The photographer had permission from us to use them for her website for advertising but she gave the photos ti thr wedding venue who posted them online and made brochures without asking us
It is likely that the Photographer owns the Copyright and has all rights. See Intellectual Property counsel.
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That will largely depend on what your agreement with the photographer says. More and more photographers are retaining most of the copyrights in the photos they take, and that will generally give them the right to use the photos as they choose.
Read your agreement, and if you have any doubts, then consult with a local attorney who can go over it with you and discuss your options with you.
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I do not agree with my colleague's general premise. First, you need to make sure you understand fully all the terms you agreed to that may be found in the written agreement with the photographer or perhaps on their website if this is where you entered into the transaction.
In general, while it is true that the photographer will typically maintain all the IP rights to those images, your express permission is usually required before someone can use those images to promote their commercial enterprise. For example, it is one thing if I take a picture of a pretty girl in a public park because she has a nice smile - no problem. It is entirely another for me use or to sell to someone else to use in their bus ads for their new brand of toothpaste.
The statutes and causes of action run state by state and as I see you are in MI I will link you to an overview of their law on the issue, but really urge you to consult counsel in private. In MI, I believe you would need to rely on the common law, which of course is open to judicial discretion. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
The answer is, it depends. Michigan has what is called a right of publicity, which covers the use or likeness of a person for commercial gain. However, your agreement with the photographer probably allows him or her to use your likeness in their advertisements.
The attorneys who have replied before me have covered the main points, which I will recap:
1) You need to understand the agreement you signed. It may permit the photographer to use your likeness. You should have an attorney review this for you.
2) Unless the photographer provided you a written assignment of his or her copyrights in the photographs, the photographer owns the copyrights to the photographs. Assuming that is the case, you will not have any recourse under copyright law.
3) If your agreement with the photographer did not permit him or her to use your likeness, you may have a claim that the photographer violated your right of publicity. The same attorney who reviews your agreement should be able to explain this in greater detail, including potential damages if you do have a claim.
This is general, non-specific information about Michigan laws or procedures. This is not legal advice tailored to you, and Michigan law may not apply to your matter. You should consult with an attorney licensed in your state if you are concerned about your matter. Further, this communication does NOT create any attorney-client relationship.
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