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Use of my images on Facebook profile without consent

Matt Towells , Aug 03, 2008; 03:50 p.m.

Hi Guys

I’m after a bit of advice and I hope you can help. Last year as a favour to my sister I covered her friend’s wedding now the silly part on my half was not putting any agreement in writing (yes I know stupid and believe me I’ve leant my lesson the hard way on that one) verbally we agreed I would cover the day for which I was given a small fee (wanted to gain some wedding experience so money was not my incentive) and that once she had gone through the photos and picked the ones she wanted I would arrange for the prints to be produced and would therefore be able to top up my income for the day. The day went well the images were produced and given to my sister so the bride could pick which she wanted and get back to me. Since this point i have heard nothing, i have contacted her a couple of times and asked how things are going but she is still to arrange for any prints to be produced. Now to my problem. I have logged into facebook today to find that approx 20 of my pictures have appeared on her profile. I had never given permission for this and was never even consulted about this. And to be honest it has got my back up quite a lot. I don’t care about the fact she can’t be bothered to sort out her own album or the fact i haven’t made any more money from the prints but i don’t want my her using the proof images all across the internet where she feels fit.

As i don’t have any written contract etc do i have any power to get the images removed?

How would you guys deal with this kind of situation? Or has anyone experienced a similar problem? I thought i would seek your advice before i contact her about this so i can come from a more informed position.

Hope someone can help.

Thanks

matt

Responses

Mark M , Aug 03, 2008; 04:48 p.m.

Matt, by doing a favour for your sister's friend you have mixed family and business. My advice would be to take a step back and realize that you made the mistake of not approaching this professionally first be thinking of it as a favour, and second by not having a written contract. Consider it experience gained, move on, and don't make the mistake again. If you make a big deal of this, the only thing you will gain is having photos unceremoniously removed and antagonizing your sister. You can't have it both ways--she is either your sister's friend for whom you do favours, or she is a client who you approach in a professional matter. Blurring these lines leads to situations like this and it is almost impossible to un-blur them later without confusing and angering everyone involved.

Walt Z , Aug 03, 2008; 05:02 p.m.

Obviously, I don't know the bride, but given what you've said...

"...as a favour to my sister..." "...for which I was given a small fee..." "...money was not my incentive..." Really? "...and would therefore be able to top up my income for the day..." Ah! So she was going to pay, just not up front. Sounds kinda slimy... "I had never given permission for this and was never even consulted about this." No big surprise there. She paid you. As far as she's concerned, those are her pics of her wedding.

Sounds like she fulfilled her part of the bargain. You gave her the pics. Walk away. If she wants to make prints thru you, she will contact you. But given that she went with a friend's brother for the most important day of her life, don't hold your breath. She's probably already gotten her prints from W**Mart.

As I read your post, "Get it in writing" is just one of many lessons to be learned here.

Alec Myers , Aug 04, 2008; 05:02 a.m.

Hi Matt,

The information you want is on the facebook site here: http://www.facebook.com/copyright.php

Don't forget to post back in this thread and let us know which members of your family side with you, and which members with your sister's friend (and never speak to you again) especially if there's bloodshed. I do love a good family feud.

Alec Myers , Aug 04, 2008; 05:05 a.m.

Oh, and if you need more fuel for your fire of righteous indignation, don't forget about Facebook's rights grab where they insist that anyone who posts a picture on Facebook gives them full commercial reproduction rights in all media in perpetuity. You can read more about it here: (link)

Sleep well...

John H. , Aug 04, 2008; 08:26 a.m.

I agree with Mark and Walt for the reasons they stated. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. What will be gained here other that getting in to a power game of revenge or 'How dare you!' for being slighted. All you will get is turmoil. Yes, there is a lack of appreciation or at least understanding as to your services but consider the consolation that you will never let this happen again, You will implement image security procedures, contractual protocols and your clients will be better educated and you won't get screwed with respect to the bigger gigs when it really counts.

Remember this is a business matter. Don't get caught up in the emotions of getting your "back up". I see all too often people spending something like 20K to fight over a 10K dispute because they are angry. You have much more to lose here yourself even though it is not $$. Its not worth it.

Finally, there is a school of thought that one should avoid favor shoots for family and freinds. Some feel it is suitable under various circumtances. As to freinds and associates of these significant others, my view is that there should be an exceptional reason to go that far out of the circle. Its another, not worth it type scenerio.

Matt Towells , Aug 05, 2008; 03:11 p.m.

Hi, Thanks all for the advice and i think you’re all right. I will not be falling into that trap again and am better prepared for future work because of the experience. I’ll just have to chalk it up to learning the hard way. Cheers matt

Anne Almasy , Aug 08, 2008; 11:24 p.m.

Matt... just a thought... Facebook can be a GREAT way to market for wedding and portrait work. You may want to post the images online yourself, then tag the bride and groom in the photographs, and include a caption (and watermark?) with your website. If you permit "Everyone" to see the albums you post, all of the bride's and groom's friend will see these pictures and know you took them. Pretty sweet, I think. :) Wedding and portrait work is very different from commercial work, and I recommend a more relaxed, user-friendly approach toward your copyright and licensing policies when it comes to this sort of situation. :) Retain your copyright, but enable your clients to easily share their photographs with their friends. Word of mouth is the best way to get new business. :)

Theresa Skutt , Oct 29, 2009; 03:50 p.m.

Anne basically said what I was going to write. Should they have consulted you first, yes (manners), but now that it is done, see if you can get a leg up from it. Talk to your sister and see if she can be a go-between, because if they are happy with them and putting them up, at least you should get something out of it!

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