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I posted a picture on Instagram of me and taylor swift and the photo was shown on e news and without my permission.

Lynchburg, VA |
Filed under: Internet law

Is there any way I could get any compensation for my pictures?

Attorney Answers 3


If you are in the picture, then who is the photographer? First, review the Instagram user agreement. There is an argument that the picture was found on website open to the public or that the picture was newsworthy, thus no compensation. I'm not sure, there is a need for investigation and legal research.

The response to this question is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. Mr. Seifeldein has responded based on the limited information provided by the inquirer in this forum. There is a Statute of Limitations applicable in every case and Mr. seifeldein strongly advises that the inquirer seek legal counsel immediately for a complete evaluation of the matter.

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Very, very doubtful. There are only two bodies of law that could apply: Copyright and right of publicity law. Copryight law does not apply because you're not the photographer and so do not own the copyright in the photograph. "Right of publicity" law likely does not apply because the companies that published the photograph did so for purposes of news and comment on a matter of public concern [nearly everything to do with public figures are matters of public concern]. So, no, you very, very likely have NO right to be paid money just because you happen to be in a photograph that was published online.

The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and should NOT be relied upon to take or refrain from taking any action. I am not your attorney. You should seek the advice of competent counsel before taking any action related to your inquiry.

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I completely agree with my fellow attorneys. I would only add that Instagram's Terms of Service give Instagram certain rights to use your photographs. For example, Instagram's Terms state:

"By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly ("private") will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services."

This is a rather broad license and its possible that it applies to your situation. However, like my colleague stated, any rights in the photograph belong to the photographer. Unfortunately, it does not appear that you have any claim.

Alexander Montgomery
Cornetet, Meyer, Rush & Kirzner

No attorney-client relationship implied or accepted without a signed fee agreement. This response is theoretical only and for purposes of discussion. Attorney is not liable for any opinion expressed herein. Attorney is licensed in Ohio only.

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