Can I sue someone if they have pics/video of me on their website without my permission

Asked almost 5 years ago - Charlotte, NC

An ex friend has a webite including video of me. The video is of me doing chorographed routines with a group...I am no longer with the group and do not want to be on the video. I never signed anything stating she had permission to put me on the website. In addition the video was only supposed to be used on YouTube. I dont want my face or choreography being used to benefit a group that I am not in. They website is for her personal and financial gain. I have asked her numerous times to take it down and she refuses....can i sue?

Additional information

I was told b/c the video was taken with my camera/memory card...I own the copyrights to the video. And b/c the intent of the video was not intended to be used on a personal website I can sue...is this true?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Unlike Attorney Robinson, I see NO basis for you to demand that the video be removed.

    This is certainly the case under copyright law because you do not own the copyright in the video [not having taken the video and, therefore, not being its author]. You cannot, therefore, avail yourself of the very efficient DMCA take-down notice procedure -- and would be monetarily liable if you use it anyway.

    As for the forced removal under your right of publicity, the facts you present suggest that you explicitly authorized publication of the video [it "was only supposed to be used on YouTube."]. The fact that the video is published on your former friend's website [who, I'm assuming, was also in the musical group] is, to me, a minor matter and, in fact, I think you likely impliedly consented to publication in ALL reasonable venues to promote the group -- or, if the video has been published there for some time, have acquiesced to such publication.

    These type of personality squabbles are motivated by emotion and ego rather than reason and economics. If you have an economic incentive to demand removal of the video then by all means hire an intellectual property litigator to evaluate your claim. If not, then you must tread lightly because you may, in fact, be overstepping your rights if you demand removal of the video.

  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . I agree wtih Attorney Ballard. Being the owner of the memory card of the camera used to shoot the video does NOT make you the author or copyright owner of the video - whoever actually shot the video is the owner and is the only one who has copyright rights.

    I also agree that your state's publicity rights law very likely would not give you any rights to claim violation, where you admit you did consent to be in the video and for it to be published on YouTube, even though you now say you don't want to to be in the video.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Theodore W. Robinson

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You have a right to sue them to take the video down. Contact an intellectual property attorney who is local to you for further advice on how to go about it and what it will cost you to sue them.

    Good luck.

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