Culture

Couples Must Delete Intimate Photos After Breaking Up, European Court Rules

Culture

Couples Must Delete Intimate Photos After Breaking Up, European Court Rules

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As we’ve seen in the number of “revenge porn” laws being enacted and high profile arrests for sharing such photos, lawmakers around the country have begun to take an increasingly stricter stance against the practice. It’s not just an issue in the States of course, as a recent court ruling in Germany points out. The difference here, however, is that the decision seems to be an attempt to nip the idea of hypothetical revenge porn in the bud before it could happen, whether or not the holder of the photos ever even intended to share them.

As the Guardian reports, a Koblenz higher regional court has ordered that intimate photos must be deleted at the end of a relationship if one of the partners requests it. It’s a form of retroactively removing consent that presents some interesting questions about identity and copyright law.

In the case concerned, a man from the Lahn-Dill region in Hesse had taken several erotic photographs of his female partner, to which she had consented at the time. After the end of their relationship, the woman had demanded the deletion of the images, seeking legal help when the man refused.

The Koblenz court ruled in her favour on Tuesday even though her ex-partner had to date shown no intention of reproducing the pictures or putting them online. Consent to use and own privately recorded nude pictures, the court stated, could in this instance be withdrawn on the grounds of personal rights, which are valued higher than the ownership rights of the photographer.

Interestingly, the court only said the woman could ask for the deletion of any nude or intimate photographs.

The case comes after Europe’s highest court has ruled that people can request to have links to stories about themselves removed from Google’s search results, but there does not seem to have been any specific overlap between the two decisions here.

In January Israel became the first country to enact an outright ban on revenge porn.