German Artists Defend Copyright in Google Era

27 10 2008

Trinity Hartman


Google might reign as the unchallenged king of German search engines, but a lawsuit over the company’s popular image search feature brings into question the rights of German artists in the Internet age.

Michael Bernhard makes his living photographing celebrities and models for German magazines. Exclusivity pays his rent, which means that he doesn’t want his copyrighted works turned loose on the Internet.

So when his photographs kept showing up on Google Image Search, which indexes and displays pictures as small thumbnails, Bernhard went to his attorney, Matthies van Eendenburg.

“To me it seems to be pretty clear that there is no legal permission for this kind of usage,” van Eendenburg told Deutsche Welle. “If you spread these pictures around the Internet, one of his sources of profit is endangered.”

Bernhard, a Hamburg resident filed suit in the regional court and won.



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