Is it illegal to take a photograph of a restaurant owner without their consent and provide opinionated facts on yelp?

Asked on October 28, 2015 under Business Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Someone cannot use your image to their economic advantage without your consent, but unless the poster is getting some economic benefit from the post, this is likely legal. Someone may also state their opinion about you, but cannot state untrue facts. So, it would be legal to say "John Doe's restaurant has lousy service and worse food"--that is an opinion. But to say "the food was 50 minutes late" or "the waiter overcharged me" could be defamation--something that you could potentially take legal action about (though whether it's worth the cost and trouble to do so is a different matter)--if those statements were untrue, because now they are untrue statements of fact.


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