What can I do if a picture of mine is in an ad for a dating site and I am not a member? 4 Answers as of November 21, 2013A dating site has stolen my facebook picture illegally and is using it in advertisements. In the facebook third party agreement, it states that it does not give any ad networks the right to use your picture in ads. I was never notified, asked for consent or notified. I took the photo so I own the copyrights. I have also never ever belonged to the dating site or any site affiliated with it. Like I said, the picture they are using is my facebook picture. My safety, I feel, is in danger. If anyone can google image searches that picture they will find my facebook and real name and whereabouts. I've already received friend requests from people who I don't know. It was a major ad. Anytime anyone logged out of facebook on Sunday, the ad was immediately displayed for girls. It was a female ad and for males it was the female version with my image. Several people I know saw it. On top of all that, I am NOT single. It's defamation of character. I'm in a serious relationship, of a couple years. My boyfriend and I have both contacted the dating site in an effort for them to remove the advertisement. My friends and family have already seen it, it's embarrassing. The dating site hasn't gotten back to either of us. I contacted them on Sunday and still no word. I want to know where to go from here. What are my legal options?
Bay Oak Law | Andrew K Jacobson
You have several different claims that could be pursued in court, but the first and most important thing is to get the photo off the website. One way to do that is to make a Digital Millennium Copyright Act claim, because they are using your copyrighted photo without authority. If they do not cease using it quickly enough, the website can be directly liable for damages. If the photo has been taken in the last 90 days or so, you should consider registering your photo's copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office, because that could bring additional awards. If none of that works, a lawsuit could be done, for defamation, violation of your publicity rights under Cal. Civ. Code 3344, copyright infringement, and what is called "false light" presenting a picture that portrays you in an untrue circumstance. You should consider discussing this with a lawyer in your area as soon as you can, because a lawyer can be a big help right now. Many lawyers give free half-hour consultations.
Answer Applies to: California
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
You have both a copyright infringement case and an invasion of privacy case. Your best bet is to contact an attorney as the site appears to be ignoring you. Your attorney will send out a "cease and desist" letter on his or her letterhead that the dating company can't ignore and then follow up with legal action if necessary. You can also contact the ISP that hosts the company's web site and file a complaint.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Lawyer for Indie Media | Sue Basko
My experience is that you have to aggressively demand the photo be removed from their database, until it is. The pictures are likely auto-generated from a database depending on location or other cues. You need yours removed from the whole database. This can take persistence.
Answer Applies to: Illinois