After a woman in New Taipei City surnamed Lee paid money to have “artistic“ studio photos of her taken, the photographer — a woman surnamed Chiang — posted some of the photos on Facebook, violating Lee’s publicity rights regarding personal portraits. The New Taipei City District Court ruled that Chiang had to pay NT$20,000 in compensation.
The verdict says that Lee had paid a bridal shop in Banciao District to take studio photographs of her. It had been agreed that after the photos were taken and she had selected which pictures to keep the rest would be deleted. However, later Lee discovered that Chiang had posted the pictures on Facebook without permission, so Lee initially tried to get NT$100,000 in compensation from Chiang.
Chiang says that she is merely a part-time photographer and used her cellphone to take pictures of the photos and posted some on her Facebook page only because she thought they looked nice, adding that her Facebook friends were the only people that could see the pictures. Chiang says that she had no ill intentions or commercial interests, such as selling the photos without permission or making a profit from them. As soon as she was notified that Lee was unhappy about the pictures being posted, she deleted them and posted a public apology on her Facebook page to show that she was sincere about resolving the issue. She said Lee’s request for compensation was too high, so she had no way of paying the amount.
The bridal shop says that its employees are not allowed to post photographs of customers, and that Chiang used her personal cellphone to take pictures and posted them without permission, which means it had nothing to do with the company. The judge ruled that it was not a privacy issue as the photos had nothing to do with Lee’s personal life. However, since Chiang did not have permission to post the photos online, she had infringed upon Lee’s publicity rights regarding portrait photographs. Taking into consideration that Chiang had already deleted the pictures, the court required her to only pay NT$20,000. The verdict can be appealed.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)