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No Thumbnails allowed in Germany - Why don't you use textual descriptions?


The German photographer Michael Bernhard and the artist Thomas Horn won lawsuits against Google for displaying thumbnails images of their works in picture search results. It's not the first decision against thumbnails and probably not the last one. News reports about "The end of Image Search Engines in Germany" are totally exaggerated. The discussion about the legality of thumbnail pictures has been going on for years now in Germany (See Green light for search engines to use thumbnail images? and Important thumbnail decision in Germany). What makes the recent decision especially worse and led to comments in the news like "major step backwards for German ebusiness in general" or "step into the digital stone age" is one comment of the judge. He suggested a picture search that uses textual descriptions of the pictures instead of thumbnails!

The Hamburg court is quite notorious for its internet law decisions (especially in the field of liability of internet forum operators) and was heavily criticized for these in Germany. Some were reversed on appeal. And no surprise: Google will appeal the thumbnail rulings.

The final word on thumbnails will probably come from the Federal Supreme Court. Untill then, don't worry about picture search in Germany. It will continue! 


I don't have the text of the Hamburg decision yet, but will probably write about it in the next update.

Also see: The Standard, Google appeals possible German ban on image search and Deutsche Welle, Google Loses Court Battle Over Image Searches





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