that the press could have the right to use material protected by copyright without the author’s consent and without paying relevant fees. “The press itself must be diligent and attentive in making sure that aforesaid materials are used “as much as necessary and as little as possible”.”
“Second, it was considered whether or not the press had the right to use personal data if the person had disclosed such data about themselves in the past. The courts’ answer to this is affirmative. Again, the journalist must always consider here whether it is necessary to use personal data and whether the requirements of the Code of Ethics are complied with as well as that relevant use is not excessively burdensome,” the counsel explained.
Third, the courts also emphasized that the plaintiff should not rely on what they deduced from the context, i.e. putting words in the mouth of a journalist. The topic of a judicial dispute can indeed be only that which has in fact been published. “This conclusion of the courts is more important than it first appears to be – namely, a number of important media disputes in Estonia in recent years have not really concerned that which the journalist actually published but, rather, that which the applicant sought to take as the meaning of the publication being read. This is not the right approach, which is why the courts’ decision is of great significance to the Estonian press.”
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