Asking someone permission to share their online photo before using it seems like a common courtesy. Well, it’s now a lawful precedent as well—thanks to a ruling by a European Union court.
The EU case centered around a secondary school (that’s high school for us in the U.S.) who used a photo downloaded from a travel website for a presentation. The photo eventually found its way to the school’s website. And the photographer, Dirk Renckhoff, sued the school seeking around $550 in damages.
The court ruled in favor of the photographer: “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,” wrote the Court of Justice of the European Union.
A more nuanced reading of the ruling emphasizes that it is not the photographer’s onus to protect his/her images with a copyright or watermark. Read more about the case, here.
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