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German Court Rules That You Can't Keep Compromising Photos After a Break-Up

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  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kruach aum (1934852) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @05:54PM (#47084541)

    When you take off your clothes in front of a camera you should be responsible enough to understand the consequences, just like with literally every other bad decision you can make. Love is not an excuse to be retarded.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No body plans to break up while going into a relationship normally. If people want to play with their toys in their bedrooms, that is their own business. In this case, a camera is a toy. Once a relationship is over, they can keep the camera, but the images should be the property of those in them. If more than one person? Cut out the others.

      They did not enter into a contract, verbal or otherwise, that they give up the rights to their likeness.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kruach aum (1934852)

        No alcoholic or chain smoker plans to become addicted when they buy that first bottle of whisky/pack of cigarettes either, but that doesn't mean it's not something they shouldn't take into consideration.

        What this court case shows is that this woman is a poor judge of character. And instead of taking the opportunity to learn something, she just sues, making sure nothing is resolved and in fact (by winning) positively reinforcing her poor people judging skills.

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @06:36PM (#47084729) Homepage Journal

        Cut out the others.

        That's why I always make my partners where clothing made out of green screen. That way, I can later use Adobe Premiere to insert images of supermodels.

        My last girlfriend, I was able to superimpose a couple of supermodels over all that green.

        [OK, see that was a joke. Honey, if you happen to be reading this, I'm just having a little fun with the fellas on Slashdot, and that green lingerie I bought you had nothing to do with CGI.]

      • Re:Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

        by BilI_the_Engineer (3618871) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @06:41PM (#47084743)

        No body plans to break up while going into a relationship normally.

        Irrelevant. If the pictures aren't stored on their private property, then too bad for them.

        And what makes naked pictures special? What is this puritan nonsense?

      • So you're saying you disagree with the part of the ruling that said he could keep the clothed photos?

      • Re:Ridiculous (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @08:01PM (#47085025)

        No body plans to break up while going into a relationship normally

        Then they're obviously not paying attention since that is how the majority of their relationships will end.

      • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dahamma (304068) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:13PM (#47085297)

        the images should be the property of those in them.

        Except that's completely not the way photographic copyright law works - even in Germany, AFAIK.

        And why is a camera "a toy"? Cameras a a tool, and pretty much no one argues that the photos can be art.

        What if the subject posed for a nude painting (from a good enough artist that it was accurate/near photo-realistic)? Would she have a right to have it destroyed because she changed her mind?

        They did not enter into a contract, verbal or otherwise, that they give up the rights to their likeness.

        A contract is SO not required, and totally irrelevant to the discussion. The court ruled it only applied to nude photos, not clothed, so it has nothing to do with right to likeness, etc.

        Basically it was a bizarre ruling (hence all of the press about it) - just the court trying to "do the right thing." Which is noble, but probably not legal. Then again, it's Germany, who know how it will turn out. No way the same thing would ever happen in the US, as there was implicit consent to the pictures and freedom of expression concerns wouldn't allow someone to just "retract" their consent to a work of art from a legal sense...

        • by zAPPzAPP (1207370)

          This is not at all a bizarre ruling.
          It is totally in line with Germany's privacy laws and there are a lot of similar rulings.

          The fact you are talking about copyright, when this has nothing at all to do with it, shows that you do not understand the laws ('Persönlichkeitsrecht') the ruling is based upon.

      • by nospam007 (722110) *

        "No body plans to break up while going into a relationship normally. "

        Besides those umpteen millions with a prenup, you mean?

    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PsychoSlashDot (207849) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @06:37PM (#47084733)

      When you take off your clothes in front of a camera you should be responsible enough to understand the consequences, just like with literally every other bad decision you can make. Love is not an excuse to be retarded.

      If you want to include the word "should", then apply it where it belongs. When you take your clothes off in front of a camera, there should not be consequences beyond your partner being aroused. That the woman in the article has to worry about her "reputation" is what is wrong. Personally the only way her having taken nude pictures impacts my view of her is that I now know she's a fun-loving person comfortable being attractive and sexual. She's not ashamed or repressed or otherwise convinced that the animal she is is somehow a bad thing.

      There shouldn't be a big deal over being seen naked.

      I get it that we're not there societally yet. I get it that because we're not there, there are consequences. But if we're going to talk about "should", let's put it where it belongs; we all should be comfortable in our natural state. That someone posts a picture of the shape of your butt shouldn't matter any more than someone posting a sound sample of your voice or a molding of your elbow.

    • by eibo (1205340)

      This is probably the core of this court decision: the judges share your opinion. They think taking pornographic pictures is indecent and no modest person should indulge in this. If you look closely you will notice, that this thinking needs some condemation of sexuality itself.

      It is possible to think differently, though. I would even go as far as saying: Not taking pornographic pictures is an indicator for a lack of love of the other person or ones own body. As you said, you need to be responsible and talk

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      " Love is not an excuse to be retarded."

      Anyway, people will just upload them to some amateur porn site to comply with the law.

    • Re:Ridiculous (Score:5, Informative)

      by YoungManKlaus (2773165) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @06:13AM (#47086525)

      actually the article is lost in translation, the german ruling clearly states its about the public distribution of said photos

  • Ramifications (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @05:56PM (#47084555) Homepage Journal

    This should have far reaching ramifications when it comes to copyright law. As long as the original video or photographs were made consensually or in public then the photographer owns the copyright. I don't see how that can be undone. It also should open the door for further defining what exactly entails "compromising the reputation". What if someone takes a (non-sexual) photograph of a person cheating in public? Or a video of someone acting like a jerk? Those would also compromise the reputation of the subject. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets overturned higher up.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Yes, we are getting on board the train for a slippery slope. ( well at lest the Germans are, the rest of the world isnt following... yet.. )

    • Several countries have the right to pictures with you in them declared legally. The right to your portraits. This means that under certain circumstances, you can withdraw previous implicit permissions, because you did not sign a waiver.
    • by Luckyo (1726890)

      Example #1: taking a picture of someone having sex in public. Clear and obvious privacy violation unless it's "in your face" kind of in public that is illegal.
      Example #2: video of someone acting like a jerk: Define the following: a. Someone. b. Circumstances. c. "acting like a jerk". All of these impact the decision.

      I'm guessing you're come from an anglo country and possess an anarchist/libertrarian bent. This article is about Germany. A good point of reference for you would be the following:

      1. How you trea

    • This should have far reaching ramifications when it comes to copyright law. As long as the original video or photographs were made consensually or in public then the photographer owns the copyright. I don't see how that can be undone. It also should open the door for further defining what exactly entails "compromising the reputation". What if someone takes a (non-sexual) photograph of a person cheating in public? Or a video of someone acting like a jerk? Those would also compromise the reputation of the subject. I wouldn't be surprised if this gets overturned higher up.

      That was my thought as well but remember the story about right to be forgotten. That case said it's ok to censor someone and have them remove totally factual articles and links. It was the online equivalent of if you don't like what someone said about you in a book then they have to stop printing it and pull it from store shelves, and bookstores have to remove all traces of it ever existing from their system.

      It would have been a totally different lawsuit if it happened across the pond. Here in the US thi

    • Re:Ramifications (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) * <(mojo) (at) (world3.net)> on Saturday May 24, 2014 @06:48PM (#47084771) Homepage

      Why is it that Slashdot always seems to completely misunderstand all European court rulings?

      The point is that the photographs were made in private, with the expectation of privacy. The girlfriend expected her boyfriend to keep them private at the time they were made. She gave consent for them to be taken on the grounds that they were a couple, and now they are not together the consent is withdrawn.

      It would be bizarre for it to be any other way. In public no consent is required. Being a wanker in private would be protected though, unless there was a public interest argument. It isn't clear why anyone would consent to that in the first place though.

      • Re:Ramifications (Score:4, Informative)

        by newcastlejon (1483695) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @07:19PM (#47084869)

        The article is light on details, which is giving me some trouble forming an opinion. If the photographer published these pictures then I agree wholeheartedly that doing so is an invasion of the subjects privacy. On the other hand, if I were to take some intimate pictures of my partner solely for my own enjoyment* that's a different matter entirely.

        *How much enjoyment is to be had depends on how clean or messy the break-up was, I suppose.

      • by Zelucifer (740431)

        She gave him consent to take them. Her consent is only needed for that single instance, as once those photos are taken, he owns them. She's essentially claiming property rights on something he owns (in this case, intellectual property). Just because it involves her being naked, does not change that fact. As long as the photos stay private, they should be his to do with as he pleases.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      FYI, photography isn't just a matter of copyright in Germany. There are other rights that need to be considered too. There are limits to what you can take pictures of.

      One limit is what gave Google trouble with their StreetView images: You need to get permission to take pictures of private properties, except from perspectives which are available to anyone on public ground (without ladders or other tools). Many of Google's StreetView pictures were initially taken with too tall a boom, which looked over hedges

      • by mpe (36238)
        One limit is what gave Google trouble with their StreetView images: You need to get permission to take pictures of private properties, except from perspectives which are available to anyone on public ground (without ladders or other tools). Many of Google's StreetView pictures were initially taken with too tall a boom, which looked over hedges and such.

        The other obvious issue here is that not all roads are "public ground" in the first place. A private road which is also "public right of way" would be func
    • by xbytor (215790)

      >then the photographer owns the copyright. I don't see how that can be undone.

      It can't. The problem is that there is (generally) no model release form. Posting photos anywhere would require written content of the model. I'm surprised I haven't heard of any cases using this idea. Or am I missing something.

    • This should have far reaching ramifications when it comes to copyright law.

      It is German law.
      And as such, it is civil law and not common law.
      There are many fine points to compare but the main one is - civil law does not care much for precedents.
      It's case by case basis, each to be trialed on its own terms, following a set of established codes.

      I.e. Just because ONE judge decides something in one case, does not suddenly mean that all judges in the future should just follow his/her example.
      So... the decision made in this case has no further ramifications beyond this single case.

  • Need better link (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BradMajors (995624) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @05:56PM (#47084559)

    This posting needs a better link. One that actually has some information.

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @06:23PM (#47084673) Homepage Journal

    I see that Americans are already blowing it out of proportion.

    Remember: German legal system isn't based on precedents.

    This ruling relates to a particular case and is valid for that single particular case. Nothing else. Other judges deciding other cases might or might not pay it any attention.

    Otherwise, the result is not surprising and in line with several legal initiatives in USA, targeting the "ex-GF revenge" sites.

  • This is getting crazy. First some spanish judge rules your right to privacy lets to stop people learning about your bad behaviour. Now this? I've a better idea. Don't let people take nude photos of you.
  • by Zan Lynx (87672) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @07:34PM (#47084925) Homepage

    What about oil paintings? Didn't a lot of the Old Masters paint nudes? I bet some of them broke up with the subjects of the painting too.

  • Could a porn star decide later on that they "revoke their consent" for their previous work, and demand that it all be destroyed/deleted/vanished under threat of legal penalties?

    • by Dominare (856385)

      Not the same thing. Porn 'stars' sign a contract before they appear in films or magazines or whatever, just like models or other entertainment professionals. Thus there is a legally binding agreement covering who owns the rights to the resulting media preceding any photos or videos being created, which is a very different situation indeed to the one we're discussing now.

  • Now laws like this need to be adopted by every country in this world, for the benefit of anyone, male or female. Thes "revenge against my ex" sites should be shut down, sued into oblivion, and anyone found guilty of posting comprising photos of an ex-partner should also be found culpable for monetary damages.

    This 'Brave New Internet World' of ours should not mean you have the right to post photos (or any bullying derogatory libalous commentary) of another human being without risk of being subject to crimi

    • by pla (258480)
      Now laws like this need to be adopted by every country in this world, for the benefit of anyone, male or female.

      Allowing withdrawal of consent after-the-fact has a hell of a lot of pretty damned scary implications that go way, way beyond shutting down "revenge porn" sites.

      Personally, I would consider allowing someone to take pics of me during sex as more serious, due to its permanence, than the sex itself; so what happens when someone decides to withdraw consent for the actual sex (outside Sweden, of c
      • Now laws like this need to be adopted by every country in this world, for the benefit of anyone, male or female. Allowing withdrawal of consent after-the-fact has a hell of a lot of pretty damned scary implications that go way, way beyond shutting down "revenge porn" sites. Personally, I would consider allowing someone to take pics of me during sex as more serious, due to its permanence, than the sex itself; so what happens when someone decides to withdraw consent for the actual sex (outside Sweden, of course, which already sets a precedent for rape-after-the-fact, and it has left them with the single most castrated male population on the planet)? Not a good precedent. Attack the actual problem, don't create a tar-pit of a legal loophole to avoid directly addressing the problem. Hell, that same idea applies to most of the BS "X when done on a computer" crimes we so often rail against here on Slashdot. Why does the same thing get a pass when talking about "when done nude"?

        We are now still in the process of coming to grips with the implications of world wide distribution of an individual's rights to their personal photographs and information in a wide range of countries. One country may not legally provide protection to someone who is over that country's age of consent, while it would be criminal in another country. Since this "relatively new" internet is global, it seems to me that we are at the crossroads of a new set of standards for many situations we're facing as a plan

  • I think it was Dear Abby (honest :} ) someone wrote asking about having compromising photos taken of them by their husband. The answer was to wear a mask.

  • by Irate Engineer (2814313) on Saturday May 24, 2014 @10:20PM (#47085531)
    Umm ... if you're in court asking this question, yes ... you're reputation is pretty fucked, no matter what the photograph contains.

    Unless you are planning to make stripping and oblong vegetable porn a career - DON'T. LET. ANYONE. PHOTOGRAPH. YOU. WITH. A. ZUCCHINI. IN. YOUR. <ORIFICE>! Just don't do it. It's that easy folks to keep a good reputation with the puritans amongst us.
    • by Mal-2 (675116)

      Unless you are planning to make stripping and oblong vegetable porn a career - DON'T. LET. ANYONE. PHOTOGRAPH. YOU. WITH. A. ZUCCHINI. IN. YOUR. <ORIFICE>! Just don't do it. It's that easy folks to keep a good reputation with the puritans amongst us.

      This is defamatory to all vegisexuals [youtube.com] everywhere, and I demand a retraction and an apology, you insensitive clod!

  • But then later withdraw that consent and file rape charges against your partner.
  • Because this has happened.

    She had a boyfriend but she liked showing off her boobs to a small group of guys.
    So she sent me some unsolicited pictures of her boobs. It was a near thing because 2 months later, she ended up marrying the guy and all sexts were ended.

    Since we were not in a relationship and the photos were unsolicited, what would the german court say then?

    • by countach (534280)

      By the sound of it, the issue is not the relationship, the issue is that your can withdraw consent for any smutty photo.

  • by garry_g (106621) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @03:00AM (#47086135)

    Unless some A**hole posts private pictures after a break-up (or even during a relationship - most likely causing a break-up) - how is anybody going to prove somebody still has any pictures, or from the other side, prove that they deleted compromising pictures?

    How long will it be until legislators, courts, etc. arrive in the 21st century? Or the late 20th, for that matter ... that would already be an improvement ...

    • by countach (534280)

      If you keep private copies and shut up about it, no harm no foul. But if you release the photos, then you are in trouble.

      The bigger problem with this ruling is if the photos make their way into the public domain, how to prove it was you who released them, and when you released them. By the time someone withdraws their consent formally, the damage will already be done.

  • Great for porn stars if you can withdraw your consent if the photo is smutty. Wait for the DVD to be released, then withdraw your consent until you get a bigger slice of the pie.

    • not really, because there you have a contract which is (usually) not the case in a relationship when you send yourself smutty stuff ;)

  • Lost in translation (Score:4, Informative)

    by YoungManKlaus (2773165) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @06:11AM (#47086517)

    the article clearly states its all about distribution of these photos, which is a totally different thing and aims exactly at preventing revenge-porn-sites and similar crap. Of course you can keep smutty stuff if you dont release it and/or show it to others (though I think its your job to prove you didnt)

  • by drolli (522659) on Sunday May 25, 2014 @07:05AM (#47086607) Journal

    What really worries me about this is that such a thing cant be enforced or checked without decrypting all my storage, how unrelated it may be.

    I find that court rulings should have the property of being enforcable without confiscating all of my stuff if i am not guilty (or accused) of any crime.

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