Director for Technology for the Fayette County Schools used a Facebook photo of a student in a red bikini during a district-wide seminar about the dangers of posting pictures on the internet — except now the student, Chelsea Chaney, is suing the school district because nobody asked her permission before using the photo.
“I was embarrassed. I was horrified. It never crossed my mind that this would ever, ever happen to me,” Chaney, now a freshman in college, tells WSBTV in Atlanta. She posted the photo, which features her standing next to a cardboard cutout of Snoop Dogg, thinking only friends and friends of friends on Facebook could see it.
Chaney is now suing for $2 million because she says she wants her claim to be taken seriously, saying she did not give her permission for the photo to be used.
It’s an interesting legal case, because Chaney not giving her permission and the photo winding up in an embarrassing situation is … kind of the point of the seminar. It all comes down to whether she gave up her need for permission by posting the photo to a social media site.
Chaney’s attorney Pete Wellborn says, “Their idea that putting something on Facebook gives them a license to steal it and carte blanche to do with it what they did is wrong ethically, it’s wrong morally and it’s absolutely wrong legally.”
The current Facebook terms and conditions, however, state that users grant Facebook “a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide
license to use any [IP] content that you post on or in connection with
Facebook (‘IP License’). This IP License ends when you delete your IP
content or your account unless your content has been shared with others,
and they have not deleted it.”
It will be interesting to see what kind of precedent the judge sets in this case — did the school district need Chaney’s permission to use a photo she put out there that someone obviously freely found on Facebook? Did the district need Facebook’s permission? Or any permission at all?