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Californians Can Pursue Action Over Yearbook Photos Republished Without Permission

14 Jun 2022 10:56 PM | Anonymous

A federal judge won’t stop a class of Californians from going after PeopleConnect for using their yearbook photos without permission.

PeopleConnect, a Washington based company that runs the social networking site, had urged U.S. District Judge Edward Chen to issue a judgment in its favor following the dismissal of a similar class action against genealogy giant by U.S. Magistrate Judge Laurel Beeler.

Beeler found Ancestry immune from liability under the Communications Decency Act because while it used the decades-old photos to attract subscribers, it did not create the content on its site.

The same lead plaintiffs Meredith Callahan and Lawrence Abraham also went after PeopleConnect for doing the same thing, but PeopleConnect argued that Chen should nix the action in light of Beeler’s ruling.

While Chen tossed the plaintiffs’ claim that the company intruded on private information, he advanced the bulk of the lawsuit last year, concluding that it should proceed because the plaintiffs were never paid for the use of their yearbook photos and because those pictures seem to have some advertising value for PeopleConnect.

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  • 20 Jun 2022 6:04 PM | Anonymous
    While admittedly this was not my area of specialization during my 45 years of litigation practice, this ruling sounds totally nuts to me. What happened to the doctrine of "no reasonable expectation of privacy"? Neither the children nor their parents are obligated to have their children join the class for yearbook photos! It is routine for kids and their parents to be notified in advance of these events so that they might have the option if they chose to "dress up" a little. Ditto posing for class or club activity photos. Though it might have caused potential discomfort with peers, any child or their parents had the option to opt out.
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