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Student bikini photo leads to $2M lawsuit

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Updated: 6/21/2013 9:28 am
ATLANTA, Ga. (WSB-TV) -- To prove a point about the risks of social media, a local school administrator presented a photo of a bikini-clad student at a district wide seminar.

Now, the woman is suing the school system.

"I was embarrassed. I was horrified," Chelsea Chaney told Channel 2's Rachel Stockman. "It never crossed my mind that this would ever, ever happen to me."

Chaney, who is now a college freshman, said the Fayette County Schools Director of Technology used a photo taken from her Facebook profile to tell parents and students about the dangers of posting pictures on the Internet and the long-term effects. The presentation happened at a district-wide seminar.

The photo was posted with the title "Once it's there, it's there to stay," Chaney said.

She admits she posted the photo on her Facebook page but thought only friends and friends of friends could see it.

She and her attorney take issue with the fact that she didn’t give permission for her photo to be used.

The Chaney family told Stockman they tried to work with the school district to come to a resolution but were forced to hire an attorney.

"I wish it was taken more seriously and gotten a more sincere apology," Chaney said.

"Their idea that putting something on Facebook gives them a license to steal it and Carte blanche to do with it what they did is wrong ethically, it's wrong morally and it's absolutely wrong legally," attorney Pete Wellborn said.

"(They) then used it out of context to suggest that Chelsea is a promiscuous, abuser of alcohol," Wellborn added.
Chaney is asking for $2 million because she wants her claim to be taken seriously.

A school district spokesman says it cannot comment on litigation but it does not believe it has any legal liability.

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imtellin - 6/21/2013 4:21 PM
0 Votes
as facebook is a public, not private domain, ms. chaney forgo any rights when she posted it publicly... if she only wanted friends & friends of friends to see her unquestionable bikini photo, then she should have simply e-mailed it to them... i wouldn't give her anything other than a tumbs up... not a bad photo...

Realchange - 6/21/2013 2:27 PM
1 Vote
An apology should be issued everyone knows you should have permission before you use someone else work or photos for a public presentation. As for large sum of money no.I could see her being paid 250 bucks to 500 like they do in most bikin contests. 2 million is out the question this was not case where they profited off her picture simply used it to drive a message home.

KBOT1 - 6/21/2013 12:49 PM
1 Vote
This is an important lesson that you should not post anything on the internet that you don't want other people to see, or in the words of the student, would 'humiliate' you. The lawsuit is frivolous and ridiculous. I hope this is thrown out of court before any more attention is given to this young lady's family and our tax dollars are wasted. She should have attended the seminar....

joldnol - 6/21/2013 11:56 AM
1 Vote
the point was obviously wasted on this moron......
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