Disneyland rules are challenged

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 23 August, 2005, 12:00am

A leading consumer rights organisation and a legal expert have questioned conditions imposed by Disney on theme park visitors.

One rule, part of a package of regulations which was distributed to visitors during recent rehearsals at the Penny's Bay park, empowers the entertainment giant to use and reproduce any moving or still images or voices it records of visitors - for any reason.

Another absolves the company from responsibility for damage to personal property.

This rule states: 'We are not responsible for, and do not assume any liability for, any damage to or loss of the property or belongings of any guest, whether such damage or loss is caused by our negligence or otherwise.'

But Eric Cheung Tat-ming, from the law faculty of the University of Hong Kong, said the widely used disclaimer on property damage might not be legally binding unless it was supported with by-laws.

He said a court might rule that the disclaimer was unreasonable and could not be enforced. 'For those who are not familiar with Hong Kong laws, they might be misled into believing that the company can be relieved of any responsibilities,' he said.

A Consumer Council spokesman also said there might be some questions raised over the condition. 'If someone insists on claiming compensation, they can launch civil lawsuits against the company,' he said.

In contrast to Disney's explicit disclaimer, Ocean Park has a similar but less clearly defined rule that states the park is under no liability or responsibility regarding loss of any kind or damage to property. 'Having said that, we still offer flexibility to compensate if it could be proved that the damage is due to our negligence,' a park spokesman said.

A spokeswoman for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said the clause on photography by Disney did not violate protection of personal data unless it could be proved that Disney also had the intention of collecting other personal information.

Dr Cheung said the use of images taken in public places was a controversial subject as the law failed to address whether personal data should include imaging rights.

Friends of the Earth's environmental affairs manager Hahn Chu Hon-keung, who was invited to visit Disneyland on Sunday along with other green groups, said the rules were rather harsh.

A Disneyland spokesman could not be reached for comment last night.