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BANGKOK 22 March 2019 03:30
MrBobHouse

My image is being used to advertise a school without my consent.

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Hi. I started working at an international school last March and a month in the school photographer came round taking photos of our class. A week later someone told me jokingly I was now 'famous' and to take a walk down the road. 

 

On the corner of a major intersection there was a 25ft high Billboard advertising the school with my face on it. I won't lie, I was a mix of flattered and pissed off, nobody had asked me if I wanted my.photo up there, but I was new to the school (and teaching) so I didn't want to kick up a fuss. It never really say well with me though.

 

Anyway, I left the school in January due to let's say, not being happy with conditions there, and now work at another school not a million miles away. As I left before the end of my year contract they have said I am liable to pay back all holiday that I took as I was only entitled to 'enjoy' that on completion of the year contract (this was to get out of paying me my last months wages). That's not my gripe, my gripe is that they are still using my image to advertise the school and of course it may be a conflict of interest now considering I am at another school.

 

Do I have any legal recourse?

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12 minutes ago, tlandtday said:

go paint a penis into the picture and let them take it down :cheesy:

That would make him a <deleted> !

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1 hour ago, smutcakes said:

Glass is half full rather than empty, use it to your benefit rather than your detriment. I would enjoy my ugly mug in 25ft poster, no one else would but in a country like Thailand the opportunities with that are endless. Say your a model and some will believe. Obviously if you have a visa issue maybe best keep a low profile or grow a beard. Stand below it with a kiss for 100 baht.

Haha! If it was in Nana I'd be right up for that idea, but I'm in Pathum Thani, and let's just say I'd rather pay them 100 baht NOT to kiss me.

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2 hours ago, tlandtday said:

go paint a penis into the picture and let them take it down :cheesy:

Brilliant 

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It could earn you some money:

 

Using someone’s image for commercial benefit

Many countries recognize that individuals have a right of publicity. The right of publicity is the direct opposite of the right of privacy. It recognizes that a person’s image has economic value that is presumed to be the result of the person’s own effort and it gives to each person the right to exploit their own image.

 

Under this right, you could be liable if you use a photograph of someone without their consent to gain some commercial benefit.

 

If they are using your image for commercial benefit then the law in Thailand may require you to be compensated.

 

Nice if it was backdated.

 

But your contract may have given them permission.

 

 

Edited by Enoon
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A friend had exactly the same problem. 

He was up against a company listed on the SET.

They took the pic down,  but it took years. 

He didn't go through a lawyer but used informal contacts. 

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Check your employment contract. You may have agreed to the use of your image to promote the school or to illustrate its staff. It could be buried in the fine print. 

 

The use of your photo without consent is illegal in Thailand and you do have recourse. Be sure to document the sign. Take multiple photos including wide angle. Keep a record of the date it was up.

 

All it takes is  a lawyer's letter arguing defamation and trade dress and you can drag this out for years and cost them.  Doesn't matter if the school has money because it will eventually lose.   

 

On a positive note, these billboards don't last long due to environment. It should be gone in a few months. 

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5 hours ago, geriatrickid said:

On a positive note, these billboards don't last long due to environment. It should be gone in a few months. 

True, though it wouldn't guarantee they didn't print up another one, or use it in other media. Depends on the contract drawn up between the school and the photographer. 

 

One way to look at it - if the op is a long term professional teacher, tack it onto the resume or bring it up casually in interviews etc. Image is a big part of recruitment in the EFL industry, and if they thought that image was good enough to use on a 21 foot poster it can't be a bad endorsement. 

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Yes, you absolutely do have recourse. Unless you signed a document explicitly providing permission for them to use your image then you could pursue a claim against them. And even if you did sign over rights for them to use your image, it would still be arguable in court if you were not suitably compensated for it.

 

Have a think about what is most important to you. Do you want the image removed, or do you want to be compensated for it? If the former, an email / letter to the school from you should suffice. If the latter, you'll need a lawyer. In all seriousness, you could be looking at a decent pay day for this. The general rule would be what would it have cost the school to hire someone else for that. A standard i.e. not famous model's feel could be a few 10s of 1000s of baht....

 

If you tell them you want it taken down and they don't, you could make a criminal complaint and / or pursue civil damages against them.

 

Basically, you have a lot of options. Think about what you want to do and then proceed accordingly.

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