In the digital age, it’s easy to find and share photos and information about yourself and others. Viral videos and images spread quickly around the internet and often bring attention to certain products or services. But what happens if someone uses your image or name without your permission?
In the state of California, the unauthorized commercial use of your image, name, voice, or other likenesses without your permission – particularly for selling or advertising products – is illegal under the law.
If you learn that your image or information was used without your knowledge, there may be some specific reasons why you want to file a claim:
- You did not give consent. This is the primary indicator of whether you may have grounds to file a claim. If you did not explicitly allow a company or person the authority to use your image in a promotional campaign or other kinds of advertising tactics, you have the right to seek legal action.
- You want to protect your privacy. You have the right to protect your privacy, and that includes protecting how and if others use your image, voice, or name.
- You are receiving bad publicity. The media and the internet can be cruel. Unauthorized use of your image or name can bring you unwanted and negative attention. This can cause trouble for your personal and professional life, which you should be able to protect.
- You do not agree with the message. You may not want to be associated with the product, service, or view of the business or person who is using your image, especially if they go against your personal beliefs.
No matter the reason, you have the right to protect yourself from having your name or image taken without your consent. In California, you can sue for damages. Under the law, a successful claim could result in $750 for each unauthorized use. Actual and punitive damages could also be available.
There are other legal actions you can take as well, such as negotiating licensing agreements and securing court injunctions.
An experienced attorney can help you determine the best way to receive justice and potential compensation.