German court says when you break up, you must delete nude pix of ex


#1

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#2

Copyright is a made up statutory right to extend power over works no longer in your possession, up until now updates to these laws are mostly to further the interests of big business thought they also support the enforcability of things like Creative Commons or the GPL.
This ruling protects rights of the photographed to withdraw consent on something very privat to most of us on request which is very good, but it infringes on the rights of the photographer which is bad. Is this balanced? I think it actually is considering the nasty things that happen, though I am open to a good argument. If you take art photos of your significant other(s) I suppose a photo release would be a good idea where you can withdraw consent. If you just want ex-porn or worse want to embarrass someone in revenge I dont think society has in interest in protecting either motivation.
I wish this were possible outside of a relationship as I prefer my real identity and profile to be as minimal on the 'net as possible and a privacy related takedown should be in my mind a higher priority than protecting a public for profit work.


#3

The thing that's interesting to me is that it's possible to withdraw consent, depending on the context of the photo. Clothed? No. Unclothed? Yes.

Ultimately, I'd say this is unenforceable, but sounds like another charge to throw at the scum who post ex-girlfriend pics to revenge websites. Even though the ever-more-intrusive governments' powers squick me out in general, maybe it'll make some of those clowns think twice.


#4

In one German region, it's now the law.

No. Germany is a civil law country. Precedents does not have the same weight and are usually (with exceptions) not binding.


#5

This is a tricky issue. Generally, I think that forcing someone to delete/destroy photos is bad. As once you've allowed photos to be deleted in one context, it can be used as justification to force someone to delete photos in some other context.

Example: Look at the "right to be forgotten" business with Google - the first couple people to sue afterwards were a couple of shitheads who wanted some bad publicity to go away. I see a precedent that could be abused.

Continue on with your own slippery slope argument here.

That said, there does need to be a mechanism or set of rules specifically about implied consent. But I think it'll be pretty difficult for laws to be updated to reflect that. It sucks to be talking contract law when you're dealing with personal relationships, but if/when the relationship is over, that's all you're going to have to go on.

Additional note - if you've got nudes of your SO when you break up, you should delete them. neither of your needs them to exist anymore. be a civilized human being and move on.


#6

Am I the only one here who thought of Flagpole Sitta?

Fingertips have memories
Mine can't forget the curves of your body
And when I feel a bit naughty
I run it up the flagpole and see who salutes
(but no one ever does)

But I disagree with dobby, copyright isn't about power over works no longer in your possession, they are laws about works that you DO have in your possession. Think about first sale doctrine (at least in the US). Besides which, if you are the one that took the photos of the ex, they're under your copyright, not the ex's.


#7

I think we make a lot of exceptions to various freedoms in the contexts of safety, particularly of the potential abuse around vulnerability and sexuality. You could say that limiting speech is dangerous, but limiting threatening language is necessary. It could also be dangerous to limit where people can walk, but restraining orders are definitely necessary. In the Google case, lack of specificity was a problem, as was the misplacement of responsibility (i.e. Google is not synonymous with the internet, and is not actually the publisher of these materials...).

In this case, I suppose someone could drag a spouse through court, or even slander them in the news for keeping photos that may or may not even exist, though I don't think that's the biggest problem. Enforcement is what seems pretty dicey. Seems like a pretty easy way to get a search warrant for all of a person's digital storage...not that anyone's bothering to ask for a warrants now... punishing people, case by case, for abusively and maliciously publishing images seems like the only limitation that could realistically be imposed, and actually carried out.


#8

If anyone photographs you naked for any reason ever, expect it to end up online and someone to get off on it.

That said, this law sounds entirely unenforceable. Anyone who really wanted to keep the files could do so with little trouble.

Moreover, the idea itself is patently absurd when extended to non-digital mediums. If someone has a physical photograph, are they required to destroy it? What if someone has a drawing or a painting? What if they have an exacting textual account? How do you draw any sort of line between what is essentially the exact some content simply in various different mediums?


#9

It's not unenforceable in the way that this ruling actually matters. Laws like what this would be if legislated (I see some commentary above indicating that this particular ruling doesn't establish meaningful precedent) simply provide context for why revenge photos should be illegal. It's not because creepy people keep photos that have lost their original context and "enjoy" them privately. It's because creepy people post them publicly online with the understanding that it will cause their exes grief and nasty consequences.

As far as life advice goes, I think it's worthwhile advice too. Keeping intimate photos of exes around is generally bad, emotionally speaking.

If this was a law, the one potential caveat could be for professional photographers in relationships (or after a relationship has ended) with a model. If laws written with this intention in mind don't hamper or significantly modify the enforce-ability of a photography release, I don't see the problem.


#10

There is no law like this.
In german law one has a right to their own picture. You can photograph anyone and keeping the picture in private is not a problem unless you want to publish it - then you have to ask the person shown in the picture. There are exceptions of course: celebrities/politicians etc. and shooting photos of large gatherings are not protected.

If you think your right is violated you go to court and a judge decides. Unlike the US or other common law countries the judge makes an individual assessment (case-by-case scrutiny) and is not bound by the decisions of other judges because he has to weigh the specific circumstances in each individual case. Sometimes we get weird interpretations/rulings like this but usually the fringe rulings get changed or thrown out in appeal.


#11

I for one would rather live in a world where no one cares if someone, somewhere, has naked photographs of you. It is logically irrelevant in most contexts, and we are rapidly approaching a world where a large minority, if not a majority, have enough catalogue dirt on them that today they could never, for example, run for office (at least in the office). http://xkcd.com/1370/


#12

This seems like A Very Bad Idea(TM).

It was interesting that the court found that the photographer had to delete all the erotic photos/vids, but not the non-erotic on the grounds that the latter did not compromise the woman's privacy in the same way that the former did.

That's a distinction that seems a bit daft.

I've had nude photos of people I dated before and deleted them after the relationship was over...but in some cases the emails, texts and even non-nude photos that I still have would be far more embarassing/damaging than anything as trivial as nude photos.

For example, I dated someone once who I discovered near the end of the relationship was a racist. The racist emails she sent me would almost certainly be far more damaging to her career and personal life than the nude photos I had of her.

Most of us share things with initimates that we would not share with non-intimates. Carving out a narrow class of such things that must legally be deleted when a relationship terminates doesn't seem to make any sense at all to me.


#13

I'm sure many of us would. However, we don't live in that world yet and letting the victims of ex-revenge twist in the wind won't build that world. I'm open for any suggestions you have about building that world (though, please recognize that the reason it's bad to have naked photos of you is a cultural issue) but, again, we don't live in that world yet.

In the mean time, we should be building practical support, defense of, and protections for those whose exes pull this stuff.


#14

I don't think you can copyright your titties, unless they constitute a creative work in some way. Maybe you could claim trademark, but then you may have to show what trade your titties are used in.


#15

what about us old folks with nudie shots of ex-girlfriends that were taken before the internet and it's disgusting acceptance of 'no expectation of privacy'?

what if said ex-girlfriend sent nudie shots 20 years after the two of you broke up just to prove to you that her bewbs are still the rockenist you've ever run across.

what if she then proceeded to have a mental breakdown and wound up in all sort of legal cases involving drugs and child endangerment?

would her bewbs then be news? should they be broadcasted because the internet says all bewbs are fare game?

seriously... they are the best bewbs i've ever run across. twenty-two years ago i thought they were fake... they weren't, they aren't.


#16

of course i would never post the photos to the internet. and because she was dear to me at one point i support her however i can. in fact, not quite sure why i posted what i did save the woman's paranoia 20+ years ago that the photos that i took at her bequest would wind up ruining her career.


#17

It's not really a copyright issue at all. What this does have to do with is "Right to Privacy" - because the photos were most likely made with an original agreement to never publicly display. No release was signed by the model in the photos allowing for that to happen. What this is, is Right to Privacy.

Right to Privacy is already covered in most countries as a valid and fully-enforceable law. Here's Germany's take: "According to the still up-to-date considerations of the German Federal Constitutional Court the General Personality Right also comprises the individual’s right, ensuing from the concept of self-determination, to autonomously decide, when and within which limits personal life circumstances are revealed."

As the people in the photos are not "in the public eye" (different laws may apply to celebrities in different countries), it really IS the model who gets to decide if those photos will ever see the light of day without a release form signed. Rather than having to do with ownership, this is much, much more like the recent backlash by celebrities in the U.S., when they took paparazzi to task for the way they were acquiring shots of their children. After all, the children are not the celebrities, and could be harmed by the actions, so they ARE covered by Right to Privacy. Since the law addresses people who it's clear may use photos inappropriately, it may well be that the law can be enforced. (If written with those intentions, it also does not extend to any other form of image ownership.)


#18

Rather than having to do with ownership, this is much, much more like the
recent backlash by celebrities in the U.S., when they took paparazzi to
task for the way they were acquiring shots of their children. After all, the children are not the celebrities, and could be harmed by the actions, so they ARE covered by Right to Privacy.

In the United States, there is no "right to privacy" for children. Photos of Suri Cruise and numerous other celebrity children have been taken by paparazzi and widely distributed and published. As the photos were taken in a public palce, they were completely legal under US law.

It's not really a copyright issue at all. What this does have to do with is "Right to Privacy" - because the photos were most likely made with an original agreement to never publicly display. No release was signed by the model in the photos allowing for that to happen. What this is, is Right to Privacy. It's not really a copyright issue at all. What this does have to do with is "Right to Privacy" - because the photos were most likely made with an original agreement to never publicly display. No release was signed by the model in the photos allowing for that to happen. What this is, is Right to Privacy.

There was no indication in any of the stories about this that the nude photos of the woman had been published or that the photographer had any plans at all to publish them. An injunction or the equivalent against publishing under circumstances where publication was likely would make sense. A pre-emptive strike not only prevent publication but essentially require their removal, not so much.


#19

Go back and read what I wrote more slowly. I didn't say, "In the United States, there is "right to privacy" for children." I said, "Right to Privacy is already covered in most countries as a valid and fully-enforceable law." and that the paparazzi were taken task, "for the way they were acquiring shots."

Not all paparazzi photos are taken in public places. The ones at question are the ones taken on private beaches, over fences, and more. Also, the new laws cover questions of emotional and physical harm, because the photos aren't standing at a distance calmly shooting. Kids (and bystanders) can get roughed up in pursuit of a photo by a group of aggressive fotogs. I refer to the first quote from a paparazzo in this Time article http://nation.time.com/2013/11/17/paparazzi-crackdown-can-california-protect-the-tots-of-tinseltown/

“I ran across the street and shot her over a wall,” photographer Oscar Rapalo said. “It wasn’t easy. I only had 10 seconds.”

There may be no national law, but California does now have a law protecting the children of celebrities from "intentional harassment" and that's designed to keep a few people out of trees and off walls. It's designed to also help protect their privacy by making aggressive shoots more punishable.

I do understand your argument. Do understand that by the legal nature of the action, there is no way to make the person whole again once the damage is done? The purpose of civil law is to make a wronged person whole. You can't repair a woman's reputation once a naked image of her has actually been released onto the internet by a bitter ex. Also, what other use does the ex have for the photo? He is no longer in a relationship with her, does not have welcome access to her actual body, so why is it then is it acceptable for him to retain the image of that same body for (most likely) sexual gratification (or drawing vicious cartoons on)? A decent person would return it.

In fact, here's a broadly-similar legal issue. When couples become engaged, a man often gives a woman a ring. If they fall out before the marriage, it can be considered a broken contract, and then the woman is expected - by law - to return the engagement ring. So, in this case, a couple is dating, and a man has open access to a woman's body, and they take private photos to share because they are sexually involved. Is it really such a stretch to think that once their sexual contract is broken, the woman should want the man to have no further access to her body in any form?


#20

Yeah. This.

I had some I totally had forgotten about and came across them one day. It wasn't fun and I got rid of them pretty quick.

That being said, I can't help but feel that the government has little place exerting this kind of dominion over your possessions. What is the criteria that we use to determine "scandalousness"? Suddenly the courts get to weigh in on what constitutes lewdness, I position I've never been comfortable with them taking.

As to the moral, rather than legal issue: Putting aside for a moment the obvious wrongness of disseminating private photos, I tend to think that people are entitled to their experiences of another person. While I believe in keeping confidences, I feel like there's a growing trend of expectation that we should suppress any mention of intimate or private moments with another person. I'm not saying that we should shout them from the rooftops, but I tend to think it's unreasonable for me to expect that someone I've been with to be sworn to secrecy in her memories of me for always and forever. Photos as an aid to memories a person is entitled to retain are not the next great evil of the digital age. Not in and of themselves.