Following a landmark case in Germany, the country’s federal court has ruled that a man must delete all nude images and videos of an ex-girlfriend, even if he had never shared them with anyone nor had plans to.
The basis of the ruling was that while the woman had given consent at the time the images were taken, that consent ended when the relationship ended.
The court was called upon to issue a ruling in a dispute between the former couple who were engaged in an argument over whether or not he had to delete the content. Their ruling stated that by keeping the photos and videos, the man had “manipulative power” over his ex-partner and would therefore have to delete each instance. It was not clear how the court would enforce or oversee the removal of this content.
Speaking on this ruling, German copyright and media lawyer Katja Weber said that it was important to establish what constituted “intimate” images in these cases. “One can imagine plenty of situations where, during a relationship, compromising photos might be taken” she said “even, for instance, photos showing one’s partner minus some clothes can be categorised as intimate shots, which should therefore be deleted.”
She also added that to avoid having to delete such images after a relationship has ended the individual in possession of them would need to prove that there was consent for them to be kept or used beyond that point.
This ruling sets a new precedent in Germany, which has some of the strictest privacy laws in Europe, and is likely to be used in conjunction with “revenge porn” cases.