The Canadian Globe and Mail has a story on how a UK court ordered parts of an unauthorised biography of singer Loreena McKennitt to be deleted.

The book was written by a former friend and employee of McKennit’s, Niema Ash, and apparently portrays McKennit unfavourably as a hard-willed businessman. McKennit claimed that she had not seen the book before its publication nor been able to offer comment on it, and that she had accordingly been forced to sue to suppress those parts which she claimed caused her distress. She sued to have 34 portions of the book deleted, apparently on the basis of either a violation of her privacy and/or for breach of confidence.

Mr Justice Eady allowed McKennit’s claim in part, ordering 7 of the 34 portions to be deleted. It is not clear on what basis McKennit was successful (the case does not appear to be online yet) but it seems to rest upon a privacy right at least in part. The story reports that Ash signed a confidentiality agreement during her employment, but the quotes from the judgment deal with Art 8 of the ECHR, which enshrines the right to privacy.

The story also states that Justice Eady found that “most of the material to which McKennitt objected was either trivial, anodyne, not intrusive or not inherently confidential, but nonetheless awarded the singer 75 per cent of the trial costs and £5,000 ($10,000 Cdn.) for ‘hurt feelings and distress’,” and that court costs “are expected to amount to more than $1 million.”

The case is interesting, especially if it does concern the privacy of an otherwise public celebrity, particularly when it comes to “exposé” type revelations.