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CalAttorney2
CalAttorney2, Attorney
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Satisfied Customers: 10244
Experience:  Civil litigation attorney for individuals and businesses.
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Can someone use your photo in a book to be published without

Customer Question

Can someone use your photo in a book to be published without my knowledge
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Intellectual Property Law
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

Dear Customer,

It depends on the ownership of the photo. In general, photographs belong to the photographer, exceptions exist when the photo is commissioned or licensed by someone (including photos paid for or licensed by the subject to the photo).

Other exceptions would be photographs that are taken of individuals that would invade an "expectation of privacy" (so if the photographer had to use some device or means to take a photo through closed blinds or see into a bedroom/bathroom/etc.).

A more difficult legal issue arises when a person's photo or likeness is used to sell a product (such as a book) - this invades the person's "right of personality" (the right to make a profit off of one's own reputation). This is a more difficult cause of action and is still being developed, but it does create an issue - but simply using a photograph alone does not usually create a basis for legal action. (some plaintiffs are more aggressive than others, but generally these plaintiffs tend to be very famous individuals that can show that the use of their likeness or photograph has a marketable interest or value).

Outside of some exception like this, there would not be any prohibition of using a photo.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The picture of me is with a famous person. He has passed an his mother have me in the book about him. That still don't make a difference?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My picture in book an she making money off it
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

You can try to file a cause of action, but the famous person's picture does not give you any additional rights.

Your cause of action would have to be based on the person's book being sold due to your photo being in the book, not merely your photo being in a book that is being sold. (So your identity/recognition/reputation must be a tool that adds marketing value to the book).

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
that's nothing I should pursue? Because he was a HUGE star.
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

The huge star has a cause of action based on their "right of personality" but their interest does not transfer to you. (The fact that you were in the same photo does not create a legal right or cause of action for you to pursue).

But keep in mind, all we can offer here is general legal information, if you believe that there may be something specific to or special about your situation or claim, it may be worth speaking to a local civil litigation attorney to discuss your case. Most civil litigation attorneys offer low cost or free consultations, and they can review the facts of your matter and offer you a formal legal opinion (as opposed to the general information we can provide you with here), but based only on what you have posted, I do not see a cause of action.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you
Expert:  CalAttorney2 replied 1 year ago.

You are welcome, and I do wish you the best with this matter.

Thank you for using our forum, and please do not forget to rate my service (the series of 5 stars next to the chat window) so that I can receive credit for assisting you.

If you would like to direct future questions to me specifically, you can do so by starting your new question with "For William B. Esq." and a moderator will notify me.

Thank you again, and again I wish you the best.

Bill