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Instagram Food Porn Violates Copyright Law Says German Court

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German copyright laws protect "elaborately arranged food."

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In this food porn-loving day and age — there are now TV shows and dinners built around the concept — Instagramming a meal is pretty much an expected step when dining out: Sit down at restaurant, order food, Instagram said food, pay check, leave. Unfortunately, what is now second nature to many diners may get them into legal trouble in Germany. According to the Local, those who photograph and upload images of restaurant meals could face lawsuits for copyright infringement.

Germany's Federal Court of Justice has extended copyright protections to include "elaborately arranged food," thus making it the "artistic property of the creator." So anyone that wants to post a photograph of dish technically has to ask the chef for permission first. Lawyer Niklas Haberkamm explains to Die Welt (translated), "The creator of the work has the right to decide where and to what extent the work can be reproduced."

The law only really applies to plates with an "advanced level" of design. So while dishes with plenty of swooshes, swirls, and painstakingly crafted garnishes may be subject to copyright laws, people will not get in trouble for Instagramming their recently manicured hands holding a burger.

Die Welt writes that while no chef or restaurateur has filed a complaint for copyright infringement yet, it could happen sooner or later. And if it does happen, the food porn picture taker could face fines of hundreds of dollars or even costlier court proceedings.

However, filing charges against Instagrammers is probably not a great business decision. More often than not, Instagram and other social media platforms serves as free marketing and advertising for restaurants. Unless the image is truly horrendous (we're looking at you Martha Stewart), it often inspires other people to dine at an establishment which only works in a chef's favor. What's the point of creating edible "art" if no one comes in to appreciate it?

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