Brief Fact Summary. After Plaintiff’s picture appeared in an advertisement, in the Greensboro Daily News (Defendant), she brought suit for libel and unauthorized use of her image against the news company.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The right of privacy gives rise to a cause of action for unauthorized use of an individual’s image.
Defamatory words to be libelous per se must be susceptible of but one meaning and of such nature that the court can presume as a matter of law that they tend to disgrace and degrade the party or hold him up to public hatred, contempt or ridicule, or cause him to be shunned and avoided.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Whether the unauthorized publishing of an individual’s photograph gives rise to a cause of action?
Held. The granting of a nonsuit was upheld in the action for libel, and a new trial awarded to determine the issue of whether the unauthorized use of Plaintiff’s picture was a breach of privacy.
* The court held that the unauthorized use of one’s photograph in connection with an advertisement gives rise to a cause of action entitling Plaintiff to nominal damages and injunctive relief, in lieu of being able to prove special damages.
Discussion. When another’s photograph is used without their consent, they may be able to get nominal damages, if they cannot prove causation, i.e. the defendant intended to use their particular photograph, and harm.