Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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I recently shopped at a large international clothes store with a premises in the UK. When I bought some clothes I was asked by an employee if she could take my photo for Research purposes as Head Office had asked for photos of this specific stores customers, I assumed that to be true. I agreed. The next day my photo was published on facebook on someones private account, someone I knew, knew the person who posted and showed me, It was there without any consent from myself. And while some of the comments are flattering the context and some of the comments are just plain creepy. Where do I stand!? I am not happy about this. Do you think I could get a free three piece suit out of the company for this blatant misuse!?

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Try posting this on a legal SE. –  J. Walker Apr 1 '12 at 17:32
2  
@J.Walker: There is no Legal.SE yet. There appears to be a proposal for one Area51, but it is not out of committment yet. Legal questions related to photography are entirely on topic here, as well. –  jrista Apr 1 '12 at 20:25
    
@Alex: It sounds like you might have a legitimate legal issue on your hands. First, I would contact Facebook and see if they can get the photo taken down. Next, if you are truly disturbed by the unauthorized use of your photo, you might want to contact a real lawyer. Internet-based legal advice is tough, as there are so many differing laws across a large and disparate group of regions. Not sure you can get anything from the company, let alone a free suit, but at the very least, you should be able to get your photo taken off of facebook. –  jrista Apr 1 '12 at 20:26
    
Yeah, even if the legal SE is still in area 51, you could probably still ask your question there. –  J. Walker Apr 1 '12 at 22:07
    
@J.Walker: You can't ask questions on Area51...that is a site solely for the purpose of proposing new sites, the listing for Legal there is simply a proposal, it is not a stand-in for an actual site where someone could get actual answers to an actual question. –  jrista Apr 2 '12 at 0:16

3 Answers 3

For a situation like this you are better off consulting a legal expert in your area than relying on advise from the Internet. Where I am there is not a lot of recourse. You were on private property and there is an implied consent.

I would start first by contacting the company and asking them to remove the picture. Starting the conversation by trying to solve the problem rather than being confrontational will usually work better.

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As I understand it (as a photographer, not a lawyer), if the photographer has the permission of the landowner to take a photo, they can; However, I would ave thought that under data protection legislation, your personally identifiable information can only be used for the purpose that was disclosed at the time (and this is why photographers liek models to sign legal releases to consent to their use); so they may have done something they shouldn't have, but you should consult a qualified lawyer if you wanted to take it further with them

There is advice specific to the UK, that was written by people with a better understanding of the law than me over on sirimo.co.uk

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Facebook are reasonably responsive to privacy issues which have the potential to cause them legal woes. If you complain to Facebook with a statement that the photo is of you and that it is being used in a manner that you did not authorise and that it was NOT taken in a public place then they will almost certainly remove it.

If you contact the original photographer and suggest that a complaint to her employer may cause 'problems' she will very likely arrange to have it removed from Facebook.

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