How a single photo has earned an elderly woman sh 1.5M

A worker on a tea farm.

Infringing on someone’s rights is wrong, and this has earned an elderly woman a huge sum of money. The High Court has asked the Kenya Tea Development Agency (KTDA) to pay a woman whose photo it used on marketing materials without her consent Sh1.5 million compensation.

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Justice Lucy Gitari ruled that KTDA used Ann Njoki Kumena’s image on its marketing brochures without her consent, thus infringing on her rights.

The judge noted that Ms Kumena has a right to control how her image is used and that KTDA should have obtained her consent before using the same.

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“Having considered the purpose for which the photograph was used which was for commercial purposes, a reasonable award ought to be given to the plaintiff. I find that an award of Sh1,500,000 is reasonable in the circumstances,” said the judge at Kerugoya High Court.

Ms Kumena claimed that KTDA unlawfully photographed and used her image, saying the action amounts to unlawful conduct and constitutes unjust enrichment of itself and unlawful interference with economic interest.

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But KTDA opposed the claim saying she is not entitled to any royalties in a photo she does not have copyright to.

However, the judge said Ms Kumena proved that KTDA took the photo without her consent and used her photographs for commercial purposes, that is, advertisement of its products without paying any compensation. KTDA was also ordered to pay the cost she incurred prosecuting the case in court.

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In a similar case last year, a court ordered Kenya Orient Insurance Limited to pay Sh500,000 compensation to a man for using his photo on social media without his consent.

The man, Kevin Kimani Mungai, said the insurer took his photo when he went to collect a mobile phone which had been taken for repair.

The photo was later posted on the insurer’s Facebook page, which he said was done without his consent.

The court concluded that photos posted on social media financially benefitted the insurer.

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