EU court rules photos online can’t be republished without permission
The European Union Court of Justice ruled that any picture found online needs to have permission from the author before getting republished anywhere else.
The case concerned a photo used by a secondary school student in Germany who downloaded and used a photo from a travel website for a school project. The picture had been freely accessible. It was later uploaded on the school’s website as a preview for the student’s project.
However, the photographer who owned the photo said he only gave permission to use his photo to the travel site. He claimed damages amounting to €400 (around P24,000), reports Politico.
The ECJ ruled in the photographer’s favor and said in a statement, “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.”
Authorities also noted that the school should have asked the photographer’s permission as per the EU Copyright Directive.
Furthermore, it said, “The Court goes on to hold that, subject to the exceptions and limitations laid down exhaustively in that directive, any use of a work by a third party without such prior consent must be regarded as infringing the copyright of that work.”
This statement suggested that anything pulled from the net, whether the author allowed open use or limited it to a specific site, can be seen as copyright infringement.
The ECJ statement did not specify the use of photos in memes, but given the nature of how internet memes are made, it may be suggested that making memes in EU could have consequences. Alfred Bayle /ra