04 Dec 2021

High Court action against internet giants eBay over use of child's image settled


High Court action against internet giants eBay over use of child's image settled

The Four Courts, Dublin

A High Court action against internet giants eBay over the alleged use of images of a young Irish child in a Halloween costume in a commercial has been resolved.

Last April the child, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, secured a temporary injunction restraining eBay from processing or using the girl’s image. The image, which the High Court heard was used without her family's consent, was taken down.

In proceedings against eBay Europe Services Ltd and eBay Marketplaces GMBH the child, who had sued through her mother secured order preventing eBay from processing, reproducing or using the child’s image. 

The case returned before the courts on several subsequent occasions and was adjourned, with the injunction remaining in place, to allow discussions to take place.

On Thursday John Temple Bl, instructed by solicitor Caitlin Love of HOS, for the child told Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds that following out of court talks the parties had reached an agreement.

As part of the terms of settlement eBay will promptly remove any detected instances of the data images of the child referred to in the action that appear on its platform.

Counsel said that it was also agreed that for a period of 12 months any further instances of the relevant images appearing on eBay's platforms maybe reported directly to eBay's legal representatives.

Once notified eBay will promptly remove these images, counsel said.

The court also heard that a payment will be made to the minor by eBay, which will have to be ruled on by the High Court at a later date.

The defendants, represented by Matheson solicitors, the court heard were consenting to the settlement.

Mr Justice Reynolds, in welcoming the settlement, adjourned the case generally and gave the sides liberty to apply to the court should the need arise.

Last April the High Court heard that the girl’s mother posted pictures of her daughter to her online Instagram account on October 30, 2018.

Almost a year later a family friend informed the mother that the image had been used online by Amazon and eBay's commercial websites that sell products online through auction or private sale.

The mother claimed that she did not give permission to anyone to use, distribute, sell or copy these images. 

She contacted both companies who she said reassured her they would investigate it and revert back to her.

Amazon confirmed to her last January that it had investigated the matter and had removed all images of the child found on product detail pages.

It also said sellers had been identified by its investigations team and appropriate actions had been taken on those accounts. 

The mother, who had engaged a solicitor, also filed a complaint with eBay.

eBay informed the girl's mother that the image on its website had been removed, and said it had passed on personal details to the user who had used the photos.

However, the girl's mother was unhappy with eBay's response to her complaints, claiming that the image could still be accessed, which resulted in the bringing of High Court proceedings.

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