Right to the image and respect for privacy

Verified 06 May 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

New rules for sharing a child's image on an online platform

Published on 19 April 2021

The law of 19 october 2020 supervises the activity of a child under the age of 16 whose image is disseminated on an online video platform (YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch ...).

Even if the child's activity is not considered work, its legal representatives must make a statement when the child is the main subject of the video.

An Order in Council must specify the thresholds for duration and income above which the statement is obligatory.

The information contained on this page remains current and will be amended as soon as the text enters into force.

Your photo was published without your permission and you are wondering what your image and privacy rights are?

We will tell you when your authorization is needed and how to deal with any difficulties.

Video - Key points to know if publishing your photo on the internet

Vidéo - Can I post my photo on the internet without my permission?
Credits : Public Service (DILA)

Text message conversation:

- You looked worried this morning at college...

- it could get better... (sad emoticon) Some compromising photos of me are turning on the web...

- Where did they come from?

- Students took them from college and published them...

They didn't have the right! (Angry smiley)

- I'm sorry, but they didn't have to ask for your permission...

Common perception:

“My picture can be published on the internet without my permission.”


The expert's response:

It's a common misconception!

A person can only post a photo of you on the internet if you give your consent.

The right to an image allows any person to oppose the dissemination of an image on which he is recognizable, even if it was taken in a public place such as a university.

This concerns all media: a website, but also a blog, a social network...

However, there are exceptions related to the right to information, freedom of expression and artistic and cultural freedom.

For example, your consent is not required to post a photo of a public demonstration if you do not appear there in isolation.

What if your image was published without your consent?

First, ask the author of the photo to remove it.

If they refuse, you can contact the website or social network, as appropriate, to ask them to unpublish your photo.

You can also file a complaint with the police station or the gendarmerie.

A procedure with the judge is also possible to obtain the urgent removal of the image.

Key Points

- Before posting a photo of you on the internet, the person must make sure of your agreement.

- There are exceptions to the right to the image related to the right to information.

- In case of dispute, you can file a complaint.

- In case of urgency, you can apply to the judge for interim relief to request a quick removal of the image.

The right to the image allows you to authorize or refuse the reproduction and public distribution of your image.

In addition, the right to privacy allows you to allow or deny the disclosure of information about your privacy.

Please note

you are also entitled to the protection of your image as a personal data. In this context, you can request the deletion of a photo on a website. This is called the right to erasure or right to be forgotten.

The right to the image belongs to the person concerned.

However, parental authorization is required for a minor.

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For an adult

It is necessary to have your written consent to use an image where you are recognizable (dissemination, publication, reproduction or marketing).

The image can be a photo or a video.

In the case of an image taken in a private place, your authorization is required if you are recognizable: holidays, family event, sporting, cultural event...

In the case of an image taken in public place, your permission is required if you are isolated and recognizable.

The image can be distributed via the press, television, a website, a social network...

In practice, the photographer/videographer should get your written agreement before you broadcast your image.

He cannot be satisfied with your consent to be photographed or filmed.

Your agreement must be precise : on what medium is the image broadcast? For what purpose? For how long?

Your consent is also required if your image is reused for a purpose other than 1era diffusion.

However, the right to the image is limited by the right to information, on right to freedom of expression and the artistic and cultural freedom.

Thus, your approval is not required to broadcast certain images provided that your dignity is respected and your image is not used in a commercial purpose.

For example:

  • Picture of a group or street scene in a public place if no person is individualized and within the limits of the right to information.
  • Picture of a news event or a public demonstration within the limits of the right to information and artistic creation.
  • Picture of a public figure in the performance of his duties if the purpose of the image is to inform (an elected official, for example).
  • Picture illustrating a historical subject.


if the state of a protected person (guardianship or guardianship) does not allow him to make an informed decision, the person in charge of his protection must bring the matter before the judge or the family council.

For a minor

Permission of parents (or legal guardian) must be obtained in writing.

There's no no exceptions, including for a school's newspaper and intranet.

For a group of children, the written authorization of the parents of each child is mandatory.

Moreover, the dissemination of the image of a child under 16 whose activity is part of an employment relationship is regulated (child influencer).

Parents must apply for permission from the labor inspectorate before uploading a video whose main subject is their child.

For a deceased person

The next of kin of a deceased person can challenge the reproduction of his image if this image causes him harm.

For example, memory impairment.

If your image was distributed without your permission, you can contact the author of the broadcast : photographer, videographer, organization (advertising spot, music video...).

In case of refusal to remove your image, you can address you to the judge, including urgent, to get the image removed.

You can also ask for damages and reimbursement of legal fees.

You can file a complaint if you have been photographed or filmed in a private place without your consent.

You can also file a complaint if this photograph or film is published without your consent and this publication violates your privacy.

On the spot

You must go to a police station or a gendarme brigade of your choice.

Who shall I contact

You may not be refused the receipt of the complaint.

The complaint is then forwarded to the public prosecutor by the police or gendarmerie.

By mail

You can file a complaint with the public prosecutor.

We need to send a free-form letter the court of law of the place of the offense or of the domicile of the offender.

Who shall I contact

The letter should specify the following:

  • Your marital status and full contact information (address and telephone number)
  • Detailed account of the facts, date and place of the offense
  • Name of the alleged perpetrator if known (otherwise, the complaint will be filed against X)
  • Names and addresses of any witnesses to the offense
  • Description and provisional or definitive estimate of the damage
  • Evidence: medical certificates, work stoppages, miscellaneous invoices, findings ...
  • Willingness to take civil action

File a complaint with the public prosecutor

Who shall I contact

You can send your complaint by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt, by simple letter or by letter followed.

You can also file your complaint directly at the courthouse.

In any case, a receipt is given to you as soon as the Public Prosecutor's Office has registered your complaint.

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General case

Photographing or filming someone in a private place or transmitting their image, without their consent, is punishable by one year in prison and €45,000 of fine.

Publishing the photo or video without the person's consent is punishable by one year in prison and €15,000 of fine.

Sexual image

Photographing or filming a person or transmitting his image, without his consent, when the image has a sexual character, is punished with 2 years imprisonment and €60,000 of fine.

Disseminating this photo or video, even if obtained with the person's consent, is also sanctioned. This is the practice of revenge porn. The penalty is 2 years imprisonment and €60,000 of fine.

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