How to get my picture removed from someone’s business site?
May 1, 2021 10:49 AM   Subscribe

The hair stylist who did my hair years ago for my wedding posted one of the pictures that our photographer took of us on her her recently constructed website without my consent. The website says under construction and she hasn’t responded to my emails. Is there anything I can do?

I’ve tried reaching out to the photographer who actually took the photo to see if they can report it for copyright infringement but no luck as it doesn’t look like they’re active any longer. She (stylist) has included my name in the picture’s caption so the picture comes up in google searches of my name which freaks me out and I really really want this removed ASAP. Do I have any recourse here? I don’t believe I own the copyright since that’s usually the photographer so I can’t report them to google for copyright infringement. This is causing me a lot of distress, I would appreciate any input from anyone who has a suggestion.
posted by Riverside to Law & Government (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Which jurisdiction are you and the hairdresser in? This will affect what legal rights you have, particularly as regards personality rights. Of particular note is that this varies from state to state within the USA.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:53 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]

You don't need to be the copyright owner to have a lawyer send a scary sounding cease and desist letter. It is relatively cheap, depending on how badly you want to make this go away. The letter will just say "stop it, or we will sue you" in several paragraphs of legalese. This is usually enough for a small independent proprietor to knock that shit off.

We filed a cease and desist letter and it cost, probably $200 bucks IIRC? I mean, you could probably fake one pretty easy too if your budget doesn't allow for that. This is pretty chill stuff once you contact a lawyer.
posted by furnace.heart at 10:55 AM on May 1 [9 favorites]

if you have a friend who is a lawyer maybe they could point you to a boilerplate c&d letter or whip up something basic for you? as a small biz person myself I would be pretty freaked out to get one.
posted by supermedusa at 11:18 AM on May 1 [3 favorites]

Telephone her. She may not be handling the website, so may never have received your emails.
posted by KayQuestions at 11:21 AM on May 1 [26 favorites]

Some people will literally reject a self-written cease and desist, look into paying instead. But!

First recommendations are yes, calling her. Secondly: An understanding, liability conscious or simply empathetic domain host may actually remove the image or contact her, if you can find a way to contact. They may actually override state restrictions, because they're the host and they sometimes can.

She's probably not being malicious, she's probably just not actively working. She should understand someone would like their wedding kept private.
posted by firstdaffodils at 1:03 PM on May 1 [2 favorites]

You can track down the web hosting company by doing a WHOIS search on the domain name. That will yield some nameserver domains, which should ultimately lead you to the entity that has physical control over the web site files.

Once you find the web hosting provider, see if they have some sort of process.
posted by amtho at 5:21 PM on May 1 [1 favorite]

Before you go full-tilt with the lawyers and all, just call or write a letter on your own and ask her to take it down. I despise calling people but I suspect that she isn’t receiving the emails and getting lawyers involved before you’ve made contact and asked her first seems like using a cannon to clear a blocked drain.
posted by corey flood at 7:32 PM on May 1 [5 favorites]

Yeah, I would do everything I could to contact her first. I’d only take it further if (a) she’d ignored all possible methods of communication or (b) she’d responded “no, I won’t take it down”.

People have very different attitudes to photos of people and, giving the benefit of the doubt, she may well think it’s a flattering photo of a happy client from years ago, and who could possibly mind if she used it? That added on to maybe not checking email, or email not working, or being too busy to respond so far, or who knows what…
posted by fabius at 5:55 AM on May 2 [2 favorites]

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