Saturday 12 April 2014

Who owns my image and what is the law on placing third party images on the internet?

Remove women who eat on tubes Facebook pageAsking social media lawyer

Although there is no current law in the UK that stops someone from taking your photograph in a public place, in many circumstances you have a legal right not to have the photograph published.

On what basis can I request Women Who Eat On Tubes or Facebook to remove my image from the internet?

You can request that Women Who Eat On Tubes or Facebook remove your photograph from the Facebook site on the basis of a right to the protection of one’s image which is enjoyed by all Europeans under European Human Rights law.
Because a person’s image constitutes one of the chief attributes of his or her personality, the law presupposes the individual’s right to control the use of that image, including the right to refuse publication. The right to protection of ones images is derived from Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights which protects one’s right to respect for private life.

What if the owner of the Facebook page Women Who Eat On Tubes claims that he has a right to publish my image under their human right of freedom of expression because they claim the page has artistic value?

Sometimes when a conflict exists between two or more human rights, one right has to give way. When a right to private life  is balanced against a right to freedom of expression, the right to private life often prevails. There has to be significant public interest for this not to be the case. An example would be to induce a public debate in relation to a mater that is clearly in the public interest.
Even then the published images must be capable of contributing to the debate as opposed to simply being sensational.

What if the owner of Women Who Eat On Tubes claims that because the photographs were taken in a place, the women featured have no right to privacy?

Taking photographs and publishing them are two different things. Just because one has a right to take a photograph in a public place, does not mean that they own the pictured individual’s unique characteristics and distinguished features. These are still owned by the pictured individual who has a right not to have them published under their right to private life. Individuals have a right to private life even in public places.

For example, a couple of years ago the Daily Mirror published an article giving details of the alleged drug-addiction treatment of a very well-known model. The article was accompanied by photographs, one of which taken secretly near the Narcotics Anonymous centre she was attending at the time. The court held that the model’s right to respect for private life was breached by the paper’s refusal to take the images down.
One of the reasons for this decision was that the photographs were taken covertly and without the model’s consent.
But even in a case where the photographs are harmless, the overriding consideration is not whether the photographs were harmful but the fact that the photographer had kept them without obtaining consent.
In many cases, photographs on Women who eat on Tubes are particularly intrusive some might find them demeaning. This significantly shifts the balance between a right to respect for private life and a right to freedom of expression, in favour of the former.

I want to remove my image from Women Who Eat On Tubes What do I need to do?

If you wish to have your photograph removed from Women Who Eat On Tubes, you should report it to the owner of the page and to Facebook using Facebook’s features or by formally writing to either or both.

By: Yair Cohen

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