a Museum, is in favour of a ban on photography, allow visitors to record their own images of paintings and put it on the Internet. This is also true for exhibits, for which there is no copyright protection, decided on Thursday, the Federal court of justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe. (Az: I ZR 104/17)

The court gave the city of Mannheim, right, in the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museum, Photography is forbidden. Nevertheless, a man of the year had photographed in 2007, works of art as well as images from a Museum catalog scanned and in the public Wikipedia database uploaded. All photos related to the works which are not or are no longer protected by copyright. The city complained, nevertheless, against the publication of the images.

The scanned catalog photos are protected by copyright, it was said, the photographer had to be transferred to the Museum the right to publish. With the self-shot photos had been in breach of the prohibition in the Museum. Like the lower courts, the Supreme court of the city of Mannheim was in both points of law. The catalog photos were enjoying as separate works for copyright protection and to a ban on photography would have to keep visitors.

the Wikimedia is critical

The use of order and Pictograms with a camera crossed out parts of the private law tour contract, concluded with the purchase of the ticket, argues. “The effective General terms and conditions,” said judge cook. They represent the opinion of the Senate no unreasonable disadvantage of the Museum’s visitors. A ban on photography serving the proper operation of the Museum.

Wikimedia Deutschland, the funding organization behind the Online encyclopedia Wikipedia, is expressed in a Statement critical of: “The ruling is a setback for the rights of the General public on common cultural heritage”, – stated in it. A “legislative Intervention” is required, because the ruling makes it clear that there is no “digital public domain in Germany”.

Already in the application of the Reiss-Engelhorn-museums, the organization is “a very problematic understanding of the public contract by the state-funded cultural institutions”: John Weitz man, head of politics and law in the case of Wikimedia Germany, stated in a press release: “museums should do everything it can to make the arts and culture of the past centuries as easily accessible as possible.” This meant that these works can be seen in the Wikipedia.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.