The Heidelberg Regional Court has ruled that uploading other people’s photos to a cloud does not constitute copyright infringement in principle(Ref.: 1 O 54/15).
In the case at hand, a private buyer had purchased a hard drive from a private seller via ebay. On this were accidentally still private photos of the seller, which the buyer uploaded to his cloud. The seller then sued for an injunction against making the photos publicly available and transferring them to third parties.
However, the court did not consider the uploading of the photos to the cloud to be a copyright infringement. In principle, the publication of photos is only permitted with the consent of the person concerned. However, uploading photos to a cloud does not constitute a public display of the images within the meaning of Section 22 (1) of the German Art Copyright Act. There is also no dissemination within the meaning of the law, as the provision to at least one other person is lacking. In principle, only the user of the cloud itself has access to the uploaded photos. It could not be assumed that the cloud operator would automatically also have access. Even if the operator had access, this would only be attributable to the user if he had caused it or wanted it. In this respect, the plaintiff had no injunctive relief against the plaintiff.
Uploading other people’s photos to your own cloud is not publication and therefore does not constitute copyright infringement.