If the photo is in the public domain, it does not mean that it can be used without permission.
The EU Court ruled that it is necessary to request permission from the photographer to use pictures from the Internet, even if the author has posted images in open access or previously allowed to publish them on another resource. Such a decision the court took after examining the case of a German photographer who accused the secondary school of copyright infringement.
According to the materials of the case, the pupil of the school downloaded a photo from the site about travel and used it in his work. In turn, the school published the work of the student (along with the photograph) on their official website. The photographer said that he gave permission to use the image only to the tourist site, and demanded compensation of 400 euros.
The court ruled in favor of the photographer. According to the EU copyright law, the school was required to obtain permission from the author of the photo before publishing it on its website. “The posting on a website of a photograph that was freely accessible on another website with the consent of the author requires a new authorisation by that author,” the EU’s top court said in a statement.