How can I stop someone from publishing my private photos online?

Kalkidan Demissia June 4, 2013

I met this guy on line and we talked for about a year. I have never seen him or met him in person. I sent him some photos and he is going to put them online. How do I stop that?

  1. Leland Whitlock
    June 5, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Not knowing how someone got your private photos I ask first do you have the originals? If so you can use to do a reverse image search to find out where they are used online.

    Everything else deals with legal issues and you likely need a lawyer to help you sort through the laws and to send the cease and desist letter or to sue the person.

    • Alan Wade
      June 5, 2013 at 6:37 am

      There's a clue in the question Leland! She sent the photo's to him!!

    • Leland Whitlock
      June 5, 2013 at 7:17 am

      You are right indeed. That means she has the originals so my suggestions still stand.

    • Tim Brookes
      June 6, 2013 at 12:31 am

      I'd like to add Google Image search to this, as it now too allows you to search by image.

      Go to

      Click the little camera icon and upload your picture. It might take a while to show up, and it's really not that comprehensive, but it's a start.

  2. Deirdra Murphy
    June 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    It all depends on the whole story, is he just threatening to post the pics? There are laws on the books about harassment and blackmail. Are they embarrassing pictures of you? It sounds very much like this is a blackmail sort of scam and it wouldn't hurt for you to contact the police and let them know this is going on. I know it's embarrassing, but you need to get help near you, you could call a local womens' hotline, they will give you some support, and probably have some good local info for you. I hope this helps you a little, good luck!

  3. Oron Joffe
    June 4, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    First of all, write to the person and make it crystal clear that you do not want to pictures published, and that if he does, you will lodge a legal complaint against him. If you are seriously worried about the publication, you may want to take legal advice as well.

    In essence there are two offences the "guy" may be committing. First, if they are your pictures and you gave them to him, then you own the copyright and distributing them without your permission is illegal (contravention of copyright law). This is a civil matter. Secondly, if the pictures can cause you distress (e.g. embarrassing pictures of yourself), then publication (depending on the country) may be considered asault, bullying etc, which is a crime, but the specifics differ from one country to another.

  4. macwitty
    June 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Laws differ from country to country - keep it in mind. To prevent or stop someone to publish a photo they have access to is more or less impossible as there are a lot of services round and people can post against the agreement. To get published stuff off the net is not always easy - facebook, google... do not act very fast, if they act.
    In a lot of countries it is legal to post a photo of a person without permission but, this is important, the photograph has the copyright - why this is what to use. Check the photographers organisation in your own country

    Tell the person that he has no right to post the photos and if he do you will take action as he breaks the copyright laws. It will cost him if he do it and you will then get them off the net.

  5. Sampath Karunarathne
    June 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm

    There is nothing you can do except file a complaint in a relevant regulatory body...
    and if he post it on faceboook here is what you have to do

  6. dragonmouth
    June 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    As soon as you sent the photos to "the guy" they ceased to be private. Did you at least tell him to keep the photos private? If not, then you are out of luck.

    • Tim Brookes
      June 6, 2013 at 12:28 am

      This is not true, just as if a photographer were to give you a copy of some photos this would not make them your photos, and you would not have the right to do what you like with them. Creating copies, for example, would be illegal.

      I used to work in a photo lab and we'd often get professional portraiture in from whom the customer had been given a simple cheap set of prints instead of ordering the full set. They'd then expect us to copy it an infinite number of times, to which we'd disappoint them by quoting the law every single time.

      You won't believe how many people took it personally...

      But yeah, the photos are still hers to do with as she pleases regardless of whether she specified not to post them online or not.

    • dragonmouth
      June 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm

      Yes, I know all the legal mumbo jumbo and the ramifications. Lawyers can be hired, complaints can be filed, letters can be written, injunctions can be obtained. But when push comes to shove, what are the chances of stopping the guy and/or getting the pictures back? Do you think she has any better chance than all the celebrities whose pictures were published on the Internet against their wishes? Let's be realistic.

  7. Paul Vi
    June 4, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Get a lawyer and call the cops if you didn't sign any release forms then it is a crime, don't be afraid and don't let him (or her) blackmail you.

  8. Alan Wade
    June 4, 2013 at 9:31 am

    By giving him the photos then technically they belong to him. This is a matter of discussing it with the relevant site owners and contacting a lawyer for better advice and the legalities of it.

    • Oron Joffe
      June 4, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      That's not the case. The intellectual property belongs to the person who took the picture, unless he/she transferred the rights explicitly (i.e. in writing).

  9. Vipul Jain
    June 4, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Well there's not much you can do except report those photos wherever he uploads them.
    If you want to take it to the next level, you can caution him of police action if he uploads them.

  10. ha14
    June 4, 2013 at 8:51 am

    You. An complain to google or to the site where photos are published and track the guy to justice!

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