ABA Journal


Internet Law

School used student’s Facebook photo to illustrate how embarrassing posts never die, suit says

Jul 8, 2013, 01:14 pm CDT


It is so sad to know about this...
I think it should be restricted and awareness should be made in young generations about their posting on social media websites as their private postings may harm their reputation due to wrong usage of material.

By Maya John on 2013 07 08, 1:36 pm CDT

$2 million for this?

By wow on 2013 07 08, 2:52 pm CDT

Is it me? Or if some school administrator decided to look at spring break pictures of students, that person would be accused of being a predator???

By Why?? on 2013 07 08, 3:13 pm CDT

How has this frivolous suit not been dismissed yet?

By Dismissed on 2013 07 08, 8:42 pm CDT

I don't know the applicable state law, but assuming there's a right of publicity or privacy, why shouldn't she get something for use of her likeness without permission?

I get tired of business, schools, individuals, using images without permission or compensation, especially in a non-complimentary way, and then acting surprised when the person doesn't like it. There's a difference between something being accessible on the Internet vs. highlighted in a presentation.

By df on 2013 07 08, 9:06 pm CDT

I think that's it. Misappropriation of name or likeness, if her jurisdiction recognizes that privacy tort. I think it is a fine photo, though, giving her no real reason to be displeased. I don't see that it portrays her as "an alcoholic slut," and even if it did, I wouldn't personally tend to get all judgmental about her over that. I mean, while I have a slight personal preference for non-alcoholic sluts (simply because they tend to be lower-maintenance), I certainly wouldn't reject an alcoholic slut out of hand. In a wide range of circumstances, affectionate women can be very pleasant, and it just doesn't pay to go about offending them for no good reason..

By B. McLeod on 2013 07 08, 11:48 pm CDT

I cannot help but ♥ #6’s modest proposal ☺

By Docile Jim Brady – Columbus OH 43209 on 2013 07 09, 12:53 am CDT

They should have pixillated her face.

Edward Fitzgerald had it right, and in his day they did not even have the typewriter:

"The moving finger writes, and having writ,
Moves on, nor all they piety or wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it".

By Andrew on 2013 07 31, 11:06 am CDT

that chick's hot! maybe she can make a video to cash in!!

By AllSaid on 2013 07 31, 11:19 am CDT

Clearly the girl doesn't understand how far reaching "friends of friends" can be. If your privacy setting allows views by friends of friends, that could easily mean that thousands upon thousands of complete strangers can see everything you post!

By robbie mae on 2013 07 31, 11:27 am CDT

I do hope she got a lawyer to represent her on contingency.

By jondee roo on 2013 07 31, 12:40 pm CDT

In response to some of the comments, of course she won't get $2 million. If she wins (not certain at all) or if she settles, she'll get a fraction of that.

By linovo on 2013 07 31, 1:30 pm CDT

The point is, if her photo was already in the public domain (a question of fact), then she has no claim for invasion of privacy unless her claim of defamation based on the implication of her being an alcoholic slut has merit.

By SH on 2013 07 31, 2:03 pm CDT

What a lucky girl! It isn't everyone that gets to sue a deep pocket for $2 million without even suffering any appreciable injury! How do I get myself a deal like that?

By Me too! on 2013 07 31, 2:08 pm CDT

She, at least, has a claim for copyright infringement. The school had no right to use a photo they find on the Internet. I am sure there were plenty of free images they could have used to drive home the point.

By NCESQ on 2013 07 31, 5:08 pm CDT

Doesn't the copyright belong to the photographer? Why to her more than to the other person in the photograph?

By Andrew on 2013 07 31, 5:13 pm CDT

Apart from the legal theories, we all know how this works. She posted a Facebook picture in a public place that was intended to be looked at. It was used in one presentation in Yoohoo, Georgia. She took down the picture. The embarassment of such exposure impelled her to make it available to the world instead of allowing it to die in Yoohoo, Georgia. Thousands of gawkers will comment on how attractive she actually is. She might get a small settlement to go away. In ten years, she will post it again on Facebook, suggesting that she still actually looks that good.

By MattDC on 2013 07 31, 7:56 pm CDT

Legal and aesthetic merits aside, I'm still left wondering just how a juxtaposition can infer something.

By Just Some Bloke on 2013 08 01, 7:45 pm CDT

I think most are missing the point. The superintendent was trying to prove the point that nothing is truly private on the internet or FB and that everyone, teenagers and kids especially should be careful what they post.

I attended Fayette County schools years ago. The superintendent probably should have blurred the girl's face or asked for permission but I don't' see any basis for such a lawsuit.

By ncUGAfan on 2013 08 10, 8:58 am CDT

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