Actions to take when your photo is posted online without your consent

On Behalf of | Apr 8, 2022 | Right Of Publicity |

The advancement in technology has made it easier than ever to take photos and share them on social networks in just a few seconds. It is also easy for someone to snap a picture with you in the background and post it online without your permission.

Seeing yourself on someone else’s online account may cause stress and discomfort, especially if they have not alerted you in advance. On most social sites, the images posted can be viewed by all users, so they can also share, comment, or like the picture.

If you are uncomfortable with the shared picture, you may want it taken down. While most people are able to resolve these situations amicably, in some cases, threats of a lawsuit have occurred when the original image owner refuses. Read on to learn what you should consider before filing a case against someone who has posted your picture online without your consent.

Common examples of others posting your photo online without your permission

If someone shares pictures of you online without your consent, pursuing legal action may be challenging. Below are some examples of when your images may appear online without permission and the best course of action you can take:

  • A friend or family member posts your image. Most of the pictures taken by your friends or family members are posted without harmful intentions. Therefore, the best action to take is to request that they remove any images you are uncomfortable sharing.
  • A stranger posts your picture. It can be challenging to file a lawsuit against a stranger who takes your photo while you are on public property. However, you may have a case if this person took your picture on private property.
  • A restaurant, bar, or event posts your photo. Managers of bars, restaurants, or events usually warn those attending that there is a chance that they will end up in images taken by hired photographers. If your photo was taken and uploaded online, you can contact management and request to remove the picture. If the image is used without your consent on any commercial assets, like posters or advertisements, you can seek legal action. 

Ways of claiming control over your photograph

There are three ways to claim control of your online pictures. They include:

  1. Defamation. To prove defamation, you have to show that the picture damages your reputation or displays a wrong or harmful impression of you.
  2. Invasion of privacy. In this scenario, someone takes a photo of you in a way that reveals private or embarrassing facts or casts you in a false light and posts it on social networks without your consent. This situation can qualify as an invasion of privacy, and you may have some legal remedies and gain control of the image.
  3. Right of publicity. Someone can violate your right of publicity by using your photograph for commercial purposes without your consent. In this situation, it is possible to establish a lawsuit against this person in an effort to regain control of your image. 
  4. Copyright.  If someone uses a photo of you that you took, you can enforce the copyright in the image that you own.