Sunday, November 24, 2019

What's In A ... Face?

Much ado about...  faces is my takeaway from this week's legal (and copyleft activist) blogs. Not that "faces" equate to nothing. Far from it. And there's a lot of  facial violation going on.

Facebook is doing it. Amazon is doing it. Bad actors in the advertising world are doing it. EFF would like you to worry, and they may be correct (but never right!).

Electronic Freedom Foundation policy analyst Matthew Guariglia highlights how bad Amazon's Ring is, especially for passers-by whose faces are caught up by a Ring-using household's surveillance device and shared for all time with the police without their knowledge or consent and without a warrant or probable --or improbable-- cause.

Nathan Sheard, also writing for the EFF,  has a follow up, calling for an About Face protest.

Legal blogger Sean C. Griffin, writing for Dykema-Gossett PLLC, discusses a class action lawsuit against Facebook's facial recognition technology, which matches up faces in their database with unidentified faces in uploaded photographs, and suggests "tags" to link the photograph to the person allegedly identified by Facebook as being in the photograph.

The question is, does a person need a concrete injury in order to sue Facebook?

Perhaps eventually, Facebook will misidentify someone in the background of an uploaded photo of what turns out to be a crime scene, and then the proverbial cat will be among the pigeons.

Meanwhile, the British grocery chain Tesco got itself into hot water when it relied on a Getty image license for a photograph of a celebrity.

Hallam Whitehead, writing for Virtuoso Legal, discusses the issues at stake when commercial use (as in advertising) is made of a celebrity's face without her knowledge or permission.

Authors who want a celebrity on their cover art need to obtain a model release from the model in addition to a copyright license from the photographer.

There have been advertising campaigns that have tried to "get around" the problem of a perfect but reluctant celebrity by using lookalikes.

Legal blogger Barry M. Benjamin, for Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton LLP lays out  the issue of "false endorsements" and what can be done about it.


Also, author Po Yi, blogging for Manatt Phelps and Phillips LLP describes what Sandra Bullock and Ellen DeGeneres are doing to fight the pernicious problem of  "Celebrity Endorsement Theft".

This may not seem like it would affect us, but if we were to come across a photograph of a major influencer reading a paper copy of one of our books, a temptation would arise, wouldn't it?  Get permission!

All the best,

Rowena Cherry 

PS. For our European readers, please check your caches. The authors of this blog do not intentionally track you, but Amazon, Facebook, Google and many others do so.

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