(Image courtesy of Freepik.com)
Get your home-related legal questions answered by legal expert Fong Wei Li from Kel LLC.
Q: I recently purchased a sofa set from a furniture shop. Upon delivery, a photo of the sofa in my home environment was taken and I've found the photo published on the shop's social media page without my consent. The deliveryman said he needed to take a photo for his boss after delivery made but nobody informed us that the photo would be published. Is this allowed? The shopowner refused to remove the photo until their promotion is over. I would like to know what my rights are as a homeowner on this issue. stand as I believe you do obtain consent of home owners before publishing them?
A: Hi Cheryl, unfortunately unlike other countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, Singapore does not have a clear set of privacy laws. Therefore, it is not illegal to take photo of another person or place, and to then put that photo up on a public platform (such as a social media account).
However, if the publication of the photo is accompanied by some offending text or material, or if the photo was altered to portray a wrong and unflattering impression of its subject, the person who suffers distress from the offending material may sue for defamation. This does not seem to be the case with the photo of your sofa in your home.
Moreover, under our intellectual-property laws, the copyright to a photograph is owned by the person who took the photograph. Contrary to common misconception, it is not the person in the photograph who owns the copyright (unless, of course, the person being photographed paid the photographer for the job and agreed that all rights in the photographs would be owned by the paying person).
So, in this case, the deliveryman owns the copyright to that photograph he took, and he is free to publish it on social media without running foul of any laws.
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Wei Li practises litigation and arbitration at KEL LLC – a boutique Singapore law firm specialising in civil and commercial law. He acts for corporate and individual clients in managing and resolving disputes across a wide range of issues and industries. Wei Li has a particular interest and expertise in Internet and social-media law. He provides strategic counsel and representation to businesses and high-profile individuals in a spectrum of media-related issues such as reputation management, appropriate-use policies, privacy and digital marketing. In addition to his practice as a lawyer, Wei Li teaches as an adjunct faculty at the Singapore Management University’s School of Law.
For more information, visit http://kel.asia/
Disclaimer: This article provides a general guide to the subject matter and should not be treated as professional legal advice. If you require specific legal advice, you are encouraged to consult a qualified legal professional to obtain the same.