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 – San Marino
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 not actionable.
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 distress damages.