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I was recently watching TV, when lo and behold, I saw a picture of my side entry french door in a commercial. The company airing the commercial did install windows in my home 7 years ago, but never asked permission to take a picture of said door or air it in a commercial. Do I have any basis for compensation concerning this?

I am sorry if this is not the proper place for this type of question. I just needed to start somewhere. I read over every inch of the contract and nothing in it mentions permission to take photos. I had to reinstall the french door that was improperly put in by a family member and the stucco job that I did around the door served its purpose but is unsightly. The commercial is stating that structural improvements have to be done when using windows or doors that are pre-fabricated rather than ones that are measured for the specific opening. The picture is not close up and because of the stucco job I did it is completely identifiable as my property. I feel that if the company is making money off of the image shown in a bad way, and it is my residence which they had no written permission to photograph, then yes, why wouldn't I want compensation?

migrated from photo.stackexchange.com Mar 15 '18 at 14:52

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    I'd also check the small-print of the contract you signed when they installed it - fair bet it contains a 'we may use you for publicity' clause... & you signed it. – Tetsujin Mar 9 '18 at 17:24
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    How do you know they didn't ask permission? I'll bet they did have you signing paperwork, and it could have been in there. I recommend that you find the paperwork you signed with them. – Hairy Dresden Mar 9 '18 at 17:24
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    Are you specifically interested in compensation, or would a cease & desist also satisfy your interests? – scottbb Mar 9 '18 at 18:21
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    Is it just a close up of the door or does it make your property identifiable to anyone looking at the add? Why do you feel you should be compensated??? Did you design and create the door? Why did they use the photo of the door, is it incidental to showing something else in the add or was the door integral to the commercial? Need more info than just, i want money. – Alaska man Mar 9 '18 at 20:38
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    The first thing you should do is contact the company and ask them why they are doing this without your permission. Asking a bunch of yahoo's on the internet to justify your desire to be compensated seems a bit petty. If you are concerned that some yahoo watching TV can see your address and identify where you live and you are concerned for your safety then you may have grounds to talk to a layer. Showing a small section of your wall will not make them more wealthy then if they had not. Litigious actions for reasons of greed have a negative consequences to society as a whole. – Alaska man Mar 12 '18 at 20:07
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You have no basis for making a claim in most US jurisdictions, as well as England & Wales. Even if your claim were to be heard (small claims courts, for example, are designed to hear almost anything - with very little procedural requirement), it would be quickly dismissed, in my opinion. Here are a few reasons that will likely stand in your way:

  • I'm suspicious that you found nothing in your agreement(s) with the vendor covering their right to photograph for the purposes of promoting their business.
  • Even where any agreements were mute on the subject, most judges would recognise a requirement for reasonable accommodation in granting them access to promote their work. (I take it your house exterior and door looked better when they left than when they arrive.) Since you made no adjustment to your agreements covering the prohibition of photographs to be used in promotion materials, it won't be seen as an issue of significance on your part. Most judges are experienced at dealing with frivolous actions - lower level courts especially.
  • Here's where it gets really tough for you (but I don't mean to indicate that you might even get this far). Claims for compensation are granted to satisfy, or make good, damages. You've asserted nothing here that involves damage (specific & quantifiable) to you or your property directly caused by this vendor in photographing your property for the purposes of promotion. Apparently, several months passed with no complaint on your part. This could imply acceptance/satisfaction. It seems apparent, absent any actual damages, that you have no standing here. Standing is an issue that stops you at the courthouse door.

Try this as a possible counter-narrative: Defendant shows up to do work on a home in need of important exterior door works (and structural surrounds). The condition of these defects were a potential security risk and were degrading the property further via water ingress. It was in a condition described by the owner as unacceptably unsightly, and requiring intervention urgently. The claimant reports no contemporary complaints or concerns, and pays the defendant, as agreed, indicating satisfaction. The claimant continues to enjoy a good job by the defendant. It was such a good job that defendant highlighted it, using photographs in a television advert, in showcasing the quality of their work. So now claimant is angry because the world now knows that his house was unsightly and, after engaging the defendant, is now looking so good that the defendant used it to showcase the quality of their work.

I'm guessing that you've already spent more time and emotional energy than could ever be answered by even the most fabulous estimation of your potential case's worth. It's also worth considering that your next steps will likely start utilising the valuable time of other people (i.e. court officials and staff) at an inauspicious time. Consider walking away as maybe the best action you can take here.

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