• Can your name and photo be used in an advertisement without your consent?

    Date: 09.29.10 | by Judge Tom.

    A California law passed in 1971 prohibits companies from using people’s names or photos in ads without their consent. If the person is a minor, the consent of a parent or legal guardian must be obtained before making commercial use of the information.  The right to privacy is not limited to adults  – it is recognized in the law as applicable to children and teens in a variety of situations.

    Facebook has a “like” feature that you can click when you like an advertised service or product seen on the site. Your “like” is then passed on to your friends on Facebook. Out of curiosity your friends are likely to take a look at what you like. Potential advertisers are told that “likes” multiply due to the additional clicks of user’s friends. Facebook allegedly uses your “like” vote to endorse advertiser’s products and services. This all results in what some consider a sale and revenue for the advertisers and Facebook.

    Two teenagers from California filed a lawsuit against Facebook in August, 2010 for using their names and images without parental permission. The class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of all California residents who are or were under 18 over a three-year period from August, 2007 to August, 2010, and whose names and photos were used in a Facebook ad.

    Facebook claims the lawsuit is without merit explaining that they don’t allow the profiles of minors to appear on public search engines.

    Did you know that you were endorsing a product by clicking “yes” that you like something on Facebook or any other social networking site? Does it bother you in any way? Did you know that some states have laws similar to California’s that require parental consent before a minor’s name and photo are used in advertising?  Why do you think these protective laws are needed or are they?

    Judge Tom

    This post was written by Judge Tom. Judge Tom is the founder and moderator of AsktheJudge.info. He is a retired juvenile judge and spent 23 years on the bench. He has written several books for lawyers and judges as well as teens and parents including the recently published 'Teen Cyberbullying Investigated' (Free Spirit Publishing). When he's not answering teens' questions, Judge Tom can be found hiking, traveling and reading.

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