EU Court: Online Photos Can’t Simply Be Re-Published

The European Court of Justice ruled today, that Internet users must ask for a photographer’s permission before publishing their images, even if the photos were already freely accessible elsewhere online.

It is said in the statement, that “the posting on a website of a photograph that was freely accessible on another website with the consent of the author requires a new authorization by that author”.

This decision is related to a recent case in Germany, where a school student downloaded and used a photo that had been freely accessible on a travel company website for his school project. Later, that photo was also posted on the school’s website.

The photographer claimed that he only gave the travel site permission to use it and not to the school and this was a copyright infringement. He claimed damages amounting to €400.

Under the EU’s Copyright Directive, the school should have contacted the photographer for a permission before publishing the photo. The ECJ ruled in his favor.

“Any use of a work by a third party without such prior consent must be regarded as infringing the copyright of that work,” the Court stated.

Finally, the Court commented that: “It is of little importance if, as in the present case, the copyright holder does not limit the ways in which the photograph may be used by internet users”.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

Petya Petrova

Petya Petrova is a journalist, believer, and traveler.

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