University to Pay a Student Handsomely For Using Her Photos
A well established university here in Kenya has been forced by court to pay a student handsomely for using her photos without her consent.
The high Court ruled that it is illegal for any institution to use photos of their students or graduates to advertise their academic programs and activities.
A student of machakos University sued the University for using her images in marketing the institution without her consent. Catherine in her petition said that the institution violated her rights to human dignity and privacy as per the constitution when they used her images without her consent for commercial purposes.
Her argument is right constitutionally according to Articles 28 and 31.
According to the court documents a declaration was to be issued that Catherine’s rights were violated by the university by using her images to advertise computer packages being offered by the institution whereas she was not consulted first before her photos were used.
Njeri was surprised when she saw some posters advertising and marketing the computer packages with her image. She did some background research and realized that even on the universities’ website her images were attached to the advert as well.
She reached out to the university for an explanation. The answer that she was given was not satisfactory, the university argued that by using her images that will put her ahead of other alumni.
She went ahead and filed a petition. The institution was benefiting from her images financially while she was getting nothing. Catherine wanted the court to ensure that the institution does not use any of her photos without her consent.
Additionally, she wanted to be compensated for damages caused and any loss that might have ensued after her photos were used in advertising the courses.
In her petition, Ms Njeri in her petition, stated that the use of her photos has made people think that she was in a working partnership with the university as the brand ambassador which is not.
In his ruling, Judge Muigai said that indeed her rights were infringed when the university used her image in the advert to market computer packages course offered for financial gain without seeking her consent. The Judge further awarded the petitioner 700,000 shillings for the damages caused.