Misappropriation of Personal Image and Possible Remedies


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Stealing or misappropriating the likeness of someone’s image may lead to legal action against the perpetrator when no permission is given or payment received for the action. Knowing what remedies are available and how to pursue them is important for the target of these actions which may occur through the help of a lawyer.

The right of privacy and publicity become important when facing the misappropriation of an image or likeness of a person. Any violations of the statutes for these matters could lead to the courtroom. The specific state that the offense occurs in may also provide additional remedies such as punitive damages or direct consequences to the person or entity that caused the issue. The protected matters are of great concern when affecting the person negatively in some manner. The negative impact happens often when the individual becomes a celebrity against his or her permission or will. A lack of compensation for this also causes problems for the individual.

The Use of a Person’s Image

Any use of a name, voice, signature, photo or even likeness is not an option without the permission of the person in question. The individual affected must provide consent before any images or likeness enter into the public domain. The other party frequently accomplishes these violations through use in media, online services, advertising or when selling products or services. The target has the option to take part or decline participation. Then, the other individual or entity must accept these terms or face possible legal action that could become devastating when the person receives awards for the damages.

Liability and Damages

When a person seeks legal action against those using an image through misappropriation, there are several types of damages available. However, it is important to prove that the liable for these damages. The case may even lead to the hire of an expert witness. These professionals are especially important when the misappropriation involves the internet or a publication relatively unknown. Discovering the culprit to seek a remedy through is often more difficult when he or she is hidden behind various screens or electronic protections. However, once the person is found, a lawyer hired for the claim may show that he or she is liable for damages.

The unauthorized use may lead to standard damages, punitive damages and other compensation depending on the state and how the misappropriation and use occurs. Computing the damages owed to the recipient is usually complicated, and a professional may need to assist with this endeavor. If the judge feels that the perpetrator needs to face additional punishment, he or she may incur punitive damages above what already will apply for the victim. These then add to the other compensation awarded to the individual. Depending on how long or wide-ranged the misappropriation of the image, the compensation could become quite large.

Cessation and Settlements

When the culprit is known in misappropriations of an image, the case may proceed further. The most important remedy to these circumstances is a cessation of the use of the image. The person seeking an end to the problem may want his or her likeness removed from whatever advertisements, campaign or marketing materials in circulation. This usually requires the need for a lawyer to communicate the desire of his or her client. The initial stage may even include a cease and desist letter to the target. It is when the other entity or person ignores the cessation that a lawsuit may occur.

When negotiating a resolution to the misappropriation of the image, lawyers may come together and consider a settlement. It is often important to keep the matter from the courts and ensure a peaceful end to the conflict between parties. To reduce costs and time taken in these matters, both sides may determine that a settlement is the best outcome possible. Through legal representation, the victim of the misappropriation may seek damages for his or her pain and suffering instead of or in addition to a cessation of the use of his or her likeness. If the image is part of commercials or publications, this may require additional steps to resolve.

Legal Help in Misappropriation of an Image

To ensure that the image is no longer in use or for damages for any discomfort, pain, suffering or complications due to the use, a lawyer may seek compensation for the misappropriation. If possible, he or she will seek a settlement with the other party or pursue legal action in court.

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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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