PCC reject Rowling home address complaint

Details of Harry Potter author's house already in public domain, Commission rules

The Press Complaints Commission has rejected a complaint from JK Rowling under Clause 3 (Privacy) of the PCC Code against three newspapers which had published details of where she lives.

The Harry Potter author had, through her solicitors Schillings, complained about stories in the Daily Mirror, Daily Record and Scottish Mail on Sunday reporting on her purchase of a property neighbouring her existing home. The stories in the Daily Record and Scottish Mail on Sunday had been accompanied by photographs showing long distance views of the area, with the two properties circled. The Mail story included the name of her home and of the new property.

The Commission rejected the complaint, noting that “the complainant’s ownership of her Perthshire home, as well as the name of the property, the county in which it was situated and the town it was near, were in the public domain to a considerable extent… Not only had this information been published in the media, it also appeared in considerable detail on the internet, including on the Wikipedia website, where the complainant’s home even had its own entry as a dwelling of some historical note. Restraint upon further publication of the information would… serve no purpose.”

The Commission also said that the articles and photographs did not, on a close examination, reveal the precise whereabouts of the properties, indicating that care had been taken to abide by former rulings over the publishing of exact addresses.