You Need to Own the Copyright in Order to Allege Copyright Infringement

You Need to Own the Copyright in Order to Allege Copyright Infringement

     One of the most common things that we see as copyright lawyers is a scenario where someone is depicted in a photograph doesn’t want that photograph posted on a website. Sometimes it is a photograph of a person in a provocative situation. Sometimes an ex boyfriend, girlfriend, or lover has accessed a photograph and posts it on a website.

     The first thing a qualified copyright lawyer is going to do is determine who really owns the copyright to that photograph. Typically, the copyright is owned by the person who actually takes the photograph. So if you didn’t actually snap the picture, you may not have credible copyright claims. If however, your employee took the photograph, and they took the photograph as part of their employment, you in fact may have copyright clams. If you have a work for hire agreement in place with the photographer, then again you may have copyright claims.

     If you don’t have appropriate copyright claims to use in order to take down a photograph from a website, you may need to go in a new direction. If the picture is of you, you might be able to claim an infringement of your name and likeness for commercial purposes. Misappropriations of name and likeness claims are not as clean cut as copyright. You will need to speak with an Internet law attorney in order to understand what kind of leverage you might be able to use in order to get a photograph taken down from a website which you don’t want posted there. There are a variety of websites such as the “Dirty.com” which will happily host and upload a naked picture posted by your boyfriend. You need to understand all of the various options before trying to have the photograph removed. These websites are extremely sophisticated and understand when and if they need to do anything to help you out.