German laws - verdict of the Federal Supreme Court (BGH) about photos in a museum

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,260
146
Germany
#1
Today the German Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof, BGH) has delivered a verdict (I ZR 104/17) about taking photos in a museum.
It is not allowed to take photos in a museum let alone publish them unless expressly permitted in the museums regulations.

Details:
In 2007 a man took photos in a museum and even scanned some from the museums catalog and later uploaded and published them in wikipedia.
(honestly I don't understand these actions with some common sense)
The museum sued him for this action as the museums regulations prohibited such actions.
(as most museums do, not only German; if you don't know, just ask at the entrance)
The man pled on expired copyright laws as the painters had died more than 70 years ago. This general regulation is part of the German copyright laws.
But it is not active in this case as with the access to the museum the man accepted the general terms and conditions of the museum.

As the incident took place in 2007 and therefore before the the GDPR (ger. DSGVO) became effective the old laws and regulations were taken into account.
But AFAIK the regulations became more restricted with the GDPR.
So I would still recommend to ask for permission first before you press the shutter.
 
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YuengLinger

EOS 6D MK II
Dec 20, 2012
2,184
176
Southeastern USA
#2
Seems completely reasonable unless the museum is mostly funded by taxpayers, in which case they should have some say about policy. (But then that would be through the law, I suppose, which now seems settled.)
 
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Aug 16, 2012
4,417
639
#4
The British Museum, one of the World's greatest and with free entry, has very reasonable rules:

14. Film, photography, 3D imaging and audio recording
14.1 Except where indicated by notices, you are permitted to use
handheld cameras (including phones) with flash and 3D
imaging software, and audio and film recording equipment
not requiring a stand.
14.2 You may use your photographs, scanned data, film and audio
recordings only for your own private and non-commercial
purposes, which include use in personal, non-commercial
social media profiles, blogs and websites provided no further
commercial reuse of the content is permitted by the terms of
use of the social media platform or website.

Visit London and take advantage of it! But, don't bring your tripod.
 

Maximilian

The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
2,260
146
Germany
#5
The British Museum [...] has very reasonable rules: [...]
Thank you for sharing that information.

I always appreciate such generous regulations.
But I also accept and understand that people and institutions want to protect their copyrights and business models.
And if so I'll respect those terms and conditions.
 
Jul 6, 2017
864
73
Davidson, NC
#7
There is too much to see in the British Museum to waste much time taking pictures if you have only a day or two there. But it’s nice to know you can take some shots. I’m surprised that they let you use flash. That is usually prohibited in museums not only to keep from annoying others but also preserving things. There are probably exceptions posted.
 
Aug 16, 2012
4,417
639
#8
There is too much to see in the British Museum to waste much time taking pictures if you have only a day or two there. But it’s nice to know you can take some shots. I’m surprised that they let you use flash. That is usually prohibited in museums not only to keep from annoying others but also preserving things. There are probably exceptions posted.
My first thoughts about preservation against camera flashes was that the amount of light emitted in a flash is equivalent to a fraction of a second of daylight and so it would take millions of flashes to even equal the amount of damage from the lighting in a gallery. Here is an article to back up that the cumulative flashing would be negligible.
http://people.ds.cam.ac.uk/mhe1000/musphoto/flashphoto2.htm
Being able to take photos is invaluable when you are researching a subject.