Employee shocked to see her photo used on websites, even British TV series on Amazon

Mass. — Amye Grant says her photo somehow popped up in a very unlikely place -- a British TV series on Amazon.

Grant works for a home remodeling company, TruGuard Home Solutions. Its website has photos of the employees, including her.

She says people had been watching the British show, “Riches,” on Amazon and noticed her picture in Season 1, Episode 6, about 19 minutes in. The character is online, looking for egg donors and surrogates, when he scrolls to Grant’s headshot -- the same one that’s on her job’s site.

“It was really shocking. I also thought it was pretty funny too,” Grant said.

So how did her picture get on TV? A photographer took TruGuard employee photos a few years ago. He says he never shared the pictures with anyone and wouldn’t have -- especially without permission in writing.

But it wasn’t just that TV show. Somehow, Grant’s face ended up all over the internet.

An image search of Grant’s photo found it on more than 130 websites, including:

  • A legal services program in South Carolina
  • A Catholic charity in Washington state
  • A security company in Miami, where her name appeared as Judy
  • A cleaning company in New York, where she was Daniella
  • A youth sports program in New York, where she was Lindsay

Greenacre Films, the company that produces “Riches,” said in an email that it got Grant’s picture from a “stock footage site. Right now, it’s not clear which one, which means Grant may never know that piece of the puzzle.

“Once you put it out there, it’s kind of out there for everybody to take I guess,” Grant said.

So the lesson here: Just because it’s a picture of you doesn’t mean it’s your picture. In other words, you may not own the rights to it, so at least realize your picture can end up a lot of places and you can’t always prevent that. But if someone asks you to sign a release, like a wedding photographer, make sure you read it. Obviously, if it ends up somewhere in an embarrassing or offensive context, you may be able to win in court.

And it’s always easy to see where your image appears online. Right click on the image, scroll down, and left click on “Search image with Google.”

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