LegalZoom Blog

Legal news and small business tips.

Can People Post Photos of My Kids on Facebook Without My Permission? And More Free Legal Advice – Free Joe 4/13/12

no comments yet

On Tuesdays and Fridays, attorney Joe Escalante answers legal questions for free on the LegalZoom Facebook Page. Did you miss the last Free Joe? Don’t worry. We’ve got it all right here.

Stasia: Is it legal for people to post pictures of your children on Facebook without your permission

Joe Escalante: It depends. In most cases, if your kid is out in public, people have a right to photograph them. The theory is that if they’re out in public, there are no damages being caused. Now if someone posts a picture that you took, or a professional took, the copyright owner of the photo could protest.

If someone takes a hidden camera picture in a place where your child would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, that could be a violation of your child’s right to privacy. If someone tries to commercialize your child’s picture, that could be an infringement of your child’s right of publicity.

In general though, if someone snaps a picture of your kid playing soccer in the park and posts it on Facebook, no law has been broken.

Curtis: Joe im looking for some help for a Dissolution of Marriage in Missouri it is uncontested and I have the legal forms from the website to file but there is so much to go through and legal terms to study I get lost trying to fill in all the information… there are no children or possessions to divide up just plain and simple end of the marriage… can you point me in the right direction to get legal aid to get this done….

Joe Escalante: I don’t know about legal aid in your state, but you should read this book from Nolo Press. It will at least help you ask the right questions if you find a lawyer you can afford. If not, it will help you manage this without an attorney, although that’s tough.

Tu: Hi, the best way i can ask my questing is to put it into a scenario..
There are three companies (A, B, & C) selling a product which no one holds the copyright for.
After a year or so, Company A decides to register for copyright on the product and prohibits further sale
of this product as they now hole the copyright for it. Now i (company B) am stuck with a lot of inventory that i cannot sell.

so my question first would be, is that legal? can someone claim copyright to something they didn’t originally create, just to knock out the competition?
and secondly, if not, what can i do about it?


This company has tried to copy one of my products in the past for which i DID originally create and luckily copyright..but now i’m afraid she will attempt to steal my other designs which i haven’t had the chance yet to protect

Joe Escalante: A copyright is created when the work is created and it is owned by the creator. The only way for a non-creator to register a valid copyright is if the creator signed over the rights to the non-creator. If that didn’t happen, it’s an invalid copyright and the creator can challenge it with the copyright office.
If you want to discuss it in more detail, call my radio show on Sunday night, we specialize intellectual property questions. That’s on KTLK in Los Angeles, 5 to 7 pm PST. 1150 AM. 877-520-1150.
If you can’t do that, place your question in the box in the “Contact” section of my web site and we’ll get your question answered.

Mike: Hey Joe, how much is my company worth if:
- we have no debt
- in business 1 year
- had $50,000 in sales our first year
- net income was $10,000 (had alot of expenses our first year)
- have $1500 in assets
- no lease or mortgage
- have one repeating customer on contract for $2500

Joe Escalante: Traditionally, to value a company you would need at least 3 years of income to examine. Then buyers pay 1.5 or more times a certain number. Read this article on valuation using EBITDA. It’s quite common.

Mike: I just need to know in order to buyout my partners

Do you think my company is worth just what my assets are?

Joe Escalante: You have to value the good will that has been created, but often that is very low in a new business, but if someone is bought out for only the price of his share of the assets, and the good will carries the business into the stratosphere in coming years, he’s going to feel ripped off. A financial analyst is what you need, not an attorney.

Anna: Want more info on Malicious Use of Process. My b/f was in jail and was told by the D.A. that he wouldn’t lower his bond or release him bc he wanted him to take a polygraph for an unrelated murder case from two yrs ago that my b/f had nothing to do with, no info. My b/f ended up taking the polygraph and passing but he was held based solely on his name. The case is open

Joe Escalante: These are very serious allegations. You would need an experienced civil rights attorney to file a writ of habeus corpus demanding the authorities put in writing the reason your b/f is being held in custody. Obviously incarcerating someone because of their name is unconstitutional.

Marc: whats the best way to copy right a reality show and protect your intellectual property?
well ive researched this topic alot and through your site from my understanding its all most impossible to copy right an idea

Joe Escalante: You are right Marc, you cannot copyright an idea, only the creative expression of your idea. But, hope is not lost. Most people in your shoes would write out a “Bible Of Episodes” and copyright that.
This would dictate specifically what would happen according to your format in the first 6 to 12 episodes. The more creativity you express, the more protectable it becomes.
Someone can take your idea and express it in a different way and make millions and leave you broke and depressed, but they cannot copy the original (and non obvious) creative elements in your Bible. Good luck.

Vicky: If you are the POA of a trust and everything goes to you. Should you have a house that is in their name changed over to your name before anything happens to them?

Joe Escalante: Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see a reason to do this. When the person that transferred the property into the trust dies, it will then be owned by the beneficiary at that moment. I haven’t read the trust so I don’t know what exactly it allows, but this seems unnecessary. Always speak with a tax pro when contemplating this kind of thing though.

Lisaann: Hi Joe, not a legal question per se; seeking some advice/opinion re:training. ** how likely is a firm to hire someone from a trade school that studied in “Legal Office Technology/Secretary?”

Joe Escalante: Sounds like a marketable education to me. Legal assistant work is very specific and it can’t really be learned adequately “on the job.” These trade schools make sense to me.

David: what do you think on pre paid legal services ? thank you for your time in advance.

Joe Escalante: That depends on your situation. I think it’s worth trying for a while and seeing you it is worth it for you. If it was a fly by night service that was trying anything to make a buck, I would be suspect. However, Legal Zoom seems to research the products they provide very thoroughly in terms of demand and value. They have some creative plans that I would take a look at first. In other words, knowing what I know about LZ, if they offer it, it’s a good value and not stupid.

Susan: In Pennsylvania, if a young woman marries a man who is in a-rears in domestics child support, will she then be responsible to pay?

Joe Escalante: Sounds like a pre-existing debt to me. In Pennsylvania, like all states that I know of, the pre-existing debt would not follow the other spouse unless the debt was re-financed like a mortgage.

Mark: Can someone have a life insurance policy on you without your knowledge??

Joe Escalante: Normal insurance policies paying death benefits are limited to a few hundred thousand dollars unless there’s a physical exam. That’s one issue. The other is “insurable interest.” That is usually required. You have an insurable interest in your spouse, but not in Lindsey Lohan. However, if you are Lindsey Lohan’s publicist, maybe you do.
Without her cooperation, you might be able to get an insurance plan on the “Specialty” market, or from Lloyds of London, without her knowledge. You’d have to wait a few years before you killed her to collect because they’re on to that scam. They watch Colombo. They would not pay unless you let her live a couple years to make it look good.
By then, you’ve paid a lot of premiums, theoretically.

LegalZoom: Thanks for joining us for Free Joe! Have a lucky Friday the 13th and come join us next week for more free legal advice. And in the meantime, catch Joe on the radio and check out the Barely Legal Radio w/ Joe Escalante Facebook page!

ShareShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someone

Sign up for the LegalZoom newsletter!

Written by

April 17th, 2012 at 5:43 am