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German Court Rules That You Can't Keep Compromising Photos After a Break-Up 334

mrspoonsi (2955715) writes "A German amateur photographer has found out after his ex-girlfriend took him to court, which ruled that the subjects of smutty pictures can withdraw their consent if they're naked. [News release in German.] The shutterbug was able to keep the clothed pictures, however, as they weren't considered to compromise the reputation of the woman in question."
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German Court Rules That You Can't Keep Compromising Photos After a Break-Up

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  • 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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24, 2014 @06:52PM (#47084779)

    Most photo printing places, including WalMart or Walgreens, will refuse to print the pictures without a written release from the photographer. I had a friend (who did photography as a side business) take pictures at my wedding. I was given the raw files and did all the post work myself. Without a letter they still refused me even though they were my pictures to print. Since I wasn't doing anything sketchy, I printed up my own release form. I also had to give copies of that form to everyone in our extended families.

  • 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.

  • Re:Ramifications (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24, 2014 @07:20PM (#47084877)

    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 and such.

    Another limit is the right to ones own picture: You generally need permission to take pictures of people, but there are some exceptions: People who are just "Beiwerk", i.e. just random bystanders who are not a dominant part of the picture, don't need to be asked for permission. Another exception is anyone who implicitly agrees to be photographed (e.g. smiles into the camera, poses, etc.). There are several more exceptions. Some of these exceptions are limited to certain uses of the picture (e.g. not in advertising).

    And then there's "allgemeines Persönlichkeitsrecht", which loosely translates to personal rights. It's what this case is about. The Persönlichkeitsrecht" is a wide ranging right which in particular encompasses the right to privacy and protects the private sphere (innermost and most personal thoughts and feelings and sexuality). This is a very fundamental right and usually wins out over less fundamental rights, like that of a photographer to use the pictures he took.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 24, 2014 @09:26PM (#47085361)

    If you want to claim that a relationship by nature is unhealthy, I'll tell you to prove it.

    They did not. For someone who complains so much about people not reading your posts you certainly don't do much of it yourself.

  • 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)

  • 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

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