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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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A UK publisher is using a portrait photo of my girlfriend on

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A UK publisher is using a portrait photo of my girlfriend on a book cover without her permission; the photo was taken by a photographer as part of a free photo shoot (he also did not seek her permission to onsell or use the photo for commercial gain).
JA: Have you talked to a local attorney? Has anything been filed in court?
Customer: No
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: we wrote to the publisher two weeks ago to try to issue a 'take down notice'

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

You have an automatic copyright to the photograph and you can apply for an injunction unless they take it down.

You need to send them a formal cease and desist letter to warn them of your intentions unless they remove it (and give them 7 days to do so from the date of your letter).

A template “cease and desist” letter is available at https://www.lawdepot.co.uk/

If you go to the search box in the top right corner of the site, it will bring up a list - you want the "general" letter.

You can use your own letter if you wish - it just has to make it clear this is a cease and desist letter, that you own the copyright to the photograph and you therefore demand they stop using it without your permission - and that if they do not within 7 days you will apply to the court for the injunction and seek your costs.

That letter may well be enough to stop the conduct - as an injunction is a serious legal remedy.

Assuming they ignore you, you are then faced with having to apply for an injunction to your local county court. You can either do this yourself or with a lawyer. An injunction is a last resort but nevertheless is a legal remedy available to you in this situation. You will need to retain a copy of your cease and desist letter to support the application as the judge will want to see proof you did send the cease and desist letter to the publisher.
I can direct you to law firms if you wish, assuming the letter has no effect after a week. It should work as there is no doubt about the copyright protection - the issue is whether the publisher wants to risk an injunction and a costs order against them.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hi Jim. Thanks for your answer. Should I refer to at all my original letter sent two weeks ago that told them about the photo and asked them to stop using it? I’ll send the cease and desist letter. Will I be able to reply here at a later date in this enquiry to ask for a direct to a law firm if they do not reply after one week? Best, Jon

Hi, yes - I will give you details of suitable law firms shortly so you can check back here in case you do have to take that next step of applying to the court.

JimLawyer and 3 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 15 days ago.
The photo shoot was in 2018; it looks like the book was published within 12 months after that. My girlfriend obviously was not informed about it so has only recently found the image being used (she did this using a smart AI reverse image look up software) - does this change anything?

No, the cause of action starts from your date of knowledge, so it wouldn't change anything at all, thanks