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View Full Version : Legalities of posting nude pics of ex-girlfriends on the net


Church Key Kid
10-11-2002, 10:33 AM
What are the laws regarding posting nude pictures of your ex-girlfriend on the internet, assuming they are over 18? Any criminal laws? What specific civil laws would there be?

Eleusis
10-11-2002, 11:08 AM
If you took the photos, you own them and they were copyrighted the instant the light hit the film (or bits hit the disk).

You can do with them what you please.

Acsenray
10-11-2002, 11:17 AM
Sorry, you don't have the right to do with them what you please.

You might own the copyright in the work, but the person in being photographed by you does not give up her right to control the use of her image or likeness.

In the common law there are several causes of action that you might be liable for, including misappropriation (the use of a person's likeness or image without their permission), disclosure of private facts, and invasion of privacy.

Consult a lawyer before you do this. It's likely he'll tell you not to post them unless you get a signed release from your ex.

gus28
10-11-2002, 12:03 PM
IMHO, I think that it has alot to do with where they were taken. If it was on Bourbon St. during Mardi Gras, she has no expectation of privacy. If they were taken in her bedroom, that's a totally different ballgame. I'm not endorsing this btw, legal or not it is unethical.

Eleusis
10-11-2002, 12:12 PM
Cases like this are cropping up enough to get the attention of Congress, which partly addressed the issue of vengeful Internet postings in a 2001 piece of legislation called the Personal Pictures Protection Act of 2001. But the bill, which would outlaw the publishing of nude photos of a person without their consent, is still mired in House committees and may never see daylight.

Don't get mad, get a URL (http://www.cnn.com/2002/LAW/05/16/ctv.revenge.sites/)


"We are free to put them back on the site. It is up to judge to let the case go any further," said IEG spokeswoman Heather Dalton. "We bought the photos from [former Los Angeles radio talk show host] Bill Ballance and he had the copyright, which the court recognized."

Court OKs nude Dr. Laura photos (http://news.com.com/2100-1023-217407.html?tag=rn)

RealityChuck
10-11-2002, 12:25 PM
acsenray is correct. People have the right to control how their picture is used. That's why pro photographers have their models sign releases.

Even the Mardi Gras example can get you in trouble if you don't have a release. And even a release won't help if people find out you used their image without explaining exactly how (there was a case won by a couple who had signed a release and afterwards found out their picture was used with the caption "Even nice people get VD.")

Nametag
10-11-2002, 12:28 PM
In the common law there are several causes of action that you might be liable for, including misappropriation (the use of a person's likeness or image without their permission), disclosure of private facts, and invasion of privacy. That's commercial misappropriation, which means it doesn't apply to the case, and both it and disclosure are "invasion of privacy"; invasion of privacy is not a tort, but a class of torts.

And I suspect that Bill Ballance's copyright had little to do with IEG's victory in court; more important, I think, is Dr. Schlesinger's status as a public figure, and the press interest in pointing out discrepancies between her private life and her public image.

Finally, the fact that Congress hasn't passed this one federal law which would explicitly make such actions illegal does not mean that it's not already implicitly illegal under state laws or common law.

pravnik
10-11-2002, 12:49 PM
Merits of her case aside, can you afford a lawyer to defend yourself if she does slap you with a lawsuit? You might find out you did in fact have the legal right to do so a few thousand dollars later.

Acsenray
10-11-2002, 01:26 PM
The main fact that sunk Dr. Laura's case is that the photos had already been published. The court said that posting them on a Web site would not violate her privacy any more than it already had been.

The comment about the copyright was in regard to a claim by Dr. Laura that she owned the copyright; holding a copyright in a picture is not, so far as I know, a defense to a privacy claim.

Her status as a public figure sunk her right of publicity claim, not her invasion of privacy claim.

I haven't yet been able to track down the full text of the decision, but this is from the court docket --

ORDER by Judge Harry Pregerson denying Schlessinger's motion for preliminj.; the crt determined that (1) it is unlikely plf will be able to show ownership of the copyrights to the photos; (2) unlikely that plf will be able to show the likelihood of confusion req for her Lanham Act clm; (3) bec the photos are now public, plf cannot show that IEG's prospective posting wld violate any privacy rights; (4) bec of the newsworthiness privilege of the prospec posting, plf is unlikely to succeed on her publicity clms; & (5) plf's clm for intentional infliction of emotional distress is unlikely to overcome the 1st And protections of IEG's posting; these conclu shd not be understood to reflect the merits of plf's clms for damages for IEG's past actns (ENT 11/4/98), mld cpys & ntc (el) [Entry date 11/04/98]

ZipperJJ
10-11-2002, 01:35 PM
I can't believe someone on here hasn't asked to see said pictures yet, so they can give you their "professional opinion." :D

Happy Lendervedder
10-11-2002, 01:51 PM
Hey fatdave, can I see said pictures so I might give you my professional opinion?




Happy

Acsenray
10-11-2002, 02:34 PM
That's commercial misappropriation, which means it doesn't apply to the case

Of course to really know the answer to this question, we'd have to look up the law in fatdave's jurisdiction, but in perusing the Restatement (Second) of Torts, I don't see where in the common law misappropriation necessarily applies only to commercial use of a person's likeness --

652C. Appropriation of Name or Likeness
One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy.

Now, you could make the argument that "benefit" means "commercial benefit," but then you'd have to get around the "use or benefit."

Just for laughs, here's the Restatement's take on invasion of privacy torts --

652A. General Principle
(1) One who invades the right of privacy of another is subject to liability for the resulting harm to the interests of the other.

(2) The right of privacy is invaded by:
(a) unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another, as stated in 652B; or
(b) appropriation of the other's name or likeness, as stated in 652C; or
(c) unreasonable publicity given to the other's private life, as stated in 652D; or
(d) publicity that unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public, as stated in 652E.

652B. Intrusion upon Seclusion
One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.

652C. Appropriation of Name or Likeness
One who appropriates to his own use or benefit the name or likeness of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy.

652D. Publicity Given to Private Life
One who gives publicity to a matter concerning the private life of another is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the matter publicized is of a kind that
(a) would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and
(b) is not of legitimate concern to the public.

652E. Publicity Placing Person in False Light
One who gives publicity to a matter concerning another that places the other before the public in a false light is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if
(a) the false light in which the other was placed would be highly offensive to a reasonable person, and
(b) the actor had knowledge of or acted in reckless disregard as to the falsity of the publicized matter and the false light in which the other would be placed.

alex_arg
10-11-2002, 02:47 PM
I'm a perv. I just had to look for the Dr. Laura pics. Hail KaZaA!

Huerta88
10-11-2002, 07:41 PM
(1) Intentional infliction of emotional distress?
(2) Negligent infliction of emotional distress?

See the Texas case (Boyles v. Kerr) about the kid videotaping his girlfriend and showing it to his friends.

Church Key Kid
10-11-2002, 10:04 PM
Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps), it is not my ex-girlfriend. I did not take the pictures and I am not the one plotting to post them on the net. I was just asking for a friend. Although I'm sure he will still be kind enough to let me see them ;)

happyheathen
10-11-2002, 10:49 PM
Generally, if the subject was in the public at the time (i.e., if all you did was to photograph a public event *yes, I expect that there are bunches of exceptions*), you may publish the pictures.

Case in point:

A fellow attended the annual "Exotic/Erotic Ball" nee "Hooker's Ball" wearing the std next-to-nothing. Somebody put a picture of him at that event in a magazine. He sued. He lost.

I would not risk it - the personal connection would sink any attempt at defense (IMHO, IANAL)

Muffin
10-11-2002, 11:47 PM
If the pics are posted and the ex finds out, the poster might have to worry about more than just a lawsuit.

Bryan Ekers
10-12-2002, 12:09 AM
I'm with Muffin on this. In addition to potential legal expenses, one has to be aware of potential medical expenses.

handy
10-12-2002, 09:10 AM
The question is, why would you want to do it? Do you have any idea what happens to peoples lives when things like that happen to them?

Bryan Ekers
10-12-2002, 09:51 AM
Originally posted by handy
The question is, why would you want to do it? Do you have any idea what happens to peoples lives when things like that happen to them?

Yeah, you could end up on Jerry Springer telling an audience "Y'all don't know me! Y'all don't know me!"


The horror, the horror....



Seriously, it's a low-class, petty form of revenge and violating a trust of this kind make the poster look a lot worse than the girlfriend. Whatever one may think of Dr. Laura, her ex-boyfriend is a confirmed louse.

Eleusis
10-12-2002, 10:08 AM
OK, fair enough. I should prefaced my post with, "IANAL, but I am in the business of internet erotica."

Granted 100% of the (tens of thousands of) photos and videos I have published strictly comply with USC 18-2257 (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/18/2257.html), but I believe there is still a grey area regarding these specific right to privacy issues.

Can anybody provide cites of actual cases where an ex-lover was awarded monetary damages resulting from the posting of nude photos which were taken with a legal aged plaintiff's consent?

Eleusis
10-12-2002, 10:13 AM
should have prefaced my post

Acsenray
10-15-2002, 11:27 AM
I don't have specific cases and I'm really not motivated to go looking for them. To anyone who is in this position, I would say consult your lawyer, your pocketbook, and your conscience before you post nude pictures of someone without his or her permission, regardless of the circumstances in which the photographs were obtained.