Is it legal for someone to print pictures off my facebook?

Asked over 4 years ago - Fort Riley, KS

Someone in my unit took a picture of me and my son playing and a picture of my son and another male and turned it in to show proof i was dating someone, it didnt work but i was wondering if she did anything illegal by getting on my page and printing off my pictures

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Daniel Nathan Ballard

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . It sounds to me like you're in the service [I spent some time with the Big Red One myself], you have Facebook page, and someone's out gunning for you.

    If that someone accessed your Facebook page then he or she was only able to do so because your settings are such that you allowed access. So the person very likely did not violate Facebook's terms of service agreement.

    It is unlawful, however, to right click and copy photographs if you do not own the copyright in the photographs. There are exceptions but none that come to mind in the situation that you describe. In short, if the person who right clicked and copied the photographs was not the person who actually took the photographs ["took" in the sense of using a camera to capture your image] then that copying is very likely unlawful.

    But there's unlawful and then there's unlawful. If I was your CO I would not want to hear your gripe about copyright infringement in response to whatever you allegedly did wrong. There's just too much to do in a unit. My suggestion is to stand tall and move on.

  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Whoever took the pictures is the owner of them and their copyrights and can do what they like with them, subject to the rights of the people in the photos, who have privacy and publicity rights.

    Privacy rights include the right to not have your image put in a "false light," so that the image misrepresents you in some way.

    Publicity rights, if your state has such laws, gives people and thewir licensees the exclusive right to exploit their own images for profit.

    It doesn't sound like these were your photos, but you didn't object to them being posted on your own Facebook page. Since your Facebook use includes your agreement to their terms of use, if you used Facebook's "everyone" setting, you allowed others to use the content. That setting "means that everyone, including people off of Facebook, will have access to that information and [Facebook] may not have control over what they do with it."

    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. James Juo

    Contributor Level 16

    Answered . Your statement that someone had "turned [the pictures] in to show proof" suggests that they were submitted as part of a court proceeding. If so, then it may be considered fair use under copyright law. The Copyright Office provides a more detailed discussion of fair use at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html. This response is for general informational purposes only, and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship.

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