Asked in Copyright and Internet Law for Virginia

Q: There is a website using my pictures without permission. What are my options?

I was asked by the founder of a dog rescue to maintain her website. In two years of maintaining that website, I had also taken pictures of the dogs and volunteers at the rescue. Since I was maintaining the website I posted those pictures on the website. The founder all of a sudden, with no warning, changed the password to the website and locked me out. There was no discussion about me ending my relationship with the rescue and ending my volunteer work on the website. There was no discussion about the pictures I had posted on the site and how we would handle the handing over of all my hard work and photography to her. I have not given her permission to use those pictures.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Marcos Garciaacosta
Marcos Garciaacosta
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Mesa, AZ

A: You can try asking her formally to remove the pictures as they are your property.

Your legal option is possible to sue. Expensive though.

You can recover damages caused by him using the pictures without your approval, but you have to prove that.

You can copyright the photos and if you win, you can get statutory damages for every violation.

IF it is a very high traffic site, and produces a lot of sales/income, maybe you can get something from it, otherwise may be an exercise in futility.

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