Suffield, CT asked in Copyright for Massachusetts

Q: A blogger took pictures from my private Facebook page and used them to write an offensive blog post. Is this legal?

Are there any copyright violations? I believe that someone I am friends with on Facebook, took a screenshot of my private pictures and shared them via email with this blogger? Is it worth retaining a lawyer?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Timothy John Billick
Timothy John Billick
  • Intellectual Property Lawyer
  • Seattle, WA

A: This will largely hinge on (1) Facebook's Terms of Use ("TOU"); (2) Your privacy settings on this particular photo; and (3) the manner in which you chose to have this photo shared. Generally your right to privacy only extends to where a person "has a reasonable expectancy" of privacy. If this person is your friend on facebook, then you likely would not have a reasonable expectancy of privacy to this photo for this person.

That said, you may have an individual cause of action for libel, depending on what was said.

As to copyright violations, it would depend on who took the photo, if you have any federal registrations for it, and how the photo is being used. You should definitely consult with an IP attorney to advise you as to next steps, for this hypothetical is missing a lot of key details.

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