Rights of Photograph an Individual

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by bluetruth, Jun 14, 2007.

  1. bluetruth

    bluetruth TPF Noob!

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    I'm in a minor dilemna as I have located a photo of myself on the internet which identifies me by name and I am clearly identifiable. The photo is of particularly annoying since it discredits me as an individual; however, I am unable to have it removed. I have contacted the individual who posted the photo, and they have refused to pull it. I have contacted the social network responsible for hosting the photo, and they refused to pull it. Usually I would let something like this pass; however, with recent attention that social networking sites have been receiving I wonder how far I would have to go to get the photo pulled.

    1. There was no release form signed.
    2. The photo is visible to the general public if they navigate to it.
    3. I am clearly and unknowingly the center of attention in the photo.

    I live in the United States, specifically Florida.
     
  2. darich

    darich TPF Noob!

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    i think if it's a general shot that you happen to be in there isn't much you can do. But if as you say, the image is discrediting you then that's wrong.
    I'm not sure if it's defamation of character, or slander, or some other legal term but legally the photographer is in the wrong.

    I suppose it boils down to how much you want it removed because to do it, having already asked and been refused, i suspect you'll need a lawyer.

    you need to weigh up how much you want it removed in comparison to getting a lawyer to write to them.
    Alternatively you could send an email saying you've contacted a lawyer to see if that does the trick
     
  3. LaFoto

    LaFoto Just Corinna in real life Staff Member Supporting Member

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    We have discussed these things here on TPF several times before, though so far we have never had anyone who was "the victim" of some candid photography finding his photo displayed in the internet like that.

    What I have learned is that apparently in the States photos may be taken of anyone as long as the persons are in a public place, and can also be published as long as the photographer does not make any money out of this. (Rules are stricter in Germany but equally little enforceable, really).

    You may sue the photographer and ultimately even the social network provider, but you may in the end only lose money and not win anything.

    Though I do see where you come from, and I detected a photo of a person who I know (from sight) on the website of one of my daughter's classfriends (a crop on his face only out of a larger image which that boy had found elsewhere in the internet, and with a totally different context). That person shown is an elderly man whose facial features no longer go as "handsome" or "beautiful" in the common meaning of the word, and that classfriend of my daughter's put a very derogative word next to this crop of that man's face only, ridiculing the person.

    I got one glimpse of that and said to my daughter: "Oh my! I know that man! I know he is no longer 'a picture of a man' but still: that friend of yours must NOT put it up on his site, not like this, not just to ridicule him! He does not have the right!"

    Well, she saw my reason, e-mailed that friend, and he took it down, leaving a sentence in the pic's stead such as "Someone took offense out of that photo, so I took it down". Worked fine.

    Years ago, however, before the internet became known to the masses and useable for the masses, I had a boyfriend. We watched a documentary on TV on people on the dole (jobless people), and how some just do not WANT to get themselves back into the world of the working people and all that, and suddenly his face appeared on the TV screen, a real and true zoom-in scene from whole body (he was standing in front of a recognisable - by us! - shop window in my home town in a relaxed manner) to his face only, this bit of footage going with a commentary from the off on how some simply do not LIKE to work.

    He was outraged!

    But ... powerless.
    The programme had run and his person was brought in connection with "the listless jobless" (so to speak), even though he was working in a steady job at the time. No one had EVER approached him beforehand to even TELL him he had been captured on film by a film team. He remembered the day when he was waiting for his sister to come out of the shop behind him, it was a Saturday morning, when he was free ... but his protests were to no avail, and later - when only a lawyer could have brought things more foreward for him, he gave up...
     
  4. abraxas

    abraxas No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can you post a link to the photo?
     
  5. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    For the record (coming from an Australian law) I have posted many times before that there's nothing you can do. But this is different in 2 ways.

    1. If you can clearly show that this photo is defaming you in Australian and I think in the states you can not only get it removed but you could sue for damages.

    2. In Aus the photographer has the right to publish anything without a model release providing a) he owns the work (not contracted by someone), b) it isn't used for commercial purposes (specifically endorsing a product), and c) doesn't defame. HOWEVER at no time in Australia is anyone allowed to identify you by name without permission EVEN if the model has signed a release, unless a specific and unambiguous clause in the release form states the purpose of using the name. I am sure in America you have some similar law.

    Contact each party once more and threaten with legal action if the photo isn't removed, and if not then seek legal advice. I am sure the parties in question would soil themselves after receiving a letter with 2 names where the company logo is supposed to be :) Down here they wouldn't have a legal ground to stand on. Up there I doubt they do either.
     
  6. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    Any site is always a balancing act between desires of users and desires of readers. The site owners don't want to start arbitrarily removing things just because they might be marginally offensive and so you need to show them exactly what and why and how much it has affected you.

    Look at the terms of service of the networking site and see how the site deals with the issue of offensive material.

    Can you make a case that the poster has clearly breached the Terms of Service? ToS are written to defend the site against potential liability.
    If the poster is breaching the terms of service and the site allows it then they (the site) are in legal jeopardy.
    Point this out to them, the effects on you as a private citizen and mention lawyers, a potential suit, grounds for the suit and you will get more attention.

    This is the kind of letter that will/should be handled by in-house counsel so if you can find the corporate site and direct your letter (certified) directly to office of in-house counsel that will be most effective.


    Lew
    (former owner of small Internet company)
     
  7. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    As you have found out by now you are going to have to make it more profitable to take it down than to leave it.

    Gather all the particulars- web address, site host and so forth and go to your lawyers office. It shouldn't take more than a letter. If the lawyer doesn't have to do any research it should be inexpensive.

    Should a letter be unsuccessful, then it's likely that you have really ticked someone off and I would then suggest mediation between the two of you.

    mike
     
  8. RMThompson

    RMThompson the TPF moderators rock my world!

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    I think more detail is needed:

    Were you in a public place?
    How are they "defaming" you?
    Are the making money off the site/your picture? (this actually happened on Cafepress, a guy made tshirts with a picture of an old lady with no teeth, and sold them. The old lady was still alive despite the fact the picture seemed 50 years old, and she had them taken down since it had a deragatory intent...)

    The rule is, as stated, anyone can take your picture, and even SELL IT AS ART (people miss this all the time), without your consent, as long as you are not in a private area, the picture isn't of part of your private area that you are attempting to cover up and expect a reasonable amount of privacy (upskirts are illegal now, new law) and they aren't using your image for a COMMERCIAL or ENDORSING reason.

    They still can sell your picture as art, like street art, as long as they aren't using your picture as a spokesman or on an advertisement.
     
  9. Seefutlung

    Seefutlung TPF Noob!

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    RMThompson is on the money for general right to privacy in the US. If you feel the photo is a misrepresentation of yourself and/or the circumstances of the photo in question ... after you've exhausted all your one-on-one attempts you will have no other option than court ... so either sue them yourself or hire an attorney ... all of which will cost time, energy and money ... so it all boils down to how important this matter is to you. Good luck
     
  10. Hertz van Rental

    Hertz van Rental TPF Noob!

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    You have two choices - see a lawyer, which will cost a lot of money and probably get you nowhere in the end, or live with it.
    However, the way the question is phrased and worded inclines me to think that this is not a real situation but a purely hypothetical one that has been posted here to trigger discussion. Possibly as a form of market research to guage people's reactions, or someone is gathering data for their College homework :mrgreen:
     
  11. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hi Hertz, you could be right on the second, but on the first I think if you already have the particulars in order then it shouldn't cost more than a half an hour. The lawyer hears you out-takes about 10 min. and then they hand it to a paralegal to type it out and mail it. You might get charged $10 for stationary, but oh well. All together around $80. Cheap at twice the price if you are really bothered by it.

    mike
     
  12. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, two possibilities....
    1) if you know the person personally, send some bullies to beat him up and rethink. ... not good, gets you maybe into legal trouble


    2) tell the site owner you will consider legal action, consult a lawyer. if you say so, be prepared to do so. could get expensive depending on your country. this would not be the case where in the end the site is forced to remove the image.
     

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