Privacy, family pictures, a stolen photograph?

The other night I was casually watching TV and saw what I thought was an image I had taken of my daughter many years ago.  I was surprised of course but then again one has doubts when it was such a quick glance.  Another evening I saw the the commercial again and sure enough it was a picture of my daughter.

As I thought about the image, I knew I had shared it via the online photo site Flickr some years ago.  I looked at it again on Flickr and with a little searching I have also found it in the commercial.

This is the original picture as posted to Flickr:
Birthday Party Sleepover Smiles 

This link will take you to the website for the Desert Schools Credit Union which is playing the commercial.  The commercial is titled "Then and Now"  Click to play the commercial and 4 seconds in as they turn the page to the 2nd page of their photo album, my photo is there at the top of the page.  It's easy to pause the commercial and verify that it is my image.

The real question now is one of family privacy and how our rights to our images apply in this digital age.  I have all of my images marked "Copyright protected" as supported by Flickr.  In fact I often have people contact me for legal use of my images and have always granted their requests.  This time it was a surprise to see one of my images in the "wild" and not have been asked first.  While I am not really interested in some type of legal battle it would have been appropriate for them to ask me before they used the image.  Especially in a commercial that is currently running many times every evening in the Phoenix area.

My current camera encodes my copyright information into the file as it's created.  This helps assure people know the image is copyright but doesn't keep them from using images.  In this case it's not an offensive commercial but I have read about others who found their images being used to advertise products or issues they found offensive.  I am not one who desires to fight anyone in court but certainly we have a right to our own images and somehow this needs needs to be addressed in a fair manner.  Companies should not be "appropriating" images they find online and using them as they please.

Where we should go with this and how it'll work out in the next few years will be interesting to watch unfold.  I know that pictures of our family are some of our most cherished in life and respect for that needs to somehow be addressed.
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