QLD Intellectual Property Law - Do Photos Belong to Dating Website?

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18 January 2016

I just have one incident which I would like to hear from a legal opinion if you please help.

I am a membership (paid) of two dating websites. It is pretty similar to Facebook. Members are allowed to post 'public' photos for paid or non-paid members to see. These photos can be a normal face or x-rated.

What happened was I contacted a member from each websites and tried to organize a meet up between us. I screenshot the profile photos and send them to another member via text messages, introducing them to each other. These photos are uploaded to the websites by individual members (eg. I didn't upload them).

Girl one has just x-rated photos on there without anything that could identify her identity.

Girl two has x-rated and face photos on there. I screen shot both types of photo and sent it to a third party.

Both girls ended up knowing each other and now threatened to take a legal action against me for using their photos without 'authorization'.

I'm a bit confused. The photos are uploaded to internet in a 'public' profile for others to see themselves. I only screenshot the profile and send to another person.

Can I be legally responsible for anything? I also believe once you upload a photo to a website, the photo belongs to the website. I paid for access to it, therefore, I should have privilege to the content on the websites.

If anyone can answer me this intellectual property law question, I will greatly appreciate your time and input.


Well-Known Member
27 October 2014
Brisbane, QLD
Hi Mike,

I would recommend that you take a look at the terms and conditions of the relevant dating site. These can often be found near the foot of a website's homepage. The T&Cs should set out your rights to use the photos, and who owns the photos once they're uploaded etc.

For example, there might be a section of those T&Cs which makes it clear that any photos uploaded to the website are part of the public domain and may be used by other members etc.

If that's the case then I do not consider there to be grounds for the ladies to bring the legal action that they've foreshadowed.

To me, their complaint would need to lie in a "breach of confidence" action (but if the website T&Cs make it clear that the photos can be used for any purpose, and you didn't promise to keep those photos confidential - then there aren't great prospects for them to succeed).

Best wishes.