Legal Question in Entertainment Law in Georgia

I was wanting to know if I have a case? A production company made a tv show about the making of a very popular comedy movie released in 1980. My family was living at the hotel where all the actors & crew members were staying for the three months it took to film the movie. As I was watching the show they began talking about the drugs & drinking going on and then a still photograph of me popped up on screen (maybe because I looked like a freak/druggie back then when I was 17 years old). Now I was in no way connected to the movie other than living at the same hotel as the actors & crew & this was a still photo of me by myself sitting in a motel room chair. ? is do they have the right to use my image without my OK while talking about the out of control drug use & drinking going on just because I look as though I fit the bill? I live in a small town in Georgia now & have spoke with some lawyers & they seem to think there is something here but noone practices this type of law. PLEASE HELP, THANK YOU.

Asked on 5/02/10, 7:48 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Edmund Burke Edmund B Burke, Attorney at Law

There is a right to privacy (or right of publicity) that forbids other people from using your image in a commercial way, to sell their "product". Their use of your photo without your consent probably violates your rights in this respect. The leading US case is one in which a company used (without consent) a person's photo in advertising, to help sell their product. The court ruled that a person has a right to control the use of his image, against those who want to exploit the image for their own commercial purposes. So there is legal merit in your case. Whether it would be worth pursuing as a practical court case is another kettle of fish all together, of course.

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Answered on 5/08/10, 11:34 am

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