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    Default Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    My question involves personal property located in the State of: CA.

    Graduation at the local State college happened, and of course there were professional photographers taking pics of the students graduating. Student did not purchase any pictures. College gave photographer address of student. Photographer sent a portrait photo proof, unsolicited, to the student address (by USPS). Portrait of the attractive, female student was clearly visible through the clear plastic part of the envelope, next to the student's name and address. I understand the taking of the picture was allowed because it's a public event. Sending the photo visibly by mail seems unsafe and troubling, but I'm not sure it's illegal.

    Were any privacy and/or personal property rights violated? I read that, for example, the right to publicity is a personal property right.

    The photographer was in CA but it seems the company is based in FL (they might have a CA office though). Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Quote Quoting RidinginCali
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    Photographer sent a portrait photo proof, unsolicited, to the student address (by USPS). Portrait of the attractive, female student was clearly visible through the clear plastic part of the envelope, next to the student's name and address. I understand the taking of the picture was allowed because it's a public event. Sending the photo visibly by mail seems unsafe and troubling, but I'm not sure it's illegal.
    Why would you consider sending the proof to the addressee through the USPS unsafe and troubling? Who besides the photographer, the addressee, and Postal workers saw the envelope.

    The reason the envelopes have a clear cellophane window is to alert the addressee that it is not junk mail.

    Not illegal.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Regarding the publicity rights

    https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/civil-c...sect-3344.html


    as you can read, the Issue at hand doesn’t apply. They are not using your daughters photo within their advertisements. They are marketing her own image to her.

    Actually, the one issue you have no problem with is actually the only one that could be questioned. That is the taking of pictures. While you state the event was public, it actually isn’t. It is a private activity put on by the school. Even when a school is a public school, their campus and their events remain under the control of the school and the school can deny entry. That means the photographer would need permission to take pictures. Presumably they did especially since they were given the students addresses.

    That brings. me to an issue I have which is the school releasing the addresses of the students. I suspect somewhere in life your daughter signed something that would allow it. She might inquire about it if she is concerned.

    The other issue you have a concern with; the image being readily observable through the window on the envelope. While I don’t believe it is illegal, I do agree it is bad practice. I agree with it being a security concern and probably shouldn’t be done. I would suggest expressing your concern to the company that sent the mailing. Hopefully they will agree and change their style of envelope.

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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    Why would you consider sending the proof to the addressee through the USPS unsafe and troubling? Who besides the photographer, the addressee, and Postal workers saw the envelope.

    The reason the envelopes have a clear cellophane window is to alert the addressee that it is not junk mail.

    Not illegal.
    Go back and read it again Bud. OP said that the portrait was clearly visible through the plastic window of the envelope. That was the whole issue. People did see and could have seen not only the name and address of the student, but also what she looked like. THAT is what the OP is upset about.

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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Go back and read it again Bud. OP said that the portrait was clearly visible through the plastic window of the envelope. That was the whole issue. People did see and could have seen not only the name and address of the student, but also what she looked like. THAT is what the OP is upset about.

    And even if it is seen only by postal workers, well, are they all saints? Obviously not. The term “going postal” was coined based on the actions of postal workers doing bad thing

    I think it is a poor practice and should be changed.


    I don’t get the suggestion the clear window somehow denotes it isn’t junk mail. I get plenty of junk mail where the sender uses such an envelope. Maybe they’re trying to psychologically convince me it isn’t junk mail because it has a cellophanne. Actusllly, when I purchase photographs, they are specifically sent in an envelope without any clear windows in them to protect them from damage.


    Now now that I think about it a bit differently, the op might be able to view this (yes, an intentional choice of words) as a violation of the statute I linked previously. The sender is intentionally publishing the image of the student and I’m sure their business name is clearly visible as well. The mailing is actually a form of advertisement for the photographer and as such, not allowed under California law without the subjects permission.

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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Quote Quoting jk
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    That brings. me to an issue I have which is the school releasing the addresses of the students. I suspect somewhere in life your daughter signed something that would allow it. She might inquire about it if she is concerned.
    While it is possible and very likely that the student signed some agreement for graduation, and for cap and gown, and diploma (they do have to pay to graduate) that would have agreed to graduation pictures, it is the schools that contracts with these photography companies. It is big business and the schools get commissions on all the sales (kickbacks).

    https://www.nbcwashington.com/invest...369744951.html

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Go back and read it again Bud. OP said that the portrait was clearly visible through the plastic window of the envelope. That was the whole issue. People did see and could have seen not only the name and address of the student, but also what she looked like. THAT is what the OP is upset about.
    What people could have seen the image? The people that had the image (the photography company), the postal workers, or the addressee? Who else? This is a graduation picture presumably a graduate in a cap and gown receiving a diploma not some explicit photo.

    Quote Quoting jk
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    Now now that I think about it a bit differently, the op might be able to view this (yes, an intentional choice of words) as a violation of the statute I linked previously. The sender is intentionally publishing the image of the student and I’m sure their business name is clearly visible as well. The mailing is actually a form of advertisement for the photographer and as such, not allowed under California law without the subjects permission.
    That would be a real stretch of the statute. There is no third-party publication. Only her picture went to her and to nobody else.

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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    While it is possible and very likely that the student signed some agreement for graduation, and for cap and gown, and diploma (they do have to pay to graduate) that would have agreed to graduation pictures, it is the schools that contracts with these photography companies. It is big business and the schools get commissions on all the sales (kickbacks).

    https://www.nbcwashington.com/invest...369744951.html



    What people could have seen the image? The people that had the image (the photography company), the postal workers, or the addressee? Who else? This is a graduation picture presumably a graduate in a cap and gown receiving a diploma not some explicit photo.



    That would be a real stretch of the statute. There is no third-party publication. Only her picture went to her and to nobody else.
    I simply wanted to you address the actual issue the poster had. Now you have, even if I don't particularly agree with your opinion.

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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Quote Quoting budwad
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    While it is possible and very likely that the student signed some agreement for graduation, and for cap and gown, and diploma (they do have to pay to graduate) that would have agreed to graduation pictures, it is the schools that contracts with these photography companies. It is big business and the schools get commissions on all the sales (kickbacks).

    https://www.nbcwashington.com/invest...369744951.html
    I didn’t say the photog being there was a problem. I said the school controls who is at such events and it’s apparent the school allowed this. My only concern, which was likely approved by the student even if they don’t recall it, was the distribution of the students addresses.



    What people could have seen the image? The people that had the image (the photography company), the postal workers, or the addressee? Who else? This is a graduation picture presumably a graduate in a cap and gown receiving a diploma not some explicit photo.
    The postman even if there was nobody else. It doesn’t require any specific number of viewers to be considered an advertisement.

    The law doesn't care what else is in the picture. It addresses when one is identifiable within a picture and not simply an incidental inclusion. Why do you think they show the image through the window? It isn’t so the usps or the recipient is alerted to it being a photograph. The words “ pictures enclosed, do not bend” suffice when photos are mailed to me. It is an advertisement so anybody that might see it associates (what is presumably a very nice photo) with the photographer whose name is probably quite obvious on the envelope.

    The idea of advertisement is to entice a person to so business with you AND to have people spread your business name to others. Even if the mailman was the only person to see the image, who better to see it than a real version of a Santa. The guy goes to everybody’s house and many of them chat with customers.

    But if you think about it, there are many more people that do end up seeing others mail. Sometimes it may be setting on your table when a friend comes over. The garbage man might see it when you throw it away. The neighborhood kids might see it when they discover the hollow in the woods where the mailman has been dumping his mail so he can finish his route quicker.

    What is on the outside of a piece of mail is a form of advertisement. If there was no such intent, everybody would use simple envelopes and black new Roman typeface. There is a value to making your mail stand out in the crowd.

    so yes, the mailing itself is a publication that is considered advertisement.

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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Quote Quoting jk
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    My only concern, which was likely approved by the student even if they donít recall it, was the distribution of the students addresses. .
    The photography company was under contract with the school. If the Photography company is to distribute the photos to the students, how would that happen with knowing the addresses of the students?

    Quote Quoting jk
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    The postman even if there was nobody else. It doesnít require any specific number of viewers to be considered an advertisement..
    You are off the edge. If I send you a letter specifically to you, are you making the argument that I am advertising? Good luck with that.

    Quote Quoting jk
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    The law doesn't care what else is in the picture. It addresses when one is identifiable within a picture and not simply an incidental inclusion. Why do you think they show the image through the window? It isnít so the usps or the recipient is alerted to it being a photograph. The words ď pictures enclosed, do not bendĒ suffice when photos are mailed to me. It is an advertisement so anybody that might see it associates (what is presumably a very nice photo) with the photographer whose name is probably quite obvious on the envelope..
    You are really reaching again. Again, the school contract to take photos of the graduates and send them a proof of the picture. They can buy it or not. Show me any law or case law that says that a one-on-one communication is considered an advertisement under the statute.

    Quote Quoting jk
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    The idea of advertisement is to entice a person to so business with you AND to have people spread your business name to others. Even if the mailman was the only person to see the image, who better to see it than a real version of a Santa. The guy goes to everybodyís house and many of them chat with customers.

    But if you think about it, there are many more people that do end up seeing others mail. Sometimes it may be setting on your table when a friend comes over. The garbage man might see it when you throw it away. The neighborhood kids might see it when they discover the hollow in the woods where the mailman has been dumping his mail so he can finish his route quicker.

    What is on the outside of a piece of mail is a form of advertisement. If there was no such intent, everybody would use simple envelopes and black new Roman typeface. There is a value to making your mail stand out in the crowd.

    so yes, the mailing itself is a publication that is considered advertisement.
    I simply disagree. But you have at. Just try to us the law to make your point and not just be bloviating.

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    Default Re: Photographer Sent Unsolicited Visible Portrait by Mail

    Bud, it was a solicitation. The student didn't order from the studio (and therefore the school didn't get a commission) and it was a last ditch effort to try to get the student to order the portrait. Again, this was explained in the OP's original post. I suspect that the picture showed through the window in the hopes that the envelope wouldn't just be tossed without seeing what was inside. Either you are not reading what was actually written by the original poster or you are deliberately twisting facts.

    Since the original post wasn't all that long, everybody can read it for themselves and see the true facts of the matter. Therefore I do not understand why you cannot do the same.

    Yes, it was quite questionable for the school to have given the photographer addresses of students who DID NOT ORDER pictures.

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