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Do You Have A Right To Sue Someone Who Used Your Photo Without Consent?

by Layla Bryant

Jennifer Love Hewitt, an actress known for her role in "I Know What You Did Last Summer," filed a lawsuit against a company promoting a product called Slim Spray for using her celebrity status to promote it without asking her for consent. The company promoting the product had a picture of the celebrity holding onto the product. If Jennifer had grounds to sue the company using her picture without her permission, does that mean you would too?

Put Yourself in Her Shoes

Picture yourself flipping through a magazine or browsing the Internet when you find a picture of yourself used in an advertisement. Naturally, there are some people who would find this flattering and some who would find it infuriating. If you are someone who would not be thrilled to be in this situation, here are two legal options you have.

Legal Option #1: False Light

You have the option of filing a false light lawsuit if there is a photo of you that displays you in an unflattering or misleading manner. One example of a false light lawsuit involves a case with a Georgia teenager who sued a school administrator for using a picture of her wearing a bikini that she had posted to Facebook. The administrator was using the photo in a social media presentation as an example of why you should be careful at posting pictures online.

In a false light case, your personal injury lawyer would need to prove the picture of you was taken and shown by a third party in a negative, offensive, or embarrassing manner.

Legal Option #2: Appropriation of Likeness

Jennifer Love Hewitt's case is an example of an appropriation of likeness lawsuit. Legally, companies do not have the right to use your image to promote their product without permission. In this situation, you would need to prove that you never gave this company consent to use your image as a marketing tool. It is important to keep in mind that some states do have their own specific laws and rights when it comes to appropriation of likeness. A personal injury lawyer like Connor Law can help you better understand your rights in this situation.

Regardless of where you live, your pictures are your pictures. Putting your pictures online is a risk, but it does not automatically cause you to lose all of your rights to them. No one is allowed to just take your picture and do whatever they want with it just because you posted it on Facebook.