What should I do if a couple demands that I take their picture off my website but I have permission from the photographer? 2 Answers as of January 31, 2011

I used a photograph of a wedding couple on my website. The photograph was obtained with permission of their wedding photographer (I did not participate in their wedding). The couple contacted me demanding $500 to settle and not pursue any legal action for posting the picture on my website. Since the photographer gave it to me for the use of my website and took it off my website immediately, what should I do next?

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Devon & Associates
Devon & Associates | Marcia A. Devon
If the photographer were the owner of the copyright of the photograph, you may not infringe the copyright of the photograph, (under Federal law), but the couple has a separate right to control their likeness under California law. You were wise to remove it from your website once you were made aware that you did not have the couple's permission. Until they notified you, you reasonably believed that you had their permission since: (1) you obtained permission from the photographer to use the photograph and; (2) it was reasonable for you to believe he had taken care of all of the legal prerequisites when he gave you permission. At this point, I would wait to see if the couple contacted you again. I would recommend confirming the photographer's statement in writing, if you do not have it yet. You could consider responding in writing to the couple's demand, explaining your prior reasonable belief about their permission.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2011
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
The photographer has the copyright in the picture and he has allowed you to use it. No problem. However some states have privacy laws that give rights to the people whos photo you put on the web without their consent. I don't know what state you are in. I would either take it off the web of call a lawyer in your state.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 1/31/2011
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