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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 47367
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I am employed and I also have a self employment. A 'friend'

Resolved Question:

I am employed and I also have a self employment.
A 'friend' on Facebook who was a client accessed a personal photograph of me and used it without my permission on his Ltd Co website claiming I was a staff member. He has since removed it but I do have an email from him admitting to it and apologising.
I was engaged on a self employed basis only.
What is the legal view on this please? Is it copyright piracy? The photo did not have a copyright mark but I hear that that does not matter?
He is now arguing over fees and if an infringement has been made and he continues to leave my fees unpaid then I will pursue this privacy infringement.
Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and I will be assisting you with your question today.

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Ok hi Ben
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Are you there?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

What are the fees for and who exactly is requesting them? Please can you also tell me how long ago this occurred?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My main concern is the privacy issue.I noticed the photo being used about 2 weeks ago. He has since taken it down.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I suspect though it's been there since early in the website history which would be about one year
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Are you still there?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Hi there. Thank you for your response. I will review the relevant information and laws and will get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Also, please do not responded to this message as it will just push your question to the back of the queue and you may experience unnecessary delays. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

Apologies for not getting back to you sooner, I experienced some temporary connection issues and could not get back on the site until now. All appears to be resolved now so I can continue dealing with your query.

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

Ben Jones and 2 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 10 months ago.

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.