German photojournalists win in court

THE EUROPEAN Federation of Journalists affiliates in Germany -- the Deutscher Journalisten-Verband and IG Medien -- have won a court case over unauthorised use of their pictures on the Web. They co-operated to bring the case -- with Freelens, an association of photographers -- on behalf of five photojournalists against the Tagesspiegel (literally, the "daily mirror"). Der Tagesspiegel is a major daily newspaper in Berlin.

The District Court, the Landgericht Berlin, declared that Der Tagesspiegel must pay journalists for online use of their material -- and is not allowed to use material online without their permission. It went further in demanding that Der Tagesspiegel own up to all copyright infringements of the past. The newspaper had used journalists' pictures in its online services, and had syndicated them to the Potsdamer Neuesten Nachrichten (the "Latest News" in Potsdam, a suburb of Berlin), without prior permission. Der Tagesspiegel refused to negotiate with the journalists -- hence the court action. It has now threatened not to use freelance photographers in future.

Mar/Apr 2000
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Last modified: 07 Feb 2000
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