Expensive adhortatory letter for sharing thumbnail previews on Facebook


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Imagine you read an interesting online article, you decided to “share” it, whereupon a preview with a photo appeared on your Wall and hey presto, you received an adhortatory letter with a demand for damages amounting to €1,200. According to the German news ticker heise.de, this happened to a Facebook commercial site operator, because of a thumbnail of a copyrighted photo on his Wall. Apart from the already mentioned amount, immediate removal of the image from the site and a cease-and-desist order, the author of the photograph claimed the refund of the attorney fee in the amount of €546.

To put it nicely, it is interesting what a tremendous impact a seemingly harmless error can have. From a point of view of someone who used to want to become a photographer himself at one point and hence is sympathetic to artists and thinkers, I find such reactions of the “aggrieved party” overblown to no end; how should a common Facebook user know which actions infringe copyrights and which not? How is it possible that such a small image, which one honestly cannot see properly without a magnifying glass, can affect the photographer? And above all, why is the photo on a website that offers Facebook functionality in the first place? If a photographer decided to post a picture on such a website, shouldn‘t sharing automatically be permitted? Personally, I don’t like the direction this is going.

What about you?

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