Erroneous light If the photo is being used to show you in a false or unpleasant light, you may be able to sue for false light. For example, a Georgia adolescent whose Facebook bikini photo was used without her consent by a school official during a social media safety training filed a false light lawsuit against the district. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding her $15,000.
Privacy laws Generally, you cannot sell or use another person's image without their consent. This includes photos taken in public places like streets or buildings. You also cannot take pictures of other people without their consent. If you post photographs on social media and they fall under the category of "public domain" images, others can download them for free. If you are worried about someone using one of your images without permission, contact the website or service where it is posted and ask them to remove the picture.
Copyright law A photograph is protected by copyright and can be copyrighted as soon as it is taken. Once you have copyrighted a work, you can do whatever you want with it - including giving it away for free. However, if you post an unedited public domain image on social media, others can reuse it for their own purposes.
Fair use Under U.S. copyright law, there is no general rule that allows anyone to use copyrighted material without permission from its owner.
Can You Sue If Someone Uses Your Photo Without Your Permission? Opening a magazine or perusing the Web and finding a photograph of oneself might be rather startling. And, although some may be gratified by the increased visibility, others may be less than delighted. Whether the subject of the photograph is a celebrity, a political figure, or just someone who has had their picture taken by someone else, there are those who believe that they have been infringed upon by having their image stolen. In fact, there are cases where people have sued over photographs even though they were not famous or prominent, but instead were in ordinary situations like walking down the street.
Photographs are often very sensitive materials that capture only certain aspects of what is happening or being presented. This can lead to false assumptions being made about events that never happened or things that were said that weren't meant to be heard. For example, a woman may think that her husband loves only her when in fact he also loves his other wife who he met while married to the first wife. Or, she may believe that he doesn't love her at all when in fact he does but has issues with monogamy. These are examples of how one person's perception of what happens in their life can be different from that of another person. Since photos capture moments in time, they can also reveal secrets about our past that we would otherwise be unaware of.
If someone uses a photo of you without your permission, they may be violating your copyright or the ACL. You should first try to address the problem by contacting the infringer. If that fails, you can file a formal complaint or send a stop and desist letter. For example, an image library might have different levels of permission to use images from its collection. If you don't want an image used in one way, but another way was needed, you could ask the owner of the image if they would be willing to sell it to you instead. This way everyone is happy and you get what you wanted.
Copyright law allows anyone to sue for copyright infringement, even if they aren't directly being harmed by the act of copying. So if you see something that appears to be infringing on your copyright, it's best to take action immediately.
The person who copied your image might not know that they are breaking the law by doing so. So it's important to notify them that they are violating your copyright and give them time to stop the activity before filing a lawsuit. However, if you cannot reach an agreement with the person who violated your copyright, you can still file for damages. The court system will decide how much money you should receive for your image.
If someone is using images of celebrities without their permission, they might be able to claim that they are "fair use" cases.
Although taking a photo of you in public is not an invasion of privacy, if the individual takes a photo of you in your house and then posts it on social media without your permission, you have legal remedies. This form of action may also be classified as defamation by an attorney. Defamation is the act of publishing something derogatory about another person that causes them to lose reputation. For example, saying under oath that you see someone in a court of law would be considered defaming that person. Defamatory statements can be spoken or written. Intentional interference with contractual relations is when one party to a contract intentionally does something to prevent the other party from performing their end of the agreement. For example, if I agreed to paint my friend's house and did so successfully, I wouldn't be liable for any damages done to the house during the painting process (except for any necessary repainting). But if I used caustic chemicals during the painting process that caused the house to need extensive repairs, I would be responsible for covering those costs.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress is another common term used to describe what happens when one person acts intentionally to cause others severe emotional pain. For example, if a husband watches his wife being beaten up by several people and doesn't help her, he has inflicted emotional distress on her.
Defamation: In order to establish defamation, the photo shared by someone else on a social networking platform must disparage you. For example, if another person shares a photo of you at a party with alcohol on the table, that would be considered defamatory toward you.
Privacy: If the photo shared by another person violates your privacy, you have the right to sue for damages. The extent of this right depends on how much information can be gleaned from the photo; for example, if the photo shows only a portion of your face, it cannot be used to identify you so there is no cause for action under California law.
Public Figure: Under California law, a private person who posts a photo of another person on social media is not liable for defamation unless they know or should know that the photo contains false information about the other person. But if you are a public figure or celebrity, then the First Amendment does not protect you from defamation claims related to comments made about you on social media. A public figure can still seek recovery for false statements, however.