Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me is a popular childhood saying. Unfortunately, as an adult, this isn't exactly the case. Statements people say concerning you can have a serious impact on your life, both professionally and personally. When these statements are false, this can be especially damaging and considered defamation. Don't let someone's words harm you without recourse.
Defamation Of Character
Defamation of character is a scenario in which an individual makes an untrue statement about another person that causes some form of harm to occur. The harm can surface in the form of mental anguish, a financial loss, physical harm or harm to their reputation. To put this into perspective, take a pharmacist, for example.
If someone makes a knowingly false statement that the pharmacist is stealing prescriptions and this false statement results in their termination of employment and loss of professional license, this could be classified as defamation of character.
The Gray Area
It's important to understand that someone simply saying something about you that you don't like doesn't necessarily constitute defamation of character, even if this results in a perceived harm on your end. In order for a statement to be considered defamation, it must have three components. First, it must be made publicly, which means a third party has to hear it or see it, such as a statement posted on an online social media account.
Secondly, the statement made must be knowingly false, which means the person saying the statement has not even a slight inclination that it could be true. Lastly, it has to result in some form of harm for the accused, such as a personal or professional loss.
Clear Your Name
While you can't magically wipe away what has been said about you, if you have experienced defamation of character, you can still take action. An attorney can assist you with filing a personal injury claim. Defamation claims first allow you to recoup compensation for any monetary losses you may have sustained.
Using the previous example, for instance, the pharmacist could sue for any loss of income incurred. Defamation claims also grant compensation for any non-monetary harm sustained, such as mental anguish. However, most importantly, this action can help clear your name.
If you have experienced this type of scenario, speak with an attorney. An attorney can first help you determine if you have a valid claim and then help you move towards clearing your name.
When you sell stock photography, there is always a risk that someone may use your image in a way that you didn't permit in the licensing agreement. When that happens, you need to protect your licensing rights. The best way to do that is to work with a copyright and licensing attorney. I've spent a lot of time researching fair use and licensing restrictions. I hope that the information here helps you to not only understand your rights as the creator but also to learn how to document and enforce those rights and seek legal resolutions when they are violated.