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Copyright Suit for Using Your Face on Google Maps?



The LA Times informs us that Google has added new cities to its “Street View” photos.

The Internet company late Monday began incorporating street-level photos from Los Angeles, San Diego and some Orange County cities into its Google Maps program. The additions expanded an online service that thrilled some digital-map buffs and freaked out privacy advocates when it launched in May in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and three other cities.

Many privacy advocates have called for Google to blur out the faces of anyone caught in one of their photos. But what if someone tried to teach Google a lesson?

I’d like to see someone file a copyright suit for use of their face without their permission. Think about it. Google is taking your photo without permission – ok, so it’s in a public place – and then using that image commercially. In other words, they’re using your face to make money.

Google’s been subject to all manner of strange law suits. It would be interesting to see if someone files one for facial copyright infringement. ;-)

  • http://www.camaban.co.uk Adrian Lee

    If that does happen, it’ll be interesting to see if many magazines start bricking it, and perhaps what it would mean for sites like Flickr or Photobucket.

    If members of the public can sue Google for displaying their pictures, what about celebs who get plastered all over magazines? Or magazines where people send in their own pics with random people in them?

    Would it be different if Yahoo maps linked up to Flickr geotagged images? (they might already for all I know). I took some pictures down at the beach on Sunday, there were lots of other people in them as it was a very busy day. If I upload them to Flickr, could those people sue me/Flickr? Is it different if I geotag them and they appear on a map?

    Quite a can of worms that could be opened….

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    @Adrian – a can of worms indeed. I don’t think it would stand a chance, but would at least shine a big spotlight on Google and perhaps force them to blur faces.

  • http://www.seorefugee.com/seoblog SEO Refugee Blog

    See that’s a much more creative lawsuit than the old and tired “they dropped my site so I’m suing” bit. I think Google is just BEGGING for lawsuits in a lot of different areas but people always seem to stick to the one that IMO is the least likely to succeed.

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    I thought you could legally use an image of someone as long as they were in public. It’s hardly my area of expertise, but that’s always been my understanding.

    Where Google may really go wrong in posting people’s faces is in it being another knock against them on the privacy front.

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  • http://www.tupac-amaru.com Luke

    You have really inspidered me to do something great.

    :D