How a McDonalds Worker Finally Got Getty to Remove Stock Photo of Herself Taken Without Permission, Used in Negative Articles

How a McDonalds Worker Finally Got Getty to Remove Stock Photo of Herself Taken Without Permission, Used in Negative Articles

A former McDonald’s worker has multiple year-long battle with Getty Images, in which she was attempting to have the renowned photo agency remove a stock image of her. The photo in question was taken without her consent, while she was working, and used within negative press articles.

The image was sold for $600 each usage, being purchased repeatedly and featured within many articles of a negative angle. This included a story about a pregnant worker unable to fit into her work clothes, as well as others regarding employees of McDonald’s using Google to find another job, and an exposé on workers being forced to partake in unpaid cleaning.

Former employee Kennedy Reese stated in her claim that usage of the photo was damaging her professional reputation, and causing embarrassment at her place of work, a law firm in Sydney, after colleagues saw it when the story about workers using Google to find a job trended on LinkedIn. “It's not really an accurate description of me — at 15 in McDonald's,” she says.

Despite initial pleasantries from the company, she says Getty ultimately refused to take down the image nor cease further sales when she first tried. They cited that they hadn’t broke the law in selling the photo.

At first, Getty was quite polite and said they would look into it, but then they consulted their legal department and said they hadn't done anything illegal," she said. They claimed little responsibility and claimed the third parties should be contacted, when I don't think that's the root of the issue. It's hard to ask people to delete the photo when they've already paid $600 for it.

After attempts spanning several years, Reese has now succeeded after the agency agreed to remove the image from their archive, a Getty spokesperson confirmed to ABC.

Reese first discovered use of the image after being alerted by a friend. She later used the image reserve search tool to locate other placements of it.

Lawyers said as there was no right to privacy in public spaces in Australia, having pictures of this nature removed from photo agency databases is always tough.

Photo by Joiarib Morales Uc via Unsplash.

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12 Comments

Benoit Pigeon's picture

??? So how did she do it??? You had one job.

Jack Alexander's picture

By repeatedly requesting Getty remove it. I thought that was apparent.

Benoit Pigeon's picture

I think I'll skip your stories from this point. Thanks for the reply.

Edit: I didn't mean to be rude. I think the title was over done. Had she received an apology letter or compensation from Getty, I would have felt like the story and title had something worth reading, yet not extra ordinary. People send out cease and desist letters every day and getting her way by asking, what ever way she used - not mentioned here, is not worth writing a story in my opinion.
I think, from now on, I'll make a better effort at following my deciding rule when it comes to read or not a story. Most of the time I find it best to read comments first to see if it's worth it.

Jim Bolen's picture

Good. I'm sick and tired of the 'little people' getting pushed around by corporations in this country. I hope she won a bunch of money for it and taught Getty a lesson.

No, she didn't win any money or teach them a lesson. Getty gave her a hard time, but eventually agreed to remove the photo from their database. Read the ABC link.

Fristen Lasten's picture

She was being pushed around in Australia. But your point is well taken.

Fristen Lasten's picture

I'd like to know who photographed her, who sold / gave the photo to Getty if Getty did not do the photographing, and if it's true that McDonalds is a public space - either in Australia or the US or both.

Could I walk in to a McDonalds and start flying a drone around? Wouldn't McDonalds say the space is open to the public, but is not a public space?

Teresa Oldenbourg's picture

Please do share the shots if you do

Fristen Lasten's picture

But if I use a DJI Mavic drone I'll probably be enjoined by Autel and hauled into court.

Jeff Berg's picture

I work for a retailer in the United States. My employer prohibits commercial photography on the premises without explicit permission of our corporate leadership. That being said I have to explicitly “opt out” if I don’t want my image used in these endorsed sessions.