09 July, 2008

What Would You Do?

UPDATE: Still no response back from the store owner as of 4:20 pm so now I'm on the hunt to give her a ring. I'll keep you posted!

So here's the story...

Somewhere along the line I forgot to mention that my best friend here where I live in Somewhere, SE, Cresta, moved away. She ended up moving NE of Atlanta to the Buford/Suwannee area. Yes I've been miserable and no I don't want to talk about it because that's not the point.

The point is, this morning Cresta forwarded me an email from a cute little gift shop very close to where she lives. The email was an advertisement for all their adorable monogrammed goods (and Scout bags too!) with a 10% off coupon. GREAT! What's not so great, is that they used a photo of MY CHILDREN on their advertisement. I've never in my life been in this store, and it is a photo that I personally took of my boys at OUR BEACH, so how the hell did they get this photo??? True, it is a photo of the back of them running down the boardwalk outside the beach house in their adorable little Strasburg jon-jon's holding hands, but still. My children. My picture. NOT my approval for usage.

I sent the owner a polite email asking her how she would have gotten that photo and explaining that they are my children and that is my personal photo. I am waiting to hear back from her, as to where and how she got one of my favorite pictures of my children to use for her store advertising. In the mean time, what would you do?

25 Comments:

J said...

Wow, that is quite bold. I guess I'd just wait to see how she responds. Any person in their right mind either offer to pay you or stop using the photo. (Or both for that matter.) Are you okay with her using it if you were compensated?

Prep-E Girl said...

I would be very upset. Something like this happened to me once. I used to work at a ski resort in Vermont while in college. One day, the PR guy was taking photos of the office and took one of me on the phone with a customer. A few weeks later - there I was, on their website with the caption "Call Us For More Information!" I was a little peeved that a) they put such a terrible photo of me on a website for everyone to see and b) they didn't tell me that they were using it - let alone compensate me for my image.

When I asked the PR guy about it he told me that there was nothing to be done since allowing my photo to be taken was (apparently) me giving my "permission" to use it. I was pissed!

Now, I know your case is a little different than mine - but, you're reaction is valid. HOW did they get your childrens' photos? And, more importantly - WHY would they assume that it was okay to ultize the photos in an advertising campaign.

If they don't contact you immediately, you may be best consulting a lawyer. I believe that this is a definite case of invasion of privacy.

-E

Monogram Momma said...

well, I don't know if I'm okay with it. The reason why is that there are only 2 ways she could have gotten that photo: 1) I put it on my blog 2 years ago and she stole it from there (which I don't know if it's even on here) or 2) it was forwarded to her somehow by a freidn or family member of mine who would have gotten emailed the Shutterfly photo book 3 years ago (but that is a long stretch b/c I don't have any family or friends in that BUford/Suwannee area other than Cresta and Kristi). In either case, she would have known for a fact that was my picture and they were my children and should have asked my permission. So the sneakiness of it bothers me. But again, I'm anxiuos to hear how she got it...

a. said...

I am sure she thought it was cute and "lifted" it from somewhere like you mentioned. I would give her the benefit of the doubt but it was sort of irresponsible to use it in an advertisement. I think you did the right thing by e-mailing her but there isn't much that can be done since the e-mail was sent out to her customers...is it on her website as well because that would be a situation where you could ask her to remove it ASAP. I don't see why she wouldn't remove it at that point, they are obviously YOUR childen!!!

M.A. said...

That is bizarre! You are right to be confused. I am interested to hear the rest of this story!! Can you imagine walking by a store and seeing a picture of your kids or you in the window? Weird!!

DBN said...

I would NOT be alright with it at all. Do you have pictures on Flickr? People are always stealing pictures off of Flickr and using them for their own purposes. The fact that the owner is using a picture of minor children without the parents permission is worse. Hopefully she didn't pay a third party site for a stock photo... if the third party site stole your photo and is making money off of it, you may have a cause of action against the third party site. (Istockphoto is an example of a third party site.) If it were me and I got no response I would draft an actual letter and send it registered mail. If you have an attorney friend, have them do it for you.

KK said...

WHOA! That is wild.

I can't wait to hear how she responds and how she got the picture in the first place.

I think if you aren't comfortable with her using the picture, tell her.

ps...I live in the John's Creek area if you need me to go lay the smackdown. :)

The Hoodies said...

Wow! I would not be happy at all either! I would personally feel violated and peeved--to say the least.

I would also demand she stop using it, but at the same time the email has gone out and who knows who has it by now. I think that part would anger me the most.

Please update us when you discover how she has it. I guess I also can't understand how anyone can use someones else's photo and feel ok about it. I can uderstand if it is a stock photo and you pay for it, etc, but to use a photo that is personal and private I have major issue with that.

Ok, I am rambling because I am annoyed....shutting up for now :-)

TCP said...

Wow, I would be upset about that too! It just seems somewhat...violating, I guess. Personally, I would want it taken down. Could they have found it via google images or something like that?

Pink Flamingo said...

I, personally, would be outright livid. Regardless of how she got her little paws on the picture, it is shady. She should have had the decency to ask your permission…after all, your children are in the photo. I, agree, it is complete invasion of your privacy and that you should somehow be compensated.

Kerry said...

I am going to be the odd one out on this one but I would probably be honored and would allow the owner to use the photo. BUT that's just me and I 100% completely understand why you feel like your privacy was invaded... after all HOW did she get the photo??!

Candids by Courtney said...

First of all, regardless of who is in the picture. You took it, and that picture is sole ownership of YOU!! It was probably innocent on her part, never in a million years did she think that the person who took it would ever find out about it, but at the same time she needs to know that what she did is ILLEGAL. I wouldn't bother writing her, but get her on the phone and nicely explain the situation, and she either needs to STOP using the photo or give you some sort of photo credit. If she continues then unfortunately you've already contacted your attorney and you're going to move forward.

My two cents take it for what it's worth.

Muffy said...

That is SHOCKING! I would feel very violated. It's one thing if it was a picture of you, but your CHILDREN?!?!?! I would call my lawyer and have them sent a cease and desist order right away. Keep us updated.

Kappa Prep said...

What a horror! I would be so upset! I mean what nerve this store owner has. I hope this gets settled, please keep us informed.

Mom x 2 said...

You did the right thing. Wait to see how she responds. Are your kids identifiable? Like the photo shows their faces?? If so, I'd be really upset. If it could be any kid in the world, I'd be less so. Regardless, she should honor your request and take the photo down.

lisagh said...

I think this is HORRIBLE and as soon as you hear from her you should insist it be removed. Not only does it infringe on privacy and safety, but it's outright theft of intellectual property.

They should know better.

Please keep us posted as to what happens.

Jamie Willow said...

any chance your shutterfly permissions make it searchable online? I have searched pics galore for my blog and all the time things come up from personal sites and such. just a thought. I'd check and make sure the places you are storing pics aren't searchable. Blog pics are I believe. So the post you did 2 yrs ago might be coming up in current searches if the key words are just right.
It will be interesting to get a response from the people using it and see what the real story is.
I'm not sure what rights to privacy people have when posting things on the web. I have a friend who works for a magazine and if people are in public arena's there is no expectation of privacy, just by your being in a public arena you give up the right to privacy. Very interesting.
Good luck!

five tomatoes said...

That's really creepy. I've been in promotional materials for my college and law school before but was always asked to sign a waiver, and I've also been in them for work and campaigns, but I was informed that any pictures taken of me could be used to promote the candidate. I think what really bothers me about this is that it's for a commercial purpose - if you don't hear back from her shortly I would recommend contacting an attorney for at least an initial consultation.

Leslie Ann said...

Tell her money talks or she can speak to your lawyer.

P said...

I would definitely make contact with this person, if nothing else just so she would learn from and understand that there are consequences to this kind of thing! It's just wrong!

Amber Lee said...

MM,
If you don't explictly copyright the photo then nothing can really be done, honestly. This is why several people put up creative commons licensing statements and why using something like a pro flickr account is a good idea. You can semi-protect your photos.
In the end, this is the internet. What you post is going to eventually be used without your permission. It's how chain emails are created, you know?
And it's why none of my poetry or papers are posted to the internet, as of yet. I'm still fine tuning my copyright statement.

Amber Lee said...

Oh PS. Don't listen to the lawsuit comments. Sueing is SO un-Christian.

regan said...

MM, you do not have to copyright the photos for others to ask your permission to use them. Especially since the store owner is using them for press materials/profit. You might not be able to sue her (although not because it's "SO un-christian" but because this is uncharted territory in the law.) I'm a photo editor and have worked for magazines online for years -- whether it's legal or not, it's BS. She owes you an explanation and should acquiesce to your wishes. Let us know what happens!
-Regan from Sharp Lily

Warlocks89 said...

Did you have the photos on flickr? Best to read their policy on photos, especially if you didn't specify a license type for your photos.

Eat, Drink, & Sleep Preppy! said...

I think you handled it the right way. What a compliment to you that she wanted your image but, at the same time it didn't belong to her.