A viewer says a company is using an Instagram photo of her son wearing its clothing on its website. But is that legal? Attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli answer this interesting question.
Dave Kuharchik: We’re in for a unique social media related question today. The guys are back to answer, attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli.
Ed Ciarimboli: Before we do anything else, it’s a big day. Today is my mother’s 70th birthday. Happy birthday, Mom. Love you. Wouldn’t be here without you.
Dave: That’s a big one!
Ed: That’s huge, it’s a huge day.
Dave: Happy birthday, Mom. All right, our question today involving a picture. Larry from Williamsport saying, “I posted something on Instagram, and tagged a company’s clothing my son was wearing. They are now posting the picture on their website. Is this legal?” What would you say to Larry?
Ed: Larry, it’s 100 percent legal. So, here’s what people don’t understand. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, when you sign up for all of these social media platforms, they own everything. They own the content, they own the photographs. Once you put it on their platform, you no longer own it. And now by tagging that particular company, that particular company is able to use that image, that likeness, in whatever they want. We hear this a lot, people don’t realize it. When you put something on, you no longer have a right of privacy. You no longer own your image or likeness on Facebook or Snapchat or Instagram or whatever it is.
Greg Fellerman: That’s what we keep telling everyone with the social media. You have to be careful with what you’re putting up there. People are looking at it, jobs, employers, schools. You have to be cautious of what you’re putting up there. And by the way, it’s up there forever. You may take it down, someone could have screenshotted it, there are all these different things that happen with social media. So, be cognizant of what you’re doing, be mindful, because maybe 10 years from now you’ll be sorry you put something up there.
Ed: Remember this statement: It is not your data. As soon as you put it on there, it’s not yours anymore. It’s Facebook’s, it’s Instagram’s, it’s everybody else’s, it’s no longer yours.
Dave: Always think before you post. All right, if you need help from the guys, you can call or check them out online. Don’t forget results matter. Attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli, have a good night, guys.
The Law & You is a nightly feature on channels WBRE-TV 28 and WYOU-TV 22 where the attorneys from Fellerman & Ciarimboli answer legal questions. If you have a question that you want answered by the Law & You attorneys, please submit the form on this page or call the hotline at 1-888-570-HURT.