Friday, October 12, 2007

A website is stealing my pics, what can i do?

I never set my facebook and myspace on private, and my boyfriend said he saw my picture being used as an advertisement on a porn site...It's not a nude picture, but I am exposing my navel with a short shirt and wearing a skirt -- nothing bad. I want my picture down immediately..Can I message them telling them that I'll sue or something? I'm 17.

Answer on A website is stealing my pics, what can i do?

There are two facets that you can sue them for.

First is that they are using your image without your consent. That is considered an invasion of privacy.

Second, the copyrights to that photograph belong to whoever took the picture (you if it was a self portrait or your friend if they took the picture). Them using your (or your friend's) material is an infringement on your copyright.

You would be well within your rights to sue them.

That being said, it's not really that easy. The laws they're violating only apply within the United States. If they're set up somewhere in Eastern Europe, the laws aren't going to apply to them. These kinds of businesses routinely steal other people's pictures and proliferate them. They don't care about the law. They just collect whatever subscription fees they can and then move on to the next scam/porn scheme they come up with. Your likelihood of getting any money out of them is slim. It will end up costing you more money than you'll get.

Because they don't think you'll be able to get any money out of them, they're likely to ignore any threatening letter you write them. If you do want to send them a letter, I would recommend having an attorney write it for you. But that's going to end up costing money.

Since you're under 18, you do have some protections in the law and might be able to get some assistance from your local district attorney's office. But these are the same people who are busy going after murderers and rapists, so having embarrassing pictures being used by porn sites isn't going to get a whole lot of attention from them.

The only time it'd be worth it is if they've got a big legitimate name behind them, for instance, playboy, girls gone wild, etc.