Did you find photos on the Internet that were published without your permission and without your knowledge? Let's be honest: even photos taken with your consent can cause stress when they appear online. But if someone took a picture with you in the background or without first asking for your permission, you might be wondering, "Do I have the right to tell them to take this off?" Whether it's a photo at a bar where you're relaxing, a photo with bad reviews of you at work, or a family reunion with pictures of your minor children, photos taken and published without your permission can be worrying. You may want to download these images immediately. You may think that you can threaten the original poster with a lawsuit. The actions you can take depend on many factors. The article below lists some of the most important aspects to consider and can help guide you to a lawyer if you have a case.
In Most Instances, You Won't Have a Case
Unfortunately, while these photos on Facebook or other sites may be uncomfortable and frustrating, the poster is likely protected from legal action to remove them. The First Amendment protects their right to share the images they want.
A Friend or Family Member Posted Your Photo
If a friend or family member took the photo, your best course of action may be to politely ask them to take it down. Often, these images are taken on someone's private property (such as at their house) where they do have the right to take images of you. By agreeing to be on their property, you are giving them some rights to your presence. Also, suing them would likely result in such small damages that it may not cover the attorney fees needed to handle the case.
A Stranger Posted Your Photo
This can get complicated. If a stranger takes photos on public property, such as at a park or on a city street, you are giving your consent by being in a public area. If someone you do not know takes pictures of you on private property, you may have some rights according to the rules of the private property. If a stranger — such as a privately hired surveillance person or a nosy neighbor — takes pictures of you while you are on your own property, you may want to research invasion of privacy or speak with an attorney about the details. However, it is legal to take pictures of your house — such as pictures of your Christmas lights — if you are not in the photo.
An Event Venue or Bar Posted Your Photo
If the image was taken at an event, concert, restaurant, or bar, then the rules of the event venue or location may apply. Often these events have photo policies in place such as a bar crawl warning participants that they will have photographers taking event photos throughout the night. Sometimes, contacting management to take event images off their Facebook page or website may be enough. However, if the image is being used to make money, such as on a poster or event invite, then you may have some legal recourse.
Advertisements Are Using Your Photo
If you suddenly spot your photos on an ad campaign, print ad, or any online ad, then you should take legal action. You have rights regarding the “commercial use" of your image if a person or business is making money from your image.
Bad Comments or Content With Your Photo
There is a chance your image could be used to make fun of you, show you in a bad light on purpose, or be paired with cruel comments. You can investigate your state's laws on bullying, cyberbullying, libel, defamation, or false light to learn more.
Take action if you feel wrong about the photo
If you find your image or the way you are presented to the public inappropriate, then talking to our team of private investigators during the initial consultation is the best place to start. We will listen carefully to the details of the situation, review the case, advise you on the possible outcome of the case and help you decide on your next steps. The content of the images affects which type of service can best help you.
If there are any of the following situations, in any way endangering you and your privacy, please contact us, whether they are:
Images with minors or pornographic content
For images that include business or advertising
Photos were taken illegally or on your private property
For suing someone else for their photos for which they did not get your permission
Private Investigator Switzerland
T. +41 44 586 60 33