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.