More than 10 million Americans are victims of nonconsensual image sharing. In 2014, a hacker leaked racy photos of high-profile celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and Ariana Grande for the whole world to see. People have heard these stories, but they often do not know if this is legal.
That is where we can help. Image infringement is a crime. The Berman Law Group can assist you with this. For more information, keep reading for our guide on this subject.
A Photo of Me is on Someone’s Site. Can I Have My Photo Taken Down?
When you see a photo of yourself on a website, you may feel hurt, violated, and unsure. Keeping a cool head throughout the process is vital to ensuring that you get the result you want. Do not panic.
The first step is to make sure that the person in the photo is you. If you were at a club when the photo was taken, it is important to keep in mind that another person could have a similar outfit, hairstyle, or makeup. It may be a good idea to talk to your friends, and have them check the photo.
If you have a problem with the photo on the website, you can contact the owner of the site. Usually, you can find a contact us page or a similar service. Should that not work, try using a search engine to locate a phone number. A touch of politeness could go a long way. Simply asking them to take the photo down may work.
It might prove to be a good idea to document the photo. Knowing exactly what page it is on, where it is on the site and the exact nature of the photo will help. Screenshots can assist you in proving your case.
Legally Removing a Photo
You have the legal right to take a photo down for three reasons: invasion of privacy, violation of the right of publicity, and defamation.
Invasion of Privacy
This is when you are portrayed falsely and in an insulting manner. An example of this might be when a photo of you goes up on Facebook suggesting that you did drugs.
Another example of this is when someone is photographed when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. While this expectation is not present in a nightclub, your home is a private place.
Right of Publicity
Florida law protects someone’s name, portrait, photograph, and likeness. No business or person may use someone’s likeness for commercial purposes without their consent. The association of the name and photo with the business must be valuable and exploitative for it to qualify as illegal. Simply being depicted as part of the product is not enough.
Being used on advertising or promotional material may constitute an offense. Even if the image is not widely distributed, someone may have committed a crime. There is no need to copyright your own image.
Under this right, victims can sue for damages. In addition, a victim may seek an injunction. This means that they can legally demand that the photos be taken down. Part of the compensation may include royalties and punitive damages.
No one is allowed to photoshop a photo to create the wrong impression. If they have altered the photo, that may be grounds for a lawsuit and an injunction. Publishing a photo that is unflattering is generally not sufficient to provide grounds for a case. The picture must have been changed in some way, and make your community think less of you to qualify for defamation.
The Next Steps
It is a good idea to consult with a lawyer. They can tell you if someone has committed a crime, and if you have grounds to sue. An attorney can write a cease and desist letter, or a DMCA takedown notice. When worst comes to worst, they can also help you out should you want to sue. There are many tools to combat image infringement.
The Berman Law Group has experience with unauthorized use of photographs. If your photo has been used without your consent, you may have a case. Call us today at (800) 883-5206.