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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  I assist my clients with IP questions that arise in their daily course of doing business.
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A young woman took my picture for a photo project. I was reluctant to participate but si

Customer Question

A young woman took my picture for a photo project. I was reluctant to participate but since I was assured it was for private use and would not be reproduced, agreed. (I did not sign a waiver.) I was disturbed when I found that the finished photos were being exhibited in a local gallery - identifying me (and others) by name. I now find the photos have been reproduced (the subject's are again identified by name) and assembled in a book which is for sale. My privacy has been violated and my trust betrayed. What recourse do I have?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

I am genuinely sorry to hear that you are in this situation but luckily you have a lot of potential options for recourse.

To put it simply, if someone draws an image for you, or takes a pictures, that person can still claim and show that the work created was hers, use images of that work as part of her personal collage or curriculum vitae, or otherwise claim rights to the original work. However, it is still your 'likeness', which was not obtained with permission. As a consequence since this person is attempting to profit from your work, you can demand that he or she ceases to do so, or you will sue for copyright infringement based on this person taking your likeness without permission. What you have done is granted her a license, a personal license, for the work, but you did not grant her a right to use this image beyond that limitation.

Hope that helps.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I don't quite understand. The person is not attempting to profit from my WORK but from a photo she took of me - her work. I am a painter and know my pictures cannot be copied without my permission (and an additional payment!) and I cannot sell a likeness of a person without a release from them, which this woman did not have. This situation seems a gross invasion of privacy. Actually this is a picture of my back as I was painting a picture since I didn't let her photograph my face but she has identified me by name. Is this "attempting to profit from my work?" Is my likeness my "work?" Does the same law apply?

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your follow-up.

She is attempting to profit from your likeness. It is the same situation and same laws apply. She is attempting to profit from your likeness without permission, and since you can be easily identified by the work (by name, no less), you can demand she remove it or threaten to sue her for all the profits and earnings she obtained by showing that image, selling reproductions, and otherwise showing this work as hers.

Good luck.

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