In regards to photos, please consider the following:

If you would like to take, use or distribute photos on behalf of the university, please read this overview and practical advice.

Practical tips relating to the rights to use images

If you would like to create images of people or groups that represent the university then you should first seek the required written consent from the person(s) to be depicted in accordance to privacy rights.

What should you consider when taking photographs?

Details that should be covered in the written consent form:

  • Type of media or image material to be used
  • Length of time media or material is to be used
  • Type of use or application
  • Compensation
  • Permission to use the name(s) of the depicted person(s)

Permission from the next of kin up until ten years after the death of the depicted person(s) is required in order to use the image material.

If you would like to take photos of events, please notify the event organizers prior to the event taking place. Furthermore, you might also have to request and be granted individual consent from participants.

If you are going to take pictures of minors, you should first seek parental consent.

If you would like to use, reproduce or publish image material on behalf of the university, you should seek, in accordance to copyright law, the consent and rights to use the images from the photographer.

What should you keep in mind as an authorised user?

Details that should be covered in the written consent form:

  • Length of time media or material is to be used
  • Type of use or application
  • Editing rights, e.g. converting colour photos to black and white images
  • Compensation or free use
  • Right to be named as creator (last name, first name etc.)

Seventy years after the death of the image creator, images may be used without prior consent.

After receiving the user rights, you may use the image material for fifty years unless otherwise agreed.

Copyright law

Photos are protected through copyright law. It does not matter who created the photos or for what purpose they were taken: The same legal protections apply to both artistically valuable photographic material and normal photos.

Please use photos and videos on your website only if you have the right to do so. It is not enough to state the origin, but the owner must explicitly have permitted the use of the photo/video. It is possible that the owner insists on indicating the copyright.

Who is copyright owner?

The copyright owner is the photographer, not the contracting authority.

What are my rights as copyright holder?

As the copyright holder, you can determine how your product is used, how and where it is published, reproduced and distributed. You can prohibit specific applications and request information regarding the use and application of your product. If someone violates these rights, you can take legal action against him or her and demand compensation.

Can I transfer my rights as copyright holder?

Yes, by transferring the right to use the product to third parties. The specific user rights and obligations should be clearly specified in writing. Read the practical tips to find out more on this topic.

Who and what may I photograph?

You can take photographs of objects and buildings in the public domain without having to request explicit consent. You may record people and groups only after first receiving their consent. For more details, please read about privacy rights.

How long does copyright law apply?

An image becomes public domain seventy years after the copyright holder’s death.That means: Any person may then use the image for any purpose without first having to seek permission, agree on conditions or pay compensation. Copyright can not be inherited.

Personal rights

Every person has the right to his or her own image, as set down within the framework of the art and copyright law. Without his or her consent, photographs may not be taken of him or her. The German Civil Code (BGB) provides information on the amount of compensation a person receives when an image of him or her is recorded.

Are there any preconditions to rights regarding my own image ?

Yes, you must be recognizable on the image in order for privacy rights to apply. A black bar over the face on the image is not enough to make you unrecognisable as a depicted person. Body, clothing, jewellery and the like can identify you. A single feature is sufficient to to identify you.

Can I transfer my personal rights as the person depicted on the image?

Yes, if you receive compensation for being depicted in the picture - and assuming that the image is used as previously agreed. You can set up a written licence agreement that addresses the nature and duration of the user rights. Permission from the next of kin up until ten years after the death of the depicted person(s) is required in order to use the image material.

What should I keep in mind as a photographer at meetings and public events?

You may photograph people without their consent as they are participating in a public event and as long as they are not in the foreground or focused or zoomed in upon. Group images require user consent from the depicted persons. For celebrations, lectures or corporate events, you should first obtain the consent of the participants as well as the organizers. For spontaneous images, you should subsequently request the consent of the depicted person(s).

Special cases: Persons as accessories, artistic works and public figures

Do you take photos of buildings, public locations or of landscapes that contain person(s) as accessories? Then you do not need explicit consent from the person(s) depicted.

You may also take artistic photos of a person without his or her consent, as long as he or she is depicted in a public place.

Public figures may may also be depicted without their explicit consent.
Please note, however: The right to depict a person does not automatically allow you to use the images for commercial purposes.