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What are the fees for and who exactly is requesting them? Please can you also tell me how long ago this occurred?
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Using the photograph without your permission is indeed a likely copyright breach because the copyright will belong to the creator of the photo, i.e. the person who took the photo. The issue here is that unless it was a ‘selfie’ the copyright will not belong to you, but to the photographer. Therefore they will have the right to decide how the photo is used and they will have the right to pursue a breach of copyright. Just because you are the subject of the photo does not give you copyright protection over it, unless the photographer had formally assigned their copyright to you. Also a breach of copyright is not punishable by simply penalising the party in breach – the copyright owner can only pursue the party in breach for losses suffered as a result of the breach, such as loss of revenue for not paying a usage fee, etc. In these circumstances it is highly unlikely any such losses would have been incurred and even if they had, they would be nominal.
The other concern would be breach of data protection. This would only be relevant if the photo was already in their possession and they had a responsibility to use it for a specific purpose. So if they were given this photo by you when you started with them as part of the recruitment process and stored it whilst you were employed, but then they used it for a purpose other than the one they had originally obtained it for, that could amount to a breach of data protection. The issue however is similar to the one above – you cannot just penalise them for this and can only take further action if you have suffered losses as a result, they cannot just be penalised.
So you do have a couple of ways to raise this issue with them but in terms of actually taking action to get anything out of it the reality is that it would either be not possible or the damages would be minimal and possibly not worth pursuing through court.
This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have on taking this further and the steps you must follow, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Thank you. As mentioned it is unlikely that damages would be payable here unless you can show that some losses have been suffered as a direct result of the alleged breach. If they have and you wish to take this further, then whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:
1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.
2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.
3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.
Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.