A website is using pictures of me without my consent. What can I do? Are there any laws that protect me here?

A website run by a former friend of mine has been using pictures of me for several months now. I have never given the owners of the website explicit permission to use these photos. I have sent them several emails asking them to remove the content, but they refuse to do so. Their only action to these requests was to list me on their "special thanks" page. I do not want to be given credit for anything, however. I just want my images to be removed.

Does copyright law protect people from having images of them used without their consent? Since I never signed a release form, is the photographer the owner of copyright for these photos? What can I do to stop this invasion of my privacy?
Answer:   Copyright laws do not protect you because you are not the photographer.

It is not illegal to take someone’s picture without their consent. In fact its not illegal to take a picture of someone and then post it online without their consent. However it is illegal to sell or use a picture of someone for financial or personal gain. This is what you would have to prove to win a lawsuit. If they used the picture to promote themselves and if they gained anything from that, you would be entitled to a portion of their gain. Usually professionals protect themselves from this by having the subjects sign releases.

Also if the picture is being used in a defamatory way you may also sue.

In reality these types of cases are hard to prove and usually aren't worth pursuing unless you have substantial evidence.

There are currently many laws being looked at to govern new media including post pictures and other works on the internet, but really technology is moving faster than the legal system.

My advice is to talk to your friends again about it. Maybe send a well thought out letter. Really if its just a site with a bunch of goof ball pictures then get over it.
Yes, talk to a lawyer, if they dont have your permission and you never signed a release to let them use the images you have a case. This has happened to me several times.
No, copyright is granted to the person who took the picture. Did you pose for these shots, or were they taken without permission? Generally, a photographer can use pictures like this on a website without your permission. However, if he is selling them, you may be able to take action.
Not unless your image is copyrighted before the pictures are "taken", not used.
Copyright laws protect the creator of an artistic work, such as the photographer who took the photos. If you are not the owner (in a copyright sense) of the photos, then that doesn't help.

There may other ways to sue them in tort, depending on what the photos depict, where you were when they were taken, who took them, and whether (and to what) you consented.

But those are complex questions, and the laws vary by state, so you'd need to consult a licensed attorney in your area.
That is defiantly WRONG!!! Contact a lawyer. You can sue!!! Or at least tell them that you contacted one and that if they dont remove them you'll be forced to sue. Good luck baby!
It is generally quite difficult to force anyone to do, or stop doing, something on the internet. That said, most website hosts have some rules about how people may use their webspace, like no harassment, copyright infringement, racial slurs, pornography, etc. I would suggest contacting the host and letting them know that someone is running a website with pictures of you without your consent, and is invading your privacy - and any other details necessary. They may be able to persuade your former friend to remove the pictures, or shut the site down.

If you need information on who the site host is, you can check http://www.betterwhois.com

Then you can either contact them directly, or check the host website first to see what rules and policies they have.

In response to legal action that's been suggested.... it would be nearly impossible to get a lawyer to take up a case like this and come out of it successfully. Been in the same situation myself, and dozens of lawyers could not or would not do anything.

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