Introduction: Most people do not like getting their photos taken by people they do
not know. But what happens when your name or photo is taken by someone
and then used to promote their business?
Question: Dear Mr. Cheng, I am a movie star in Taiwan and my image to me is everything.
Recently, my picture was taken at an event. They used my image and said
that I was a supporter of the product, which is not true. My picture was
subsequently used and now people think I sponsor the product. How can
I make them stop their unauthorized use of my picture? Crystal –
Answer: Dear Crystal, one does not need to be a movie star like you to have a
claim for Invasion of Privacy. Invasion of Privacy is allowed when a person
or organization uses your name, voice, signature, photograph, or likeness
in any manner, on or in products, merchandise, or goods for purposes of
advertising or selling without prior consent.
You must prove is that the wrongful use was connected with advertising
or commercial sales. You must also prove that you did not give consent
for the advertisement. And you must also show the amount you have been damaged.
However, if the picture used has more than one person you must show that
they specifically singled you out to use you. For instance, a person at
a sporting event cannot claim that the picture used violated their rights.
Another example is if you were in the audience of a stage production and
happened to be photographed for use in their future ads. That is also
If you prove to the Court that you have been harmed you are able to get
any profits of the illegal act, punitive damages, attorney fees, and emotional