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Is it copyright infringement to use pictures of myself that I found online from google search?

Los Angeles, CA |
Filed under: Internet law

Want to print photos of myself that I found on the web and use them to market a 'for-profit' event. Not sure if I am committing copyright infringement. The pictures are of myself and I have no idea who the photographer is. Found them from doing a google image search.

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Best answer

    The creator of the artistic product, the photograph, is the owner of the copyright, and use without permission would be copyright infringement. I appreciate the dilemma of not knowing the identity of the photographer in order to obtain consent or license to use.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. Yes, it is copyright infringement. The copyrights belong to the photographer.


  3. Copyrights belong to the photog. If he acquired the photo illegally then sue him.


  4. As my colleagues stated the copyright belongs to the artist, the photographer.
    You are confusing right of privacy with copyright.

    USPTO Registered Patent Attorney, Master of Intellectual Property law, MBA I am neither your attorney, nor my answers or comments in AVVO.com create an attorney-client relationship with you. You may accept or disregard my free advice in AVVO.com at your own risk. I am a Patent Attorney, admitted to the USPTO and to the Florida Bar.


  5. While it's normally true that the person who takes a photograph owns its copyright there are many, many situations [especially in Los Angeles] where the copyright is owned by:
    (1) the person's employer or
    (2) the company that owns the publication or website that bought the rights to the photograph [paparazzi typically sell all their rights].

    So if you want to copy and display a photograph of yourself you should first contact the publication where the photograph was published and ask whether they own [or just licensed] the rights to the photograph.

    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.


  6. In that case the answer is "maybe." As in "maybe you took them yourself and forgot" or "maybe I paid the wedding photographer but he gave me a license to use his photos," etcetera. You should be able to trace the photographs by clicking the Google image and going back to the web page it originated from, then conduct some research about the photo in the normal course -- email the owner of the website if no attribution is given. Find out who took the picture and ask permission to use it, or risk getting sued for copyright infringement.

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