Can a photo be used without your permission?

UPDATED: Aug 11, 2011

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Can a photo be used without your permission?

I recently attended a small local pageant where a reporter posted as a mother and then published a story in the paper and used photos of the children;the faces were blotted out. I’m wondering if legal action can be taken against this reporter as my son was one of the photos used and I did not give permission for this?

Asked on August 11, 2011 Alaska


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The First Amendment to the Constitution, Freedom of the Press, protects the right of the press to report on a newsworthy event and take photos.  The First Amendment outweighs privacy concerns in this case. 

If this had not involved Freedom of the Press and had just been a person taking pictures without your consent and selling them, you would have a case for invasion of privacy.  Invasion of privacy includes the appropriation of one's name or likeness for commercial purposes.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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