We live in a world where most of us have a camera on our phone and enjoy whipping it out to document the moment. Whether it's a selfie with friends or of your evening meal, photographs are an integral part of our lives.
But with all of us snapping away, the question of privacy is brought up. What happens if you catch a stranger in the background of your picture and post it online?
What happens if one of your pictures ends up in the wrong hands and a personal or private image is posted without your consent?
These can be very distressing times, and you feel violated but also helpless. What can you do? Can you sue someone for sharing your picture without your consent? Has a crime taken place here? Well, it’s what we are here to find out!
Keep reading to have all your questions answered and find out what can be done if your picture is posted without your consent.
Can you sue someone for posting a picture without your consent?
Yes, in most cases, you can sue someone for posting a picture without your consent. Suing someone for posting a picture without your permission, though, is usually the last resort. First, contact the person who posted the picture and ask them to remove it.
Whether it's a picture you took and they haven’t given you credit for, or it’s a photograph of you that you don’t want to be posted online, your consent should have been given before the picture wound up online.
We know that’s easier said than done; friends might not ask which photo they can upload before hitting ‘post,’ but we all should actively do this.
If it's simply a picture you don’t like, then asking them to remove it is the best bet, and you usually see a simple resolution. Posting a picture without your consent is a violation of your privacy and can violate your right to publicity.
If it was a company or a brand that shared the photo without your permission, they won’t want a legal claim against them and usually will delete the picture, or in some cases, blur you out so you cannot be identified.
However, if the picture is yours and they have used it without your consent, rightfully, the image is yours, and there can be grounds for a case here.
Legally, the picture is yours, and your consent should be given before it is shared with the public, whether it's in a group chat or published on a company's website.
If the picture is defamatory in any way, you also have the grounds to sue the person who posted it. For example, if your photo was shared of you without your consent and it appeared as though you were shoplifting and you weren’t, this can be seen as defamation of character.
There are grounds for a legal case in these cases, and you can sue someone for this. To be successful, the photo must falsely show you and cause others to think less or negatively of you.
If you think you have a case where you can sue someone for using your picture without your consent, be sure to consult a lawyer who can offer you tailored advice on your situation.
Can I sue someone for using my picture?
Yes, you can sue someone for using your picture! These laws can vary from state to state, so be sure to check this before filing your claim, but you will find in most states it is the grounds for a legal case.
You will find that using someone else's name, likeness, or attributes, including photographs, without your permission for exploitative purposes can make the basis of a legal case.
For example, if someone was using your picture to scam people, you can sue them. After all, it's you people think they are speaking to and could land you in hot water.
You could also sue someone for using your picture if they are using it to catfish someone else. We’ve all seen the shows and know that other pictures are used, and if it happens to you, keep a record of it so you can press charges!
Also, if a brand or company uses your name or picture without your consent during an advertising campaign or promotional activity, you can sue the company.
Say, for example, your photograph was used by a personal trainer or weight loss company, and you had not used them. Not only can they be sued for using your image without your consent, but they can be charged with misinformation and false advertising.
If this has happened to you, please seek legal advice to sue those responsible.
Can someone take a photo of you without your permission?
While they shouldn’t, people do take your photo without your permission.
Sometimes it's an accident, and you find yourself behind a smiling group of friends at a restaurant or a tourist attraction.
In these cases, you can ask the photo owner to delete it or blur you out to protect your identity.
In these cases, it's probably accidental, and as people are allowed to take photos in public areas, legally, there is little you can do. As we mentioned earlier, if these photographs are defamatory, then you can take legal action.
Generally, we would say that it is not okay and often illegal for people to take your photograph without your consent.
It can be classed as a violation of your privacy, and you can take legal action, especially if that photograph is defamatory or shared without your consent.
There are some murky areas, though. If you are on someone else’s property, generally, it is the property owner’s consent that you would need before taking photographs. If the person has a right to be there, they can take your photo without landing in hot water.
However, if the image violates your privacy or is used to break other laws, such as to harass or stalk, then you can make a claim and sue the taker of the photograph.
This would apply to a partner taking a personal picture of you and attempting to use it as a form of harassment or blackmail. These instances can be extremely distressing, and the law is on your side, be sure to report them.