A High Court has ordered Machakos University to pay its former student KSh 700,000 for using her image in an advertisement without her consent.
Justice Margaret Waringa issued the directive noting that the university violated the student’s fundamental right to privacy and human dignity when it used her image for commercial purposes.
a petition, Catherine Njeri sought an explanation from the institution why it used her photo without her consent.
She also stated that the photo inIn question was taken by an authorized agent or an employee of the university without her knowledge.
Njeri took issue with the institution using her photo for commercial gain with no financial advantage gained by her.
“On April 10, 2021, the petitioner (Njeri) discovered that her photograph had been used by the respondent (university) in advertising and marketing courses it offered,” Njeri said in the petition.
The former student demanded a compensation of KSh 10 million for violation of image rights, her right to privacy, human dignity, and breach of data rights.
#LEGALALERT : The High Court of Kenya rules that the use of images of students (including graduates) by universities to market their academic activities is a violation and infringement of their rights.
~ Catherine Njeri Wanjiru v Machakos University H.C. Pet No. E021/2021
— 𝐎𝐧𝐲𝐚𝐧𝐠𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐂𝐨 𝐀𝐝𝐯𝐨𝐜𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬 (@oc_advocates) August 16, 2022
Reacting to the claims, Machakos University said despite using the photo, it is partly public-funded and it does not engage in commercial activities.
The institution also said that the image in question painted Njeri in a positive manner because she graduated from the university.
However, after following the case, the court dis jot find any proof of injury, damage, or loss on her and awarded her damages of KSh 700,000.
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“A declaration is hereby issued that the petitioner’s intellectual property rights, right of publicity, and personal rights were infringed when the respondent decided to publish her image in advertising and marketing the computer packages courses offered for financial gain without seeking the consent from the petitioner’s consent,” ruled the judge.
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