Misuse of Family Photograph by Photo Studio Supports Misappropriation Claim–Lee v. Picture People

20 05 2012

[Post by Venkat Balasubramani]

Lee v. The Picture People, Inc., K10C-07-002 (RBY) (Del. Sup. Ct.; Mar. 19, 2012)

Plaintiffs had their two year old’s picture taken at The Picture People, a store engaged in the business of family photography. At checkout, the photographer asked plaintiffs if they would consent to use of one of the pictures in a contest the photographer intended to enter. Plaintiffs said no, and declined to execute the consent form that they were presented with. Although this was an in-person transaction, The Picture People’s website had a privacy policy that said The Picture People would keep any information provided by customers in connection with their use of online services secure. About a year later, plaintiffs discovered that The Picture People provided one of the pictures to their child’s day car center for advertising purposes. After plaintiffs complained, The Picture People confirmed that it did not obtain consent to use the picture and advised that it would erase all of the images from its system. Plaintiffs brought suit, alleging a potpourri of claims, on their own behalf as well as on behalf of their child. The Picture People moved for summary judgment on all claims.

Privacy claims: The court denies summary judgment as to the child’s misappropriation claim. The basic elements of appropriation without consent were satisfied.


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