Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Privacy Media The Courts Technology

German Court Orders Man To Destroy Naked Images of Ex-Partner (bbc.com) 263

AmiMoJo sends this report from the BBC: Germany's highest court has ordered a man to destroy intimate photos and videos of his ex-partner because they violate her right to privacy. The Federal Court said the man, a photographer, should no longer possess naked photos and sex tapes, even if he had no intention of sharing them. The woman had originally agreed to the images but this consent stopped when the relationship ended, the court said. Germany has some of the strictest privacy laws in Europe.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

German Court Orders Man To Destroy Naked Images of Ex-Partner

Comments Filter:
  • by tonyyeb ( 4187219 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:48AM (#51171759)
    How would the court ever know if he has fully complied with the order?!
    • by bjhonermann ( 568326 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @11:21AM (#51172015)

      To some extent, it doesn't exactly matter whether he fully complies. Yes, destroying the files and getting it out of his hands is part of the purpose but there's a secondary purpose likely as well. It also establishes that should the images or video subsequently get released somewhere, that he's been in violation of the court order and would be liable not just for privacy issues (which can be hard to establish) but also for contempt of court.

      Basically, raises the bar to disincentivize the behaviour.

      • by omnichad ( 1198475 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @11:30AM (#51172073) Homepage

        Only if it could be proven that they weren't stolen beforehand. Or if he deleted the files in good faith but there was an unintended backup copy compromised. Incremental backups are hard to remove individual files from - and you could argue that destroying entire file backups is an unreasonable demand.

      • Basically the German court came to a completely contradictory ruling. The man obtained the photo's legally and with consent. The person changing their mind well after the fact is like a person claiming "I was raped for the full duration of our relationship because I no longer consent.". Go read the definition of consent. You don't have to like the logical equivalency I just gave, but revoked consent for past actions is exactly why the court told this man to destroy his property.

        As the AC above states, t

        • What you say makes sense for TAKING the photos, doing the actual photography.

          One could argue that during the relationship she consented to him having those photos and viewing photos of her private parts, and she no longer consents to him jerking to her private parts today. If I were the judge, I probably wouldn't make that ruling, but it's logically consistent. If I were the judge, I'd probably tell him "don't be a dick" and try to find a way to encourage him to grow up, without setting precedent. For ex

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            and she no longer consents to him jerking to her private parts today.

            What about his memories? Is he no longer allowed to think about her?

            • by slew ( 2918 )

              and she no longer consents to him jerking to her private parts today.

              What about his memories? Is he no longer allowed to think about her?

              Apparently there is an experimental way to erase memories with a laser [time.com]. Hopefully something like that will never become a court-ordered procedure.

              When it comes to your political stance of privacy issues, be very careful what wish for...

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by mopower70 ( 250015 )

            What you say makes sense for TAKING the photos, doing the actual photography.

            One could argue that during the relationship she consented to him having those photos and viewing photos of her private parts, and she no longer consents to him jerking to her private parts today.

            I'm gonna guess you write EULAs for a living.

        • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @02:27PM (#51173667) Homepage

          There's a reason most contracts and licenses use the word "irrevocable", because by default I can change my mind. The court found that even though he took the pictures with her permission, she retains personal integrity rights governing possession and use of the pictures that shows intimate areas and sexual activity. Like you could show ordinary photos of your ex-gf to your friends without consent, but not the sex photos. And hypothetically that would be an ongoing consent that could be given or revoked at any time. The German court found those rights extend to possession, if you possess intimate material of someone you must delete them on request, unless you have an explicit agreement to the contrary.

          It should be noted that some of these sex photos had found their way to the woman's husband through unknown third parties and the court goes far to hint that if he were to retain possession it is not certain the remaining material would be treated with the appropriate care to protect against unauthorized viewing. In short, they can't prove he maliciously send or spread those pictures but they're going to take away his means to do it again. Then again if you suspect they might be spread illegally well you should also suspect a copy will be kept illegally, but it adds legal ammo. Honestly I think it's a very reasonable and narrow ruling, it only applies if the following three conditions are met:

          1) They are made informally, no written terms
          2) They're intimate in nature
          3) The subject has requested it

          • by s.petry ( 762400 )

            "irrevocable" only covers ongoing actions and agreements If they had an agreement that he could continue to take photos at his leisure, that could be revoked and disputed. That said, there is nobody here saying he should be able to do what ever he wants with her and a camera forever. So you are arguing ad absurdum.

            Socratic method time. Lets reduce and look at similar law. For example, one can not revoke a work that was already completed by Common Law (no contract required). For example: You can't come

            • by Kjella ( 173770 )

              "irrevocable" only covers ongoing actions and agreements If they had an agreement that he could continue to take photos at his leisure, that could be revoked and disputed. That said, there is nobody here saying he should be able to do what ever he wants with her and a camera forever. So you are arguing ad absurdum.

              Please, don't use big words if you don't understand what they mean. He has some rights as photographer, she has some rights as the depicted. It is the same in the US, that is why model releases [wikipedia.org] exist. Those rights exist as long as the photo exists and has nothing to do with any photos taken before or since.

              Socratic method time. Lets reduce and look at similar law.

              Like, totally different law? Work for hire is a simple swap, you get paid and I get the result. If you think allowing your significant other to take a picture for the family album is a remotely analogous

              • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

                by s.petry ( 762400 )

                I am smelling a troll. You start with an ad hominem and then ignore my example. The example I provided was for contracts under common law. You claim that your (this) case is special and your contract is not a contract. I guess by way of fairy farts and unicorns this contract can be declared something else in your world. (a verbal agreement is a contract)

                Your example of the modeling contract exception proves my point, though you probably don't get (or if you are trolling don't care). If there is no con

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              It's actually really simple. Before the relationship ended he removed his penis from her vagina, and she removed consent for him to reinsert it. She couldn't claim all the sex they had was rape because at the time it was consensual.

              Similarly, he took some intimate photos and looked at them. The relationship ended and she removed consent for him to possess them. She couldn't claim that the photos were sexual assault because they were consensual at the time, but now consent is removed for possession he can't

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @02:31PM (#51173715)

          Before declaring a ruling contradictory, you should first read it; you can find it here [bundesgerichtshof.de]. I recommend you read it in full.

          In particular, the court didn't judge that the taking of the pictures itself was illegal in any way, after all she did consent to the pictures being taken within the context of their relationship. However, she did not consent to the pictures being taken for any other purpose, in particular, the pictures weren't meant for publication. Since she still holds personality rights over the pictures, consent can potentially be withdrawn. (This is where pictures differ from your sex analogy: after sex is over, it's done, but after pictures are taken you still hold certain personality rights over the pictures, at least in Germany.) The court concedes that it isn't always entirely clear where to draw the line, but because the photographer had publicised pictures without consent before, and because there is reasonable doubt that the photographer would take proper care to shield the pictures from third parties, and because some of the pictures were nude and/or sex pictures, and because intimate pictures can be used to hold some measure of control over someone, and because the consent was given in the context of a relationship which since has ended, in this case consent could be withdrawn, albeit just for the nude and/or sex pictures, not for the regular clothed ones. Therefore the court ordered the pictures to be destroyed.

          The ruling doesn't say that taking these pictures is retroactively illegal (such a concept doesn't really exist in German law) nor that keeping the pictures until now was unlawful (although publicising them may/would have been) but not obeying the order to destroy them would be (it would be contempt of court). Of course, the court cannot easily check if its order has been executed completely, but that isn't unique to this situation. Should the photographer later leak pictures that were supposed to be destroyed, he could be charged not just with unjust publication but also for disobeying a direct order from a federal court.

          This post is of course a rough summary, for the details you'll have to read the judgement yourself. As a final note, it's important to consider the societal backdrop against which this all happens. People are nowadays less hesitant to share nudes with their partners, mainly because they share pictures of anything and everything, but also revenge porn is on the rise, and the potential for blackmail and psychological manipulation is tremendous. The law will have to adapt to this new reality and clinging to the simplistic view that pictures are just property aren't likely to do society any good.

        • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

          The man obtained the photo's legally and with consent. The person changing their mind well after the fact is like a person claiming "I was raped for the full duration of our relationship because I no longer consent."

          I think that analogy falls down flat. Past actions are not being criminalized, just future actions that were once legal. Your rape example is an ex post facto issue, but previous possession is not being criminalized. Further possession is, however.

          The man obtained them with consent at the time, therefore, his having the pictures all this time is not a crime.
          There is no consent for the future, so he may not have the photos in the future. Still pretty troubling.

          • The man obtained the photo's legally and with consent. The person changing their mind well after the fact is like a person claiming "I was raped for the full duration of our relationship because I no longer consent."

            Isn't that more or less what they were pulling on Julian Assange? Somebody changed their mind "after" (i.e. when the other girlfriend became known to her) making it "rape" in Sweden?

  • Jurisprudence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sosume ( 680416 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:49AM (#51171775) Journal

    This is insane! Besides an enforcement issue (Will the government check this man's belongings to make sure there are no backups?) The photos are his property as he is the photographer. This is a disturbing ruling. Now the subject gets to decide on how the artist portrays it. I modeled nude for a painting class a decade ago, can I have all these paintings destroyed?

    • Re:Jurisprudence (Score:5, Informative)

      by Vokkyt ( 739289 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @11:17AM (#51171991)

      Your issue with enforcement is ridiculous - the government is also incapable of stopping every murder and ensuring that no one at this very minute is committing murder, but it's still illegal to murder people and you will get in trouble if you get caught.

      Your statement about the photos being his property is the very thing the court is weighing in on, and as far as the German court is concerned, you're absolutely wrong. Though the auto-translation of german is pretty broken, it's clear enough that the court(s) have decided that, at least in Germany, a person has control over their image and privacy, and this right supersedes the property ownership a photographer may claim unless some sort of legal waiver/contract was made. This isn't a blanket card for someone to withdraw consent as within your example of consenting to a nude painting class; presumably in your instance you signed a waiver to your rights, and the court order does not apply in that situation. (Again, as best can be determined from what translate.google offers)

      The court is specifically ruling on arrangements between two people in a relationship who share intimate photos without any formal contract between them, and the ruling is simply that each person has a right to control of their image and privacy. This is a good thing and likely is to directly combat the idea of revenge porn and to provide some legal recourse should such an event occur. The ruling is open to anyone who has shared an intimate picture.

      • Part of the issue is "Where's the dividing line?" In the US in the days of film cameras, in the absence of other agreements the owner of the film owned the images. How intrusive and intimate do the images have to be before the subject can demand possession or destruction of the images? If there's more than one subject, does each subject have veto power over preservation of the images? Were the images taken indoors? In a public place? Video of sex acts is far more intrusive than nude stills, should they be t

        • In the US, there is essentially no right to personality except in defamation suits. Copyright law would govern, and since there's a person's likeness involved and no formal consent form signed, a lawsuit *could* prevent the photographer from publishing or selling the photos, subject to normal copyright fines. Since some of the images have been found on the Internet, she could also go after him in a private civil lawsuit. But AFAIK there's nothing in US law that says that one person has a right to destroy an

      • it's still illegal to murder people

        This same German court decided that it's not if you are Jewish. I have as much respect for this ruling as for that one.

        This isn't a blanket card for someone to withdraw consent as within your example of consenting to a nude painting class; presumably in your instance you signed a waiver to your rights, and the court order does not apply in that situation.

        That is exactly what it is, just because there is one restriction on its application, does not change that. And there would of been little reason for anyone to get that waiver, as previously not getting one still entitled the photographer to total and complete ownership of their pictures.

        • it's still illegal to murder people

          This same German court decided that it's not if you are Jewish. I have as much respect for this ruling as for that one.

          "Same"? Did they put some Nazi judges into cryostasis back then, thawed them up again and nobody batted an eye?

          Because that's what "same" means. And even if it didn't, your argument would still be retarded.

          • Its the same court, not the same individual judges and lawyers.

            • No, it isn't the same court, you idiot. Unless we had a change of government since 1945.

            • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

              Its the same court, not the same individual judges and lawyers.

              A court is not some static object independent of the people who make up the staff. If it's not the same judges, prosecutors, or defendants, it's not the same court.

        • This same German court decided that it's not if you are Jewish. I have as much respect for this ruling as for that one.

          Fuck you, bastard. I invite you to come to Germany and tell people to their faces.

          • In Germany it is actually illegal to deny the holocaust, so any German is legally bound to say the same thing. If I came to Germany, I would be legally bound to as well.

      • The court is specifically ruling on arrangements between two people in a relationship who share intimate photos without any formal contract between them, and the ruling is simply that each person has a right to control of their image and privacy. This is a good thing and likely is to directly combat the idea of revenge porn and to provide some legal recourse should such an event occur. The ruling is open to anyone who has shared an intimate picture.

        Actually, no. The ruling is open to anyone who has shared any kind of picture at all as long as the "victim" deems them intimate. (Frankly, with the ludicrously broad "before, during, or after sexual intercourse" stipulation, that encompasses any picture ever taken during the entire duration of the relationship.) That would include photos taken while vacationing on a beach in Jamaica. This has nothing to do with revenge porn. It's punishing thought crime.

    • Not a valid comparison, methinks.
      You (hopefully) decided to model nude of your own free will, also presumably with full knowledge that people would then paint pictures of you in the buff.
      All power to you - I'm guessing you're both confident in yourself and perhaps reasonably good looking. Many nude models also get paid...
      Anyway, paid or not, you know full well that the resulting works were likely to be displayed in public.

      This case is an entirely different matter - as part of their private relationship, th

      • Wouldn't this be settled as part of a divorce decree in the US?

        Or did the problem arise after the divorce, when pictures started appearing on the Web?

  • Damn (Score:5, Funny)

    by Virtucon ( 127420 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:55AM (#51171829)

    Now there's only 20 billion naked chick pics left on the Internet. We need more Porn now!

  • by CaptnCrud ( 938493 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @10:59AM (#51171855)

    So if they did the photo's for art, wouldn't both of them have intellectual property rights?

    Yea, im bored stuck at work...

    • by TWX ( 665546 )
      As I understand it, the subject of a photograph does not have any rights to the content of the photograph, only the photographer is recognized as the artist. The subject may have rights to their own likeness such that an entity wishing to create artificial representation of the subject has to obtain rights from the subject to do so (ie, a movie studio wishing to produce toys in the likeness of a star of a movie has to obtain rights from the actor) but for the image itself, without any other agreement in-pl
      • The subject of a photograph doesn't have rights to the content of a photograph, but can determine how it's used. If I take a photo of you walking down the street, you can't demand ownership of said photo or order that it be destroyed. However, you can refuse to allow me to sell it for commercial use (e.g. to an ad agency to sell a product) and if I do so without your signed consent you can sue me.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          Yes, but the photographer can sell prints of the photograph so long as it's not represented as anything more than the picture at face-value that it is, and the subject does not have any special rights in that circumstance, because the subject is not being portrayed as endorsing anything.
          • If the photograph was originally taken in a private location, then the person retains more rights to their likeness than they would if it were taken in a public place. In a public place, the person can only restrict sale of an image for commercial (i.e. advertising and advocacy) purposes. In a private place, however, a person must generally give consent to publish regardless of the purpose of publication. Again - in the US.

    • even though it might make your blood run cold, as per the ruling in that case, "I guess you gotta buy it."
    • The photographer has rights to the photo, but the model has rights to how the his/her likeness is used. In most countries this only covers commercial use, but this court decision establishes that in Germany the model has controlling rights for private use.

      For profession photo shoots, the model typically gives up his/her rights to control how the photo is used by signing a photo release [rocketlawyer.com] in exchange for compensation. This is why you often see faces of people in the background blurred out in photos or vid
  • Irony (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 )

    In order to ensure compliance, they'd have to effectively set his privacy rights aside altogether.

    This is why I get so sick and tired of the people who come rushing to the defense of women who take naked selfies, do sex tapes, etc. You want to see privilege and entitlement? You take a bunch of pictures and videos and send them to someone and then sick the government on them, forcing them to effectively upend their own privacy rights over mere continued possession.

    Check your privilege, honey.

  • Will the enforcement/compliance be something along the lines of "pics or it didn't happen"?
  • And just why might German law have more privacy support than any other European nation? Trying to cover up some wrongs that are still going on, just might be the reason. A few billion dollars might be turned up, that need to be restored to those whose wealth was stolen, would be a great reason for strict privacy laws.
    • And just why might German law have more privacy support than any other European nation? Trying to cover up some wrongs that are still going on, just might be the reason. A few billion dollars might be turned up, that need to be restored to those whose wealth was stolen, would be a great reason for strict privacy laws.

      Every year thousands of children are born with bad birth defects in Vietnam because American bastards sprayed the country with chemicals that cause damages forty years later. A few billion dollars in damages would be just be a start. And now imagine all these Native Americans wanted the land back that was stolen from them.

  • German court cases have no virtually effect on the English speaking countries. So unless you're a data center or married to a Valkyrie, this case has more of an academic than practical interest.

    However, the BBC article and apparently even the German ruling itself, which is linked in the BBC article, refer to "intimate" rather than simply naked photos. Quoting from the first paragraph, and hoping I don't run afoul of German copyright law:

    "Fertigt im Rahmen einer intimen Beziehung ein Partner vom anderen in

  • This opens up a the whole idea of what was agreed to during the relationship as being void afterwards:

    • * I gave you a car/fur-coat/... - give them back
    • * I gave you addresses of my friends - you must now delete from your address book
    • * I was in some pictures with our kids - delete these pics of your kids
    • * I told you our secret family recipe for apple pie - tear up your cook book

    Oh, the lawyers are going to be able to buy lots of goodies with the money that they will make over this!

  • Let's not forget Germany already has the oddest photography laws of all western countries. It is the only country that effectively makes the art of street photograph illegal: you should have consent of all people in your picture, even in public places. All pictures of the Berlin Wall being taken down would be illegal if taken today. There's a reason Germany doesn't have Google Streetview.

    In most countries, photographs are the property of the photographer and he can do with them whatever he wants (if it is n

    • There's a reason Germany doesn't have Google Streetview.

      Bull.... Here is a streetview that I just randomly selected in Berlin: https://www.google.com/maps/@5... [google.com]

    • Let's not forget Germany already has the oddest photography laws of all western countries. It is the only country that effectively makes the art of street photograph illegal: you should have consent of all people in your picture, even in public places. All pictures of the Berlin Wall being taken down would be illegal if taken today. There's a reason Germany doesn't have Google Streetview.

      That's just nonsense.

      The "you should have consent of all people in your picture" is a new prevailing legal paradigm how to deal with paparazzi and such. Otherwise, the person in a photograph simply has no rights whatsoever: authorship belongs to the photog, the copyright to the organizer/etc, while bystanders have no place in the copyright scheme whatsoever.

      Germany and most Europe has extended it to public places mostly because the most visited public places - the sightseeing hotspots in the Europe - ar

    • No, that's not true. Several jurisdictions have prohibitions against photographs where someone is identifiable without their consent, even in public, except if the photograph is for the news. Quebec is the one that springs most immediately to mind (since I live here). You're entitled to your privacy, *even in public*, because there's the notion that even if you're out and about, you may still be doing things that are private and intimate in a way that you don't want captured forever in a photograph. (For in

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Your comment is the best one in the thread, and should probably be in the summary. It's interesting to talk about the odd ramifications of their laws, but so many are unique that it's not fair to make the obvious comparison of "could that happen here" (for most western values of "here"). The other question- how could this be enforced- is also somewhat interesting, but will be more interesting if they actually make some Orwellian action about his data, which has yet to occur.

  • Fines or jail if caught. Germany is one. Kind of after the fact.
  • by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Wednesday December 23, 2015 @01:50PM (#51173365) Journal
    Pics, or it didn't happen!
  • And what about everywhere else they exist?

    There's no such thing as Destroying The Negatives, never really was. Any "control" over Imaginary Property that's been released in the wild is voluntary at best.

    If a quarantine was maintained (knowledge is a contagion) and the photos were distributed under agreed conditions (eg nondisclosure) then they can be considered isolated and treated as property, ie your ex must forfeit them, is accountable for disclosure.

    Unconditional distribution is a global releas
  • "Of course I deleted those photos."

    But I'm not enough of a jerk to actually post them online. Telling me I can't have something you gave me anymore just pisses me off, and it's flat out wrong it shouldn't make a difference what it is. Publicizing is different tho. People need to get over their hangups about sex and nudity anyway... it's ridiculous that society is this advanced but a naked picture can ruin your life.
  • But in this case it really does apply: Hitler.
    This is nonsense.
    His probable reaction should be to photoshop all of the photos to put her in sweatpants and sweatshirts, add about 100 pounds to her weight, then release them as proof he's destroyed the original.

Those who can, do; those who can't, write. Those who can't write work for the Bell Labs Record.

Working...