Use My Photo? Not Without Permission – New York Times The New York Times is running a story on the plight of Alison Chang, a 15-year-old from Dallas, whose family is suing Virgin Mobile USA, over her unauthorized likeness in a Virgin Mobile advertising campaign.
The case seems pretty clear cut to me and Alison’s family will probably get a chunk of money over it. It’s pretty stupid that Virgin Mobile would use a photograph commercially without getting the rights cleared. I’m sure someone over there will probably lose their job over this.
The photo isn’t Alison’s by the way, it’s a Creative Commons licensed photo that was posted to Justin Ho-Wee Wong’s Flickr account. Which brings up an important point. Justin had his photo licensed Creative Commons but did not have a non-commercial designation on the license. When you license something Creative Commons with no additional designation pretty much anyone can use that photo. In this case Virgin still needed to clear the likeness issue with Chang but are probably within their rights in using Wong’s photo. Although there may be an issue with attribution even there.